NEW YORK - New York Army National Guard Maj. Sean Flynn, a Delmar, N.Y., resident who wrote a book about New York's "Fighting 69th" Infantry in Iraq, and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been tapped to take command of the battalion.
Flynn served as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry in Baghdad in 2004 and 2005, and deployed again as the second-in-command of the New York Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry in western Afghanistan in 2012.
A member of the Flynn family has served in the 69th Infantry in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.
In a statement released Wednesday, Jan. 15, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was proud to announce Flynn's appointment to the job.
"The Fighting 69th has a rich history of defending our nation and keeping New York's communities safe," Cuomo said. "This battalion fought to end slavery during the Civil War, supported New York City in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and most recently came to the aid of the many New Yorkers who were displaced by this past summer's flooding. It is with great pride that I announce Maj. Sean Flynn's selection to lead this regiment."
Flynn is currently a full-time National Guard officer who serves as chief of operations at the New York National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Latham. In that position he is responsible for coordinating the National Guard response to domestic emergencies in New York State, like the Mohawk Valley floods in the summer of 2013.
He will continue to serve in that position while also commanding the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry in his traditional National Guard role.
He replaces Lt. Col. Vincent Heinz, another veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who is employed as an investigator by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in New York City. Heinz decided to retire from military service after a 23-year Army National Guard career.
The battalion is headquartered at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City and has units located at the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center on Long Island, the Camp Smith Training Site near Peakskill, and the Leeds Armory in Greene County.
The unit first earned fame as the heart of the historic "Irish Brigade" of the Union Army during the Civil War, and was the subject of a 1940 movie "The Fighting 69th" about the unit's World War I accomplishments. The battalion leads the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City each year.
Flynn is the author of the book "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 for its focus on small unit leadership.
The book details the unit's response to the 9/11 attacks and its training before deploying to Iraq and the assignment of securing "Route Irish," the road from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone that saw frequent and deadly insurgent attacks. Flynn received the Military Order of St. Louis for "significant contributions to military history" for his authorship of the book.
He responded to Ground Zero with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry on Sept. 12, 2001, when, along with other members of the New York National Guard, the National Guard provided response and recovery support to the city of New York. He went on to command a company of the battalion at the United States Military Academy at West Point when the unit was charged with providing security for that location later in the fall of 2001.
Flynn earned his commission in 1994 through the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps at the University of Maryland at College Park and holds a BA in Journalism. He served in the Air Force as a public affairs officer from 1994 to 1997 before joining the Army National Guard.
He has served as an infantry platoon leader, division operations officer and as a rifle company commander and battalion executive officer.
He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Department of State's Afghanistan Field Orientation Course, the Department of Defense's Joint Public Affairs Officers Course and the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training course.
Flynn's awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Medal.
Flynn and his wife Lori Ann have two children, Hudson and Lucia.