The Fighting 69th One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-12-27
  • Publisher: Viking Adult

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How a ragtag National Guard unit found itself thrust into the War on Terror and triumphed against impossible odds On the eve of September 11, 2001, New York City’s famous National Guard regiment, the Fighting 69th Infantry, was not fit for duty. Most of its soldiers were immigrant kids with no prior military experience and no intention of serving their country any longer than it took to get a paycheck or college credit. Once a respected all-Irish outfit, the 69th was now a Technicolor mix of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians, African Americans, Russians, Poles, Koreans, Chinese, and a few token Irish Americans. Their uniforms were incomplete and their equipment was downright derelict. The thought of deploying such a unit was laughable. But that is exactly what happened. With a charismatic mix of irreverent humor and eye-opening honesty, Sean Flynn, himself a member of the 69th, memorably chronicles the transformation of this motley band of amateur soldiers into a battle- hardened troop at work in one of the most lethal quarters of Baghdad: the notorious Airport Road, a blood- soaked strand that grabbed headlines and became a bellwether for progress in postinvasion Iraq. At home on the concrete and asphalt like no other unit in the U.S. Army, Gotham’s Fighting 69th finally brings its own rough justice to this lawless precinct by ignoring army discipline and turning to the street-fighting tactics they grew up with and know best. The Fighting 69this more than a story about the impact of terrorism, the war on Iraq, or the current administration’s failures. It is the story of how regular citizens come to grips with challenges far starker than what they have been prepared for. Flynn’s dark humor, empathy, and candor make for a fresh look at who our soldiers are and what they do when faced with their toughest challenges.

Author Biography

Sean Michael Flynn served as a company commander during the Fighting 69th-'s service from Ground Zero to Iraq. Before joining the Army National Guard as an infantryman, Flynn served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. Flynn has a bachelor-'s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xvii
An Infantry Primerp. xix
Prologue: October 1991p. 1
Homeland Defense: March 2001-February 2004
Weekend Warriorsp. 11
Saint Patrick's Day 2001
Failure to Launch
Missionaries, Mercenaries, and Misfits
Minutemenp. 32
A New Paradigm
The Strategic Reservep. 51
Not Ready for Prime Time
The Roughnecks
Preemptionp. 69
Parking Lot Heroes
Saint Patrick's Day 2002
The Bridge-and-Tunnel Group
The End of the Whipp. 88
The Storm Before the Hurricane
Saint Patrick's Day 2003
When Pigs Fly
Operation Iraqi Freedom: March 2004-September 2005
When the 69th Comes Backp. 115
Saint Patrick's Day 2004
Checking the Box
The Blacksheep
General Order Number 1
Green in the Desertp. 141
Shithouse Poets
Mach Jesus
Tajip. 158
Task and Purpose
Babes in the Woods
Napalm in the Morning
The Rouge Bouquetp. 178
Framework Operations
The First Kill
The Economy of Force
The Infantryp. 200
Charlie 24
The Heart of Darkness
Information Operationsp. 215
Hagar the Horrible
The Most Dangerous Road in the World
Route Irishp. 231
Last Man Standing
Checkpoint 541
Vehicle-Borne Death
Saint Patrick's Day 2005
Task Force Wolfhoundp. 250
Fresh Legs
The Trial
Revenge of the Assassins
Boots Off the Groundp. 272
69 Minutes
The Enemy at Home
Afterword: The Operational Reserve
Saint Patrick's Day 2006p. 284
Acknowledgmentsp. 289
Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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