A Look At The Irish Americans And Their Contributions To The US Armed Forces

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Having moved to a new country, the Irish immigrants were ready to take up low wages to cope with the high costs of living in urban areas. For this reason, the more established immigrants saw them as a threat to employment and discriminated them in different occupations.

Through strong social organization and active participation in American politics, they were able to rise to influential positions in both politics and military departments. Here are some of the contributions that Irish-Americans made to the Military.

Commodore John Barry

Image Source: Wikiwand

From a son of a poor Irish farmer to one of the most decorated American Navy commanders, John Barry exceeded what seemed impossible in the Military front. He led the first successful capture of the British warship in a battle that lasted for about one hour.

With that being the first catch, Barry went on to destroy British boats that came his way and ships on the lower Delaware. Despite the fierce battles with the British army, he always showed compassion to their troops when they surrendered. He was crucial in the fight for American independence.

General Michael Corcoran

Image Source: Old Picture

The American independence worked to stop slavery and promote equality between the established and more recent immigrants. However, it did not determine whether that nation would remain as independent states or a federal union, which was the primary cause for the civil war.

Michael was instrumental in bringing the immigrants to the Union troops and led the regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run. Under his command, about half of the Washington’s troops were of Irish by descent or birth with 26 in high ranks.

John Phillip Holland

Image Source: Wikiwand

The American Navy would not have been what it is, without the invention of the modern vessel that could submerge under the oceans. John Phillip Holland widely known as the “Father of modern submarine” migrated to the United States in 1873 from Ireland.

With several Navy engineers having failed to produce a vessel that could attack the enemies underwater, he managed to develop the commercial model. With the first submarine launched in 1895, the US Navy ordered six more vessels with numerous orders coming from European countries.

John F Kennedy

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John F Kennedy is considered known for his achievements during his military service, Senate and on his short stint at the white house.

Having participated in the American Navy during the Second World War, he commanded PT boats with one ship sunk by the Japanese Marine under his watch. Kennedy successfully led the survivors of the vessel to safety that earned him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Upon Japanese surrender, he won honorary awards such as the World War II Victory medal.

Alfred Thayer Mahan


Image Source: Theatrum Belli

The historian and the president of the Naval War, College of America, related the British dominance in the world with her rising sea power. Through his publication, “The Influence of Sea Power upon History” many politicians and military generals shared his opinion on the need to strengthen their naval troops through armament and continuous training.

Thayer was an active proponent of the acquisition of new naval bases despite the idea coming before his span in the military. After a successful war with the Spaniards, America gained all the naval bases and coaling stations the Mahan had proposed such as Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto.

Audie Murphy

Image Source: Gallery Hip

Having enrolled in the military at the age of 18 years, Audie is the most decorated soldier of the Second World War for his incredible contributions in the battle. His determination to fight for his country resulted in him earning 33 medals including the Medal of Honor.

After losing his friend at the hands of the Germans, Murphy retaliated by killing all those that were involved in the shooting with his exemplary skills amazing most of his senior generals. His three-year involvement in the Second World War made him the best combat fighter of all times in America.

George G Meade

Image Source: Steam Card Exchange

The civil engineer served in the US military and designed various lighthouses other than just participating in different battlefields. His combat experience began as a brigade commander where he led successful assaults during the battle of Fredericksburg.

During the American civil war that resulted in a united federation of states, George was the Union general. The climax of his achievements and the contribution to the United States Army is the battle of Gettysburg where he defeated the Confederate States army.

John Reynolds

Image Source: Wikiwand

Reynolds was a supreme army commander that led troops in the Civil War, the Fredericksburg, and the second Bull Run and the Gettysburg among others. When Robert E Lee attacked Maryland, he took charge of the Pennsylvania militia where his troops prevailed. He was the factor behind the Army of the Potomac joining the Battle of Gettysburg despite losing his life at the when the war beg.

Thomas Francis Meagher

Image Source: Stories from 1916

Having led the Irish rebellion in 1848, Thomas found his way to Australia and later to the United States when he escaped the life sentence.

Despite his law and journalism background, he joined the US Army at the onset of the Civil War where he was promoted to the position of brigadier general. Coming from the Irish descent, he encouraged the Irish immigrants to join the Union army that expanded the size of the troops.

Image Source: David Pixels

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