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Sean Michael Flynn

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Captain Sean Michael Flynn, USA “was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force in 1994. After a brief tour in Mississippi, he transferred to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska where he began writing his fish-out-of-water column, Cheechako.”  After serving in the USAF, he joined the Army National Guard and “served as the Fighting 69th assistant operations officer during the unit’s service at Ground Zero, commander of Alpha Company during its homeland defense duty at West Point, and commander of Bravo Company during the 69th’s service in Iraq. A captain awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his services in Iraq, Flynn is one of the few Irish-Americans remaining in the once all-Irish 69th and a direct descendent of Civil War veterans of the Regiment. Flynn has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.” Captain Sean Michael Flynn is the author of The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad and Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska.


Publisher’s Weekly said of Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska, “For one year in the late 1990s, Flynn was posted to Eileson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, as a public affairs officer, one of the "desk weenies" assigned to put a good face on unpopular military activities, like environmentally hazardous combat flying exercises and radioactivity-fueled facilities on native lands. His personal goal was to transform himself from "cheechako," or greenhorn Lower 48-er, into a "real Alaskan." While he approached his duties spinning bad news for the military with seasoned skepticism-noting his lies in parentheses for the reader-the challenge of becoming a real Alaskan seemed to involve his manhood and was therefore more serious. Commenting on underdressed (for the weather) rugby players, he concludes, "they're all just afraid of being called a wimp. Any guy can appreciate that." He treats readers to several bloody and drunken rugby matches in 30-below weather, plus some attempts at dogsledding, salmon and halibut fishing, moose eating and gold panning. Flynn liberally seasons this virile menu with complaints about the difficult guy/gal ratio and more than a little finger-pointing at the gals who look like guys. Ultimately, Flynn decides being a real Alaskan is less about endurance and more about attitude (e.g., if you're freezing, go get a jacket or stop sitting in the snow). In the last pages, Flynn, like many of his "real Alaskan" friends, leaves Alaska for more urban settings-after all, as Flynn puts it, Manhattan's so much better at "pizza and women.”


One reader said of Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska, “I was stationed at Eielson at the same time as Sean but mainly knew him from his hilarious and entertaining (and eventually banned) columns in the base newspaper. I found the book by accident years later while stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK. Sean's account so perfectly encapsulates life as a Cheechako in the interior of Alaska it has to be a must read for anyone thinking of moving to, or even visiting, the heart of the last American frontier. Sean's newspaper columns were the topic of conversation every week in what was probably the most read USAF base paper in history - and his book is an ongoing laugh-fest with a style all his own, though very reminiscent of great humorists writers like Dave Barry. His experiences, while typical of a young, single guy (as I was at the time), give a true picture of what Alaska is all about. You don't have to know about Alaska or like the military to find this book a fascinating and eminently enjoyable read - but if you've ever been in the military, visited or thought about visiting Alaska - this is a book you can't pass up!”


One reader of The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad said, “Captain Flynn tells the story of the National Guardsmen who served in the 69th Infantry in the aftermath of the 911 attacks in New York and in service in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He does not romanticize the experience or try to cover up short comings of this fabled unit but tells the story with clarity and honesty and with the voice of one whose own boots were on the ground. This book is a must read for anybody interest in the history of this unit or in the conduct of the war in Iraq. Thank you Captain Flynn.”

The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad
Sean Michael Flynn  More Info

Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska
Sean Michael Flynn  More Info

According to the book description of The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad, “How a ragtag National Guard unit found itself thrust into the War on Terror and triumphed against impossible odds On the eve of September 11, 2001, New York City's famous National Guard regiment, the Fighting 69th Infantry, was not fit for duty. Most of its soldiers were immigrant kids with no prior military experience and no intention of serving their country any longer than it took to get a paycheck or college credit. Once a respected all-Irish outfit, the 69th was now a Technicolor mix of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians, African Americans, Russians, Poles, Koreans, Chinese, and a few token Irish Americans. Their uniforms were incomplete and their equipment was downright derelict. The thought of deploying such a unit was laughable. But that is exactly what happened. With a charismatic mix of irreverent humor and eye-opening honesty, Sean Flynn, himself a member of the 69th, memorably chronicles the transformation of this motley band of amateur soldiers into a battle- hardened troop at work in one of the most lethal quarters of Baghdad: the notorious Airport Road, a blood- soaked strand that grabbed headlines and became a bellwether for progress in post invasion Iraq. At home on the concrete and asphalt like no other unit in the U.S. Army, Gotham's Fighting 69th finally brings its own rough justice to this lawless precinct by ignoring army discipline and turning to the street-fighting tactics they grew up with and know best. The Fighting 69th is more than a story about the impact of terrorism, the war on Iraq, or the current administration's failures. It is the story of how regular citizens come to grips with challenges far starker than what they have been prepared for. Flynn's dark humor, empathy, and candor make for a fresh look at who our soldiers are and what they do when faced with their toughest challenges.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of The Fighting 69th: One Remarkable National Guard Unit's Journey from Ground Zero to Baghdad, “Flynn (Land of Radioactive Midnight) draws on his experience as a company commander with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard—the Fighting 69th of Civil War, WWI and WWII fame—for this riveting account of the unit's service following 9/11. Considered the worst unit in the National Guard, at the turn of the 21st century, according to Flynn, the 69th was under-trained, under-resourced, and under-led. Activated on 9/11, its soldiers were the first to arrive at ground zero, and then guarded New York City's bridges and tunnels and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 2004, after retraining, the unit was flagged Task Force Wolfhound and certified for overseas deployment, but was barely functional in the field. In Iraq, the 69th provided route security along a six-mile stretch known as 'The Most Dangerous Road in the World,' the main highway between the airport and downtown Baghdad. Learning on the job, the 69th effectively neutralized the roadside bomb threat that has caused a high percentage of the war's casualties, but paid a heavy price in its own killed and injured. Drawing on combat journals, operations orders and interviews with survivors, Flynn fashions a tale equal to the making of the new, contemporary heroes of the Fighting 69th who, against all odds, restored a previously distinguished unit to its former glory.”

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