Marty Maher from Roscrea to Westpoint - Roscrea Through The Ages

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Marty Maher from Roscrea to Westpoint

History > History 4

Marty Maher Roscrea to Westpoint.
                                                                                                                                               Martin Maher was born in Ballychrine Roscrea in 1876 into a farming family. In 1898 Marty, after being in a brawl and hitting his boss with a blackthorn stick thinking he might have killed him headed for the boat to America. After being held on Ellis Island for two days Marty was released and applied for a job as a waiter at Westpoint where his brother Joe was already working and got a job as a waiter. After working there in that capacity for two years, he enlisted in the Army and remained at West Point, serving in various roles over the years but ending up assigned as a swimming instructor under the Master of the Sword, Colonel Keeler. Not every cadet who came to West Point knew how to swim, but they knew how when they left Marty made sure of that even though he couldn’t swim a stroke. He went on to become a Master Sergeant
 He met another Irish immigrant who came to work at the Point, named Mary O'Donnell. He married her and a year or so later they had a son, but the child died a few hours after he was born. Mary could never have another child, so from that point on they both came to look upon the Corps of Cadets as their children, devoting themselves to the cadets and West Point, with Marty leading the way.
He must have done a pretty good job, because he was named an Honorary Graduate of three graduating classes - the Class of 1912, 1926, and 1928. He also had a role in helping train the class that became known as "The Class The Stars Fell On," the Class of 1915. That class turned out several graduates who would later become household names, with one of them becoming President of the United States. Those two graduates were Omar Nelson Bradley and Dwight David Eisenhower, both of whom attained the rank of 5 star General of the Army, with Eisenhower later becoming President. Out of the class of 164 graduates, 59 of them (36%) attained general's rank. Marty helped to train every one.
Marty retired from the Army in 1928 after serving nearly 30 years in uniform, and promptly got a civilian position at West Point, where he stayed for the next 20 years before retiring again, this time for good in 1946.He made several visits back to his home in Ballychrine during his life. All in all, Marty Maher stayed at West Point for more than fifty years. He died in 1961, six years after his book “Bringing up the Brass was released. Also in 1955 John Ford directed a film about Marty’s life called “The Long Grey Line starring Tyrone Power as Marty and Maureen O Heara as Mary.
, He lies buried in the West Point Cemetery overlooking The Plain, the large grassy field where the Cadet Parades and Reviews are held.  There is also a memorial to him in the grounds of Camlin Church.

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