herald

Thursday 24 August 2017

Calls for US ship name to honour Irish war hero

Corporal Patrick Gallagher who was killed in Vietnam
Corporal Patrick Gallagher who was killed in Vietnam

A YOUNG Irishman who died in the Vietnam War shortly after he was awarded a medal of honour for bravery is the subject of a campaign urging the US navy to name a ship after him.

Patrick Gallagher from Co Mayo emigrated to the US when he was 18 years old. Four years later he joined the US Marines and was shipped to Vietnam in 1966.

In July of that year, the young Mayo man saved members of his unit after grenades were thrown at their position at night. Patrick kicked one grenade away before it exploded.

As a further grenade landed "without hesitation, in a valiant act of self-sacrifice, Corporal Gallagher threw himself upon the deadly grenade in order to absorb the explosion and save the lives of his comrades", his citation reads.

Miraculously the grenade did not explode immediately and he was able to throw it into a nearby river before it detonated.

As a result of his bravery Patrick was awarded the Navy Cross, only writing to his mother to tell her he was serving in Vietnam when the news was to be made public.

"I hope you won't be too mad at me for the news I got for you. Now don't get worried. Everything is going just fine."

Sadly the young corporal was killed in action on March 30, 1967. He was just 23.

Now a campaign has begun to have the Mayo man remembered. The group is now close to 3,000 signatures.

hnews@herald.ie

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