REMEMBERING A HERO Family, friends and neighbours of the late US Marine Corporal Patrick ‘Bob’ Gallagher at a memorial in Ballyhaunis last year to mark the 50th anniversary of his death in the Vietnam War. A vessel in the US Navy fleet will be named the USS Gallagher in his honour.
ONE of the newest vessels in the US Navy fleet will be named the USS Gallagher in honour of a Ballyhaunis man who died in the Vietnam War.
Corporal Patrick ‘Bob’ Gallagher was just 23 when he and ten colleagues lost their lives following an ambush at DaLoc near Danang in Vietnam on March 30, 1967. A native of Derrintogher, Ballyhaunis, Patrick Gallagher emigrated to the US in 1963 and joined the US Marines after being drafted to serve his adopted country in Vietnam. Corporal Gallagher was within days of finishing his tour of duty when he was killed.
Before he died, Corporal Gallagher was accorded the Navy Cross for bravery, the second highest honour bestowed by the US Military and Navy. The act of bravery that saved the lives of his comrades took place eight months previously, on July 18, 1966, when he displayed incredible heroism by throwing himself on a grenade to shield comrades as they fled to safety.
A campaign in Ireland and in the US was formed to have a new DDG class ship which the US Navy were to procure, to be named in his honour. The US Navy confirmed yesterday (Monday) that having reviewed the case, it has been decided to recognise the ‘exemplary service in defence of the nation’ that was undertaken by Corporal Gallagher.
The USS Gallagher will be a guided missile destroyer and will be the newest such vessel in the American marine fleet. Describing his service as an example to all service men and women, the US Navy said the public campaign and a review of the Ballyhaunis native’s record was central to the decision.
Following his death, Corporal Gallagher’s body was returned to Ireland where large crowds attended his funeral in Ballyhaunis and his burial in Ballyhaunis Cemetery.
Last year, a commemoration Mass took place in Ballyhaunis to mark the 50th anniversary of his death and it was attended by his family including his brother Peter and sisters Rosaleen, Pauline and Teresa. The ceremonies were attended by Brigadier General Mike Neill of the US Marines Corps and Major General Kieran Brennan of the Irish Defence Forces.