Martin C. Evans

Irish Army Reinforces “Fighting 69th” Marchers

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Members of the "Fighting 69th"

New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade had a particularly authentic addition Wednesday, when soldiers from the Irish Defense Force joined members of the New York Army National Guard’s “Fighting 69th” in the annual march up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

Wednesday’s parade marked the first official military unit of the Irish Defence Forces to march in America since the funeral of President John F Kennedy in 1963, an officer with the unit said.

“We have never marched a U.S. and Irish unit together here for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade,” Lt. Col. John Andonie, commander of Ireland’s 58th Reserve Infantry Battalion, said at the unit armory. “This is the first time ever.”

The 38 Irish Reservists marched separately from the 69th, which traditionally leads the New York City marchers. But they did join the more than 800 soldiers of the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment and support elements for mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral before the parade, and later for an Irish-themed reception at the Guard’s Lexington Ave. armory.

“This is truly a great honor and privilege for the 58th Reserve Infantry Battalion,” Commandant Gerry Jordan, unit spokesman, told the Irish Examiner newspaper before the trip to New York. “This has been reflected in the number of members taking part, totally at their own expense.”

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  1. Was a grand day for the Irish all around!!!

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