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One of the most celebrated units in the military for more than a century, by 1990, New York City's Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard was scarcely fit for duty. Its equipment was derelict, its discipline nexistent, many of its leaders inept, and its ranks filled with kids barely out of high school who had little intention of serving their country for any longer than it took to get their paycheck, college credit, or job training. Then came the attacks of September 11 and the invasion of Iraq. In The Fighting 69th, Sean Michael Flynn, himself a member of the unit, chronicles the extraordinary transformation of this band of amateur soldiers into a battle-hardened troop at one of the most lethal sites of war. Watch a Video
Sean Michael Flynn 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. Before joining the Army National Guard as an infantryman, Flynn served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. Flynn has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.