Commander of the Fighting 69th to Blow the Whistle That Starts the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade


From: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc.

Contact: Pat Smith / 212-843-8026 / psmith@rubenstein.com

Alyssa Adler / 212-843-9362 / aadler@rubenstein.com


For Immediate Release  – Photo available

COMMANDER OF THE FIGHTING 69TH TO BLOW THE WHISTLE THAT STARTS THE NEW YORK CITY ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

photo: Lt. Col. Sean Flynn

Lt. Col. Sean Flynn

NEW YORK, NY, March 14, 2016 – Lt. Col. Sean Flynn, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, marks his last day in command of the First Battalion of the 69th Infantry, the legendary “Fighting Sixty-Ninth,” by blowing the ceremonial whistle which officially starts the 255th New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17, Parade Board Chairman John Lahey announced today.

On LTC Flynn’s signal at 11 a.m. sharp, the Fighting 69th will step off from 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, first in the line of march as it has been in every parade since 1853.

At the conclusion of the parade, LTC Flynn turns over command of the Fighting 69th, a post he has held for two years, to Lt. Col. Don Makay.

“Signaling the start of the parade this Anniversary year is a distinct honor for me as both an Irish-American and the commander of the 69th Infantry. It reminds us of the obligation that free societies must pursue to preserve the basic human rights and dignity of all men and women,” said Flynn, who is from Delmar, NY.

More than 200,000 people are expected to follow the Fighting 69th up Fifth Avenue.

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

All of the traditional Irish organizations, including 49 Ancient Order of Hibernians groups, have signed up to march, parade organizers report.  

There will be more than 300 marching groups, including 150 bands, featuring the New York Police Department Emerald Society Pipes & Drums and the Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes & Drums, as well as pipers from Galicia, Spain.

Units from Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Defense Forces, and An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s National Police Service, also will march.

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

LTC Flynn assumes duty on March 17 as the Executive Officer and Chief of Staff of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Syracuse, NY.

He has deep roots with New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment. He responded to Ground Zero with the 69th Infantry on September 11, 2001, serving as an operations officer for six weeks before taking command of Company A. In November 2001, he deployed with his company to West Point for nine months in order to enhance the security of the United States Military Academy. In 2003, he assumed command of Company B in Bayshore, NY, and deployed with the Battalion to Iraq in 2004 and 2005, where the 69th Infantry – Task Force Wolfhound – brought security to Route Irish, Baghdad’s airport road, then considered by many to be the most dangerous road in the world.  

LTC Flynn is the latest member of his Family to serve with the Fighting 69th in combat. Since the Regiment was formed in 1851, one or more of Flynn’s ancestor’s has served with the Fighting 69th in each theater of war it has deployed.

He recorded the transformation of the 69th Infantry from a traditional National Guard unit on the eve of 9/11 to a combat-tested Task Force in The Fighting 69th: From Ground Zero to Baghdad (Viking 2007). The third person narrative is recommended by the Army’s Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, KS for its focus on small unit leadership and earned LTC Flynn the Military Order of Saint Louis and a ranking in the Irish Echo’s 2009 Top 40 under 40.   

LTC Flynn’s awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal with one Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with One Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M3” Aperture, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with “2” device, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, and the NATO Medal.

He resides in the Albany Capital District with his wife Lori Ann and their two children, Hudson, 14, and Lucia, 9.

 

About St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which began in 1762, marches up Fifth Avenue every year on March 17th in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York.

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