Brian McGinn was born in New York City to immigrant parents from Monaghan and Sligo.

 

SP-5 Brian McGinn
Saigon, 1969-70

His interest in the Irish who served in Korea was piqued both by his Irish background and his own service in another controversial war, Vietnam.

The issue of Posthumous Citizenship struck a deeply personal chord. Brian realized that his possession of a U.S. passport enabled him to work in military intelligence--a field not open to non-citizens. In Korea, by contrast, most of the Irish-born were assigned to the inherently dangerous combat arms of infantry, artillery and armor.

His mother, the late Peggy Pugh McGinn from Grange, Co. Sligo, was an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the United Irish Counties Association. In 1932, the Association organized New York's first feis to celebrate Irish dancing, music, song and language. During the early years of World War II, Peggy served as President of the U.I.C.L.A.

His father, the late Michael McGinn from Swann's Cross, Co. Monaghan, played Senior Football in New York with Co. Fermanagh. He was a five-year veteran of World War II, including service with New York's famed 69th "Fighting Irish"  Regiment.

.

PFC Michael McGinn (r)
 Ft. McClellan, Alabama, 1941

Peggy Pugh-McGinn (Brian's Mother)  in Uniform of the Four Provinces Club 1944 United Irish Counties Feis, Fordham University

After his mother's death in 1951, Brian and his sister Sheila were raised and educated in Ireland. Brian attended St. Mary's College (High School), Dundalk, graduating in 1964.

After his return to New York, he was employed in the News Bureau of LIFE Magazine while enrolled as an evening student at CUNY's Hunter College.

In 1968, he was drafted and trained as an intelligence specialist at Fort Bragg, NC. From 1969 to 1970, he was assigned to the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, operating in Vietnam. His military awards include the Joint Services Commendation Medal.

 

Corravacan National School,
Rockcorry, Co. Monaghan
1956
 
St. Mary's College (High School),
Dundalk, Co. Louth
1959
Sheila, Brian & Father.
Lehman College
CUNY, New York
1972
14th Military Intelligence Battalion
Fort Bragg, 
North Carolina
1968


After his discharge, Brian completed his BA degree under the GI Bill and was re-employed by Time-Life in 1972. He moved to Virginia with Time-Life Books in 1976, working as a staff writer and editor on a multi-volume history of World War II.

Brian in Nha Trang, Vietnam, 1969 
-Note the Buddha watching over him!

Later, he was a freelance contributor to a variety of publications, including Time-Life's history of the U.S. Civil War. Brian's work has also appeared in the Irish Echo's IE, Irish Roots and Irish America magazines. His contributions to the Irish Times column "An Irishman's Diary" have focused on the role of Irish immigrants in the Americas.

 



Brian & Mary McGinn
Virginia, 2003


In 1979, he married Mary Moran from Ballina, Co. Mayo. Mary, a registered nurse and midwife, works in hospital administration in Fairfax County, Virginia. Their son, Michael, is a senior at James Madison University in Virginia.

Brian also holds an MA degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University and has published extensively on the history of the Irish in South America.  The original edition of his online The Irish in South America: A Bibliography--a first in its field--can be found at www.brad.ac.uk/acad/diaspora/  A regularly updated version of the original bibliography is accessible at the web site www.IrishDiaspora.net

Other online publications include The Irish on the Wall (www.IrishOnTheWall.com), chronicling Irish men and women whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

The Irish in World War II  (www.illyria.com/irish/irish_wwii.html), listing Irish-born U.S. soldiers whose remains were repatriated to Ireland in 1948 at their families' request.

The Irish in Other Wars and Armies (www.illyria.com/irish/iowa.html), a collection of links to web sites documenting Irish participation in other foreign conflicts.