WW II Hero Francis Duffy Chosen To Lead Rockland Ancient Order Of Hibernian’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade In Pearl River

Silver Star recipient Francis “Frank” Duffy, a U.S. Marine wounded in combat on Iwo Jima, has been named parade commander of the 2018 Rockland County St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade, organized by the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians, steps off in Pearl River on Sunday, March 18. The Parade Commander leads the parade and is a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“It is a true honor to recognize Frank Duffy for his many contributions to our nation and our county,” Rockland County Legislator Vincent D. Tyer said. “He put his life on the line during one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history. Thanks to Frank and others like him, good prevailed over evil. We can never say thanks enough, but I hope this recognition lets him know how much we truly appreciate his contributions.”

John McGowan, president of the Rockland County AOH, said Duffy is a living example of what it means to serve, both in terms of his military service and his volunteerism. Tyer and Legislator Patrick Moroney, both longtime AOH members, presented Duffy with a Legislative Proclamation that declares Dec. 1 as Francis T. Duffy Day in Rockland County.

“We are honoring Frank Duffy, but it will be our honor – and the honor of everyone at the parade – to have him lead us,” McGowan said. “Frank’s enthusiasm and devotion to our nation and to the efforts of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is infectious.”

Duffy, 94, is a member of the National AOH, as well as Division III of the Rockland AOH.

“We’re thrilled that Frank has agreed to lead the marchers,” said Lillian Murphy, president of the Rockland County Ladies AOH. “He was the right person for the job then and he’s right for the job now.”

Duffy was born in 1923, raised and educated in New York City. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 4, 1942, and attended recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., with additional infantry training at New River and Camp Lejeune, N.C. Duffy sailed with the 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment, 4th Marine Division for the Marshall Islands in 1944 – the only Marine Corp division to sail directly into combat from the United States.

Duffy participated in the landings at Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima –some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific, according to a 2000 history compiled by the 4th Marine Division Historical Detachment.

Duffy was wounded by grenades on Iwo Jima on Feb. 27, 1945 and awarded the Silver Star “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” after taking out two members of a group of the enemy attempting to attack personnel at an observation post. He spent a year in various Naval hospitals recovering from his injuries until he was finally discharged on Feb.13, 1946.

After the war, Duffy was employed by the U.S. Postal Service, retiring in June 1979. He lives in Pearl River, with his wife, Bridget. The couple are long time parishioners of St. Margaret of Antioch Roman Catholic Church in Pearl River. Duffy is also a member of the John H. Secor American Legion Post 329.

County Press Release