News From Fort Schuyler

March 17, 2008 - Volume 8, No. 10

THE FIGHTING 69TH AT FORT SCHUYLER - What better day than St. Patrick's Day to salute Fort Schuyler's own Irish Brigade? According to Wikipedia the brigade almost never got to fight: "The core regiment of the Irish Brigade, the 69th New York volunteers, was comprised largely from the 69th New York Militia, a unit which first gained notoriety prior to the Civil War, when Colonel Michael Corcoran refused an order to parade the regiment for the Prince of Wales during the latter's visit to New York City. Col. Corcoran was in the process of being court-martialed when the Civil War erupted. Needing as many men at arms as quickly as possible, the Army dropped the charges ..." They assembled and trained at Fort Schuyler in 1861, before marching south to distinguish themselves in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Under a new leader, Thomas Francis Meagher, they fought engagements at Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Appomattox and many others. Jeff Shaara's novel, Gods and Generals, features Meagher and the brigade. A film by the same title reenacts the brigade's assault on Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg.

The Fighting 69th fought in France during WW I, led by "Wild Bill" Donovan", who was to head the Office of Strategic Services in WW II - the predecessor of the CIA. The regiment had some other interesting members, including the poet and journalist who volunteered to fight with the Fighting Irish, Joyce Kilmer, and the Roman Catholic chaplain for whom Duffy Square is named, Francis P. Duffy. Go to and search for "Father Duffy of New York's Fighting 69th" and for "Joyce Kilmer in World War I"

In World War II the regiment served in the Pacific Theater as part of the 27th New York Division. Since 1947 the Fighting 69th has been a unit of the New York National Guard. In recent years the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry served with distinction in Iraq in and around Bagdad. For a website dedicated to Irish Brigade history from an Irish perspective go to

IRISH PENNANTS - Thanks to ROD McFADDEN, Class of 1975, for reminding me of this phrase referring to loose threads that need to be tied up just in time for this issue of NFFS. First, he sent a reminder that "This year will be the 30th anniversary of the first class to enter with women cadets. As I recall, 6 of the original 7 graduated, a better record than their male contemporaries." Rod also attended the Washington Alumni Chapter brunch at Annapolis on 24 February, reporting that Provost/VPAA Dr. JOSEPH HOFFMAN, Class of 1975, "... brought us up to date on the latest doings, including a regiment of almost 1,100 cadets, and invited all and sundry to visit." On his way back to Fort Schuyler, Dr. Hoffman wrote to NFFS that in addition to being graciously hosted by chapter president, JOHN HANNON, Class of 1977 and his wife, Kathleen, it was also "...a particular thrill for me to catch up with Captain GERARD NOLAN, Class of 1956..... Master of the Training Ship for all three of my Summer Sea Terms as a cadet. Winning the prize for most 'senior' alum was HARRY KESSLER, Class of 1954,,,,,Harry was happy to hear about the college's record cadet enrollment and is planning a visit to the campus with his grandson who is looking at colleges." Joe concluded with the information that his classmate, Rod McFadden, DC Chapter Secretary, "...will join us on the campus in May for the Graduation Awards Reception where he will once again present the Washington DC Alumni Chapter Award to the Cadet who had demonstrated Outstanding Military or Public Service." [NFFS invited Dr. Hoffman to provide highlights of his presentation for a later issue.]

MORE PENNANTS - TED MASON, Class of 1957, and Alumni Association Treasurer, added names of graduates who attended the Fred Hess funeral: JOE COLLELA, Class of 1979 (past board member), RICHARD BRACKEN, Class of 1957 (Association President), and JIM DeSIMONE, Class of 1973 and past skipper of the training ship.

SCHUYLER SALVORS (CONTINUED) - "Another Salvage Master is JOSE DELFAUS, Class of 1972. He is currently master of one of the Navy-owned, civilian-operated, MSFSC (Military Sealift Fleet Support Command) salvage and rescue ships, the USNS GRASP," writes BOB SCHIESSER, Class of 1958. Bob should know, since he is the port engineer for the GRASP. The ship was turned over to its civilian crew in January 2006, the first of 4 such ships slated to be switched to civilian operation. At the turnover ceremony, Jose said: "This was a hot turnover, meaning that we're ready now to go on mission. MSC civilian mariners have towing and salvage experience, so this is not new to us." (

Bob notes that "GRASP, Captain Delfaus, his crew and embarked salvage personnel, both Navy and civilian, are on a mission to retrieve 2 F-15's in waters off Florida." [NFFS editor assumes reference is to the planes from Eglin Air Force Base's 33rd Fighter Wing which collided over the Gulf of Mexico south of Panama City Beach during a training exercise on 20 February. One pilot died from his injuries suffered in that mid-air collision -]

DUBAI ANYONE ? If you are in the neighborhood of the Arabian Gulf you might want to check out a conference on "Practical Maritime Economics" being led by FRED DOLL, Class of 1979, from 16-17 April (repeated in London a month later.) "The course is led by the highly respected market practitioner, Fred Doll [who] has a wide range of hands-on experience in the shipping industry, having worked for Exxon, a director at Clarksons, the world's largest shipbroking firm, and seven years at sea on oil tankers. Today he runs Doll Shipping Consultancy" [which is based in England.]

CAMPUS SPEAKERS BUREAU - Alumni chapters looking for a guest speaker from SUNY Maritime College, can contact CAPT TOM GREENE, Vice President for University Relations/Deputy Commandant of Cadets at 718-409-7351


Richard Corson - Forest Hills, NY

Latitude 40.716N Longitude 73.85W