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The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad Hardcover – December 27, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (December 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670018430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670018437
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Flynn (Land of Radioactive Midnight) draws on his experience as a company commander with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard—the Fighting 69th of Civil War, WWI and WWII fame—for this riveting account of the unit's service following 9/11. Considered the worst unit in the National Guard, at the turn of the 21st century, according to Flynn, the 69th was under-trained, under-resourced, and under-led. Activated on 9/11, its soldiers were the first to arrive at ground zero, and then guarded New York City's bridges and tunnels and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 2004, after retraining, the unit was flagged Task Force Wolfhound and certified for overseas deployment, but was barely functional in the field. In Iraq, the 69th provided route security along a six-mile stretch known as 'The Most Dangerous Road in the World,' the main highway between the airport and downtown Baghdad. Learning on the job, the 69th effectively neutralized the roadside bomb threat that has caused a high percentage of the war's casualties, but paid a heavy price in its own killed and injured. Drawing on combat journals, operations orders and interviews with survivors, Flynn fashions a tale equal to the making of the new, contemporary heroes of the Fighting 69th who, against all odds, restored a previously distinguished unit to its former glory. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Sean Michael Flynn served as the Fighting 69th assistant operations officer during the unit’s service at Ground Zero, commander of Alpha Company during its homeland defense duty at West Point, and commander of Bravo Company during the 69th’s service in Iraq. A captain awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his services in Iraq, Flynn is one of the few Irish-Americans remaining in the once all-Irish 69th and a direct descendent of Civil War veterans of the Regiment. 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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
This is an easy read about a difficult subject.
Amazon Customer
This book is a must read for anybody interest in the history of this unit or in the conduct of the war in Iraq.
Joseph Hourigan
He is extremely proud of the many contributions and sacrifices made by the Fighting 69th!!!
Karen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roger Young on December 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book on a Famous Unit. The 69th's struggle from a Down & Out Unit pre 9-11 to Successful Combat Soldiers in Iraq makes for a good read. The Central Characters Journey from Ground Zero to Iraq is an Odyssey the reader will remember.

Author pulls no punches about Infantry Combat in Baghdad & Taji
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book, as its subtitle indicates, is about "one Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad." It is a well-written and interesting remarkable tale of human and group growth. It is the story of one of the nation's worst military units with soldiers who could not give a damn about virtually anything, who became patriots who fought for our nation, many of whom sacrificed their lives.
Although unstated by its author, the phrase "Ground Zero" has two meanings. The first is the unit's soul-piercing experiences in New York at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. The second meaning is a description of the unit's low level of morale and military preparedness for several decades until that date.
The Fighting 69th is an army battalion. A battalion is composed of 500 to 700 soldiers led by a lieutenant colonel. The 69th was founded in New York in 1851 and was originally made up of Irish Americans. It had a remarkable heroic history. In fact a movie, The Fighting 69th staring James Cagney, was made about the battalion. However the unit deteriorated in the mid twentieth century.
Hardly any of the 69th's members were now of Irish descent. Most of its soldiers had joined the unit for selfish unpatriotic reasons, for money and to get away from their wives, to spend time drinking alcohol. The unit became a bad joke.
National Guard units are generally used only in the US to respond to hurricanes, ice storms and other natural disasters. They are low priority units outside the US, and used outside the US only in near emergency situation, and are funded, trained, equipped and manned accordingly, very poorly. As bad as most National Guard units are, the 69th had deteriorated to be at the very bottom rung.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Hourigan on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Captain Flynn tells the story of the National Guardsmen who served in the 69th Infantry in the aftermath of the 911 attacks in New York and in service in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He does not romanticize the experience or try to cover up short comings of this fabled unit but tells the story with clarity and honesty and with the voice of one whose own boots were on the ground. This book is a must read for anybody interest in the history of this unit or in the conduct of the war in Iraq. Thank you Captain Flynn
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Bartosh on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the real deal on the National Guard. Having served in the National Guard during its transformation back into an effective fighting force, I was relieved that someone explained honestly, what it's like in a guard unit. It made my heart swell with pride as it is perfect example of the American dream come true. ANY American can achieve true glory and honor through dedication and courage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin K. Dean on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
An interesting chronicle of how the culture of the National Guard has shifted away from the pre- 9/11 mentality and moved full court to a warrior credo. This book examines one unit's journey back to being a proud infantry unit.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gary Schreckengost on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read book for all Americans: civilians, regulars, Congressmen, fellow reserve component Soldiers, etc. It's also a must read for the enemy, too, as you must understand the true mettle of the American fighting man when aroused or face the consequences. As a Reserve Component Infantry Soldier (both Guard and Reserve) who was also called up to do a Homeland Security mission (01-02), a tour in Bosnia (02-03), and then one in Iraq (05-06), the experiences and opinions shared in this book are shared. I said, "A-men!" or "Ha!" or "I can't believe how similar..." a lot...and loved the author's penmanship.

I especially liked the comments about military bureaucrats--the antithesis of the WARRIORS we say we treasure. I was also drawn to the book because of all the connections. e.g., I met BG Basilica, the 69th's brigade commander at the War College in 07, I also went through a non-sensicle train-up in the states, went through Camp Buering (in August!) like the 69th IN, went through "Campus Victory" for a couple days, was posted in Taji for a week before going to Fallujah as an Iraqi Army advisor in 2005-06, and basically compared my experiences with theirs. I also loved how the book is a TRUE LEADERSHIP MANUAL.

Only one point of order: the author claims that we got BS training in the states (and we did) because of what happened to PFC Jessica Lynch and her company of loggies. I agree with that point but the author states that she and her company were Reservists. They were not, amigo, but Regulars(small detail to correct the historical record).

The modern-day 1-69th US Infantry (TF Wolfhound), which literally went from the pit to the palace, reminded me a lot of Wheat's Tigers, the infamous 1st Louisiana Special Battalion of 1861-62.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Proud Dad on January 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read book for every family member who had a member serving with the 69th in Iraq. Thank you Sean Michael Flynn for putting many unknowns into perspective. Now we know why we had little feedback from our officer son during Sept 2004 to Sept 2005.
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