NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Family members of the late Lance Cpl. Patrick "Bob" Gallagher, military veterans, and other supporters of a special campaign gathered on Pier 84 on Manhattan's West Side for an announcement by Sen. Chuck Schumer that the fallen Marine's legacy will officially sail on.
"We will remember Patrick Gallagher's name, we will remember his story, this will happen," Schumer said. "The U.S. Navy will name its next state-of-the-art destroyer, DDG 127, after Corporal Patrick Gallagher, son of Ireland, adopted son of America."
Gallagher settled on Long Island in 1962. He was not a U.S. citizen but chose to fight for his adopted country in the Vietnam War. While serving, Gallagher was awarded the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest military award, after heroically diving on a grenade to protect his fellow troops. Gallagher survived but tragically died in a firefight just before his tour would end.
"Today is a great chance to honor Patrick Gallagher," Ciarán Madden, consul general of Ireland in New York, said. "I know his family is proud of the honor being bestowed upon him."
The effort to get the warship named after Gallagher dates back to 2013 when a pair of Irish immigrants in Dallas, Texas, learned of his story and began a petition, which has garnered more than 10,000 signatures.
Within the last year, these efforts gained momentum locally. Schumer met with members of the Gallagher family on Long Island and invited Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to join them.
After this long road, Gallagher's siblings sent a message of thanks and pride from Ireland. In a letter read at the press conference, they said Gallagher has never been forgotten and that his hometown celebrated in his honor.