This website is a creative alliance between 
Brian McGinn
, an American citizen of Irish descent who served in Vietnam and who does the content, and 
Marilyn Knapp Litt
, a retired Civil Servant, who carries out the technical end.  

We are helped by our man on the ground in Ireland, Stephen Murphy

Details follow for curious!

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.

Brian's current projects include researching the early Irish presence in the West Indies.

Brian McGinn - a partial online Bibliography

Marilyn Knapp Litt was born in Marion, Indiana. She went to Mississinewa High School in Gas City, Indiana and graduated from DePauw University with a liberal arts degree. She moved to Chicago to work for the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. There she worked in claims examining, then as a technical writer and in the eighties she began to work with desktop computers.

Computers were fascinating to her, in part because you can never master them. When the Internet came along, she became the webmaster for her agency. Early retirement has allowed her to pursue this interest through her hobby websites and her website business www.SimpleWebsiteDesign.com.


(Brian insisted I put up my high school photo!)

Several of her websites at www.illyria.com deal with another passion of hers, the Vietnam War. This led her to meet Brian McGinn who was collecting and verifying information on Irish nationals who had died in U.S. uniform. His attention and fidelity to accuracy appealed to her and she felt he was doing important research; so she offered to put his material online. Working on his websites, she came to appreciate the sacrifice these men and women and their families made for our country, which was not even the country of their birth. Working on the Internet is fun for her, but not the sobering work of scanning in the photos of handsome youngsters who never got gray hair.  It is a privilege to help preserve the story of their love for America and the story of their families who never forgot them and whose descendants display their photos.

Alas, Marilyn is not Irish; but her great-great grandmother was a Sullivan and her green eyes and the red highlights in her hair may just hearken back four generations when perhaps one of her ancestors spoke with a bit of a lilt. It is hard to say, but she is known to have a predilection for a dark pint with a shamrock etched across a creamy head and her dog is named Guinness . . .

Irish on the Wall

Irish in the Korean War

The Irish in WWII

Irish in Other Wars and Armies