Petition for U.S.S. Patrick Gallagher Gains Steam
Patrick Gallagher, who everyone called Bob, left County Mayo at 18 to live in America. Four years later, in April 1966, he was drafted and enlisted in the U.S. Marines and, following basic training, travelled home to let his family know he had joined up. He didn’t, however, tell them he was being deployed to Vietnam upon returning to New York so as not to worry them, he would later say. That July, his patrol was ambushed and Gallagher first kicked a grenade out of his foxhole before it detonated, and then threw himself on top of a second grenade to save two other soldiers. The grenade, miraculously, did not go off, and Gallagher was awarded the Navy Cross. He knew news would spread to Ireland, so he wrote his family a hasty note telling them where he was and he was expected back in spring 1967. Gallagher never made it, being killed in action on patrol on March 30, 1967, his last scheduled day in Vietnam.
Now, an online petition to name a navy ship after Gallagher is underway, with aims to christen a new destroyer class ship, the commissioned but yet-unnamed DDG-127, the U.S.S. Patrick Gallagher.
Approximately 7,000 signatures have already been collected, and Ireland’s RTÉ Radio One recently aired a documentary on Patrick’s life, which included interviews from family and fellow comrades.
Petition organizer Martin Durkan expects the petition to reach 10,000 signatures by the end of the year, the requirement for submission to the secretary of the Navy. For more information and to sign the petition, visit www.patrickgallagherusmc.info. ♦