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For Spencer, a tale of two Gallaghers

Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer


By Ray O’Hanlon

Richard Spencer might well be dwelling on the name Gallagher for a while.

As Secretary of the Navy, Spencer gave the final all clear for the naming of the last in the run of Arleigh Burke class destroyers for Patrick Gallagher, a Mayo native and Vietnam War hero.

Spencer’s 2018 nod of approval earned him words of praise from Senator Charles Schumer.

Said Schumer at the time: “When I asked Secretary Spencer to come to Long island to learn about how the Navy’s past practices at the Grumman site were impacting the water quality of the community, he not only agreed, he also took time to meet the family of Cpl. Patrick Gallagher, who live nearby.

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“That meeting was the turning point in the campaign to have the Navy name a ship after Patrick. Secretary Spencer listened, read the documents we gave him and promptly made the correct decision to name a United States Navy destroyer to honor the extraordinary valor and ultimate sacrifice of this son of Erin who answered the call of his new nation. It is something no Irish American, no U.S. Marine, nor any patriot should ever forget.”

In recent days, Spencer found himself embroiled in the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, a story that had made national and international headlines.

The latest Gallagher tale cost Spencer, a retired Marine aviator, his job.

This time, Senator Schumer, perhaps reminded of the other Gallagher, delivered words of comfort and support.

Said Schumer: “I just spoke to former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. I told him he’s a patriot; that he served the Navy and the nation well and he will be missed. Secretary Spencer did the right thing and he should be proud of standing up to President Trump when he was wrong, something too many in this administration and the Republican Party are scared to do.

“Good order, discipline, and morale among the Armed Services must transcend politics, and Secretary Spencer’s commitment to these principles will not be forgotten.”

That would, or should, mean an invitation to the launch of the USS Patrick Gallagher. The ship is presently under construction at Bath Iron Works in Maine.