US Navy Destroyer To Be Named In Honour Of A Mayo Man Killed In Vietnam
The US Navy will name a new Navy destroyer ship in honour of Corporal Patrick “Bob” Gallagher from Mayo who was killed in Vietnam in 1967.
New York Senator Charles E. Schumer confirmed on Monday that the Arleigh Burk-class DDG-127 is set to be called the USS Gallagher.
Addressing their late brother, his siblings said:
“We are very, very proud of you, we know that you, our parents and other brothers and sisters who have passed away are watching on today. Patrick lives for ever young in our hearts and minds.”
Patrick Gallagher was an immigrant from the Irish town of Ballyhaunis in County Mayo and moved to Long Island in 1962. Four years later, Corporal Gallagher chose to serve in the Marines and was stationed in Vietnam.
While serving in Vietnam, Corporal Gallagher was awarded the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism during a surprise attack. He dove on a live grenade and saved his comrades from injury and death.
Tragically, after receiving the Navy Cross directly from General William Westmoreland, Corporal Gallagher was killed in a firefight just days before the end of his tour of duty.
Gallagher is one of over 30 Irish citizens killed in the Vietnam War. Senator Bobby Kennedy, of whom Gallagher volunteered for before deploying to Vietnam, wrote a personal letter to Gallagher’s family upon his death, praising Gallagher for his fearlessness.
Senator Kennedy wrote:
“Winston Churchill said, `Courage is rightly esteemed as the first of all human qualities because it is the one that guarantees all others’. This courage Corporal Gallagher gave to all of us. To him, and to his family, are due the thanks of a humbly grateful nation.”
Senator Schumer in a statement said:
“The naming of a United States Navy destroyer is a fitting way to pay tribute to Corporal Gallagher’s sacrifice, to his willingness to serve his adopted nation, and will serve as a permanent reminder to all of his bravery, selflessness and patriotism.”
Schumer said that the naming of a destroyer for Corporal Gallagher is consistent with the Navy’s policy of naming destroyers for “distinguished heroes who are deceased members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.”
Schumer was not alone in his plea for a Navy ship to be named after Corporal Gallagher. A petition, started in 2013, surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures.