photo: Sen. George Mitchell and Lt. Col. Sean Flynn

Sen. George Mitchell and Lt. Col. Sean Flynn at the Grand Marshal and Aides Reception for the 2016 NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (Photo by Dominick Totino for the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade)

For the official press release, click here.

NEW YORK, NY – Lieutenant Colonel Sean Flynn is a man who’s used to making things happen. A decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Flynn commands the First Battalion of the 69th Infantry, best known as New York’s legendary “Fighting Sixty-Ninth.”

But can he blow a whistle?

We’ll find out at 11 a.m. sharp on March 17, when Flynn steps up to blow the ceremonial whistle which officially starts the 255th New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The native of Delmar, NY, sounds confident he’s the man for the job. “Signaling the start of the parade this 1916 Anniversary year is a distinct honor for me, as both an Irish-American and the commander of the 69th Infantry.”

As the whistle blows, the Fighting 69th will step off from 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, first in the line of march, as it has been in every New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1853. More than 200,000 people are expected to follow the 69th Infantry up Fifth Avenue’s green line.

This year’s Grand Marshal is U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, a U.S. Army veteran, who negotiated the Good Friday Peace Agreement. The parade commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the birth of Irish freedom.

The Lieutenant Colonel is the latest member of his family to serve with the 69th in combat. Since the Regiment was formed in 1851, one or more of Flynn’s ancestors has served with the 69th Infantry in each theater of war in which it has been deployed.

This will be a bittersweet parade for Flynn. After the parade concludes, Flynn turns over command of the 69th Infantry, a post he has held for two years, to Lt. Col. Don Makay. Flynn is headed to Syracuse, NY, to become the Executive Officer and Chief of Staff of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Flynn responded to Ground Zero with the 69th Infantry on September 11, 2001. Later that year, he deployed with his company to West Point for nine months to protect the United States Military Academy. In 2003, he assumed command of Company B in Bayshore, NY, and deployed with the 69th Infantry Battalion to Iraq in 2004 and 2005. The 69th – Task Force Wolfhound – secured “Route Irish,” Baghdad’s airport road, then considered the world’s most dangerous road.

Flynn lives in the Albany, NY with his wife, Lori Ann and their two children, Hudson, 14, and Lucia, 9.

The Parade will be broadcast live on WNBC-TV 4, Thursday, March 17, and live-streamed on For the first time, the parade will be broadcast live in Ireland and the United Kingdom by Irish TV.

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