2016 Grand Marshal: Joseph Duggan Jr.

New York Fire Department Battalion Chief
U.S. Army Veteran

All three of our Parade Grand Marshals are both 9/11 first responders and post 9/11 military veterans.

Joseph Duggan Jr., a 9/11 First Responder who also served in Iraq as an Army Reserve captain, marches in the Veterans Day Parade on behalf of those who are no longer here to march.

The FDNY lost 343 members on 9/11.

“I am humbled and honored to represent the men and women of the FDNY and the U.S. Army who cannot be at the 2016 New York City Veterans Day Parade,” Duggan said.

“As most military service members will agree, those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are wounded or killed are the real heroes.  The rest of us only did our jobs. This rings true for the members of the FDNY.  I am privileged to have worked with heroes in both services.”

Brooklyn-born Duggan was in ROTC at Fordham University and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve upon graduation in 1990.  He had various assignments in Armor, Military Police and Civil Affairs, including work in Central America.

He joined the Fire Department in 1991.

On 9/11, he was assigned to Ladder Co. 176 Brownsville and went with his unit to Ground Zero.

“We heard the air bottles exploding,” Duggan recalls.  “There was a brush fire of papers, fires in automobiles.  Chaos didn’t define the situation.”

In the midst of that chaos, Duggan was expecting to be deployed.

“This assumption was shared by all the FDNY personnel, covered in the dust, ash and soot from the collapsed towers who were also members of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Truly, the firefighters knew the meaning of service,” Duggan said.

A member of the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums, Duggan had to split his time between working at “The Pit,” working at his fire house in Brownsville and playing his bagpipe at funerals – many funerals.  

“We were doing 12 services a day.  I couldn’t believe we’d ever be finished,” he recalls.

He was deployed as an Army Reserve Captain in 2003 and helped to rebuild the Baghdad Fire Dept.  He also worked with New York University faculty to set up a Baghdad City Council.  

He ended his Reserve career in 2004 to devote more time to his family and his Fire Department career.  He was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2010.

Duggan lives in Breezy Point with his wife, Mary Ellen, and his daughters, Reilly, 13, and Caileigh, 11.

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Meet our other Grand Marshals
» Stephanie Dawson
» Nelson Vergara