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Minister Killeen unveils the John King Memorial in Ballinrobe

Mr Tony Killeen TD, Minister for Defence today (Saturday 4th September 2010) was in Ballinrobe to officiate at the unveiling of a memorial in honour of John King, a Mayo man who was awarded two Congressional medals of Honour for his service to the American Navy. John King is only one of nineteen men that received two Congressional Medals of Honour.

The John King Association already exists in America and this is the first time the US marine is honoured in his native county. The seven-foot bronze statue at The Cornmarket was sculpted by the renowned sculpture Rick Lewis.

John King was born in Currabee Ballinrobe in 1862. He emigrated to the United States as a young man and enlisted in the American Navy in 1893. His time in the Navy spanned 26 years. He first served in the USS Vicksburg and worked in the boiler rooms of 13 naval vessels. He was discharged in 1916 but was recalled in 1917 following the outbreak of World War One. He served two more years and received his final discharge in 1919.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony Minister Killeen said “I am honoured to be here today to unveil the John King Memorial. It is a fitting tribute to honour such a remarkable man. John King received the Congressional Medal of Honour on two occasions. It is America’s most important award to a person during their lifetime. His story is truly a fascinating one.”

John King died in 1938 in the USA and is buried in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The US guided missile armed destroyer, the USS John King (DDG-3) named after him, was commissioned in 1961.

Minister Killeen paid tribute to all those involved in organising the ceremony for this great hero. ENDS
For further information please contact the Department of Defence Press Office ph 01 8042108 and mobile +353872340397

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