Mark McGuire

NO. 17777  •  6 July 1928 – 11 September 1991

Died 11 September 1991 in Oakton, Virginia, aged 63 years
Interment: Cemetery the Holy Rood, Westbury, New York


MARK McGUIRE WAS BORN in Far Rockaway, New York on 6 July 1928, the third of four children of lawyer Thomas Joseph McGuire and Agnes Powers McGuire. Mark grew up in Cedarhurst, Long Island in the family home his grandparents built at the turn of the century. He graduated from Lawrence High School.

Mark was influenced in a military career by his father, an officer in the 59th Artillery in the battles of the Marne and St. Mihiel; by an uncle who led an infantry platoon in the "Fighting 69th," was seriously wounded at Chateau Thierry and was awarded the Silver Star; and by his mother, a Yeomanette in the US Navy.

The Howitzer notes: "Mark came to West Point as the pride of Long Island, a natural hive with a goat's ambition. Mark floated through academics but maintained himself a ramrod for duty and a tower of virtue in matters of honor. His Irish smile and unusual sense of humor won him fame, if not renown, throughout the Corps."

After graduation, Mark joined the 71st Field Artillery in Germany. A month later, Mark's wife Ruth arrived and it was during this tour that Michael and Kathleen were born. In 1953, the family left Germany for Fort Sill. Mark attended the Basic Course, taught gunnery and completed the Advanced Course. In 1957, Mark left Fort Sill for an unaccompanied tour in Vietnam, initially as an advisor and later as a General's aide.

In 1958, when Mark returned, his marriage ended with a divorce. Mark reported to the 82d Airborne Division. He considered duty with the 82d the best of his career. He enjoyed jumping out of airplanes and became a master parachutist. Mark experienced an artillery officer's dream of commanding three different airborne batteries: a mortar battery, a 105mm Howitzer battery and an Honest John battery. The highlight of his tour occurred on 14 March 1960 when Mark married Sallie Miller.

ln 1962, Mark and Sallie moved to Maxwell Air Force Base to attend the Air Command and Staff College. Mark continued in an academic environment by becoming fluent in Swahili and attaining a Master of Arts at the American University in Washington, D.C. In January 1966, the Army recognized Mark as a Foreign Area Specialist in South Africa and assigned him to the U.S. Strike Command staff in Florida. Mark was able to utilize his knowledge of Africa and fluency in Swahili during his trips to Africa and in studies and planning.

In February 1968, Mark, Sallie and their family (Lisa, Julie and Christine) moved to London, where Mark served on the US‑UK Planning Group. Mark and Sallie enjoyed their warm relationship with the British people, and the girls were happy to attend English schools. The family had many pleasant experiences traveling in the United Kingdom and on the Continent.

In 1970, Mark retired as a lieutenant colonel to take a job with Cheeseborough‑Ponds. Unfortunately, a corporate shake‑up in New York in 1972 left Mark without a job, and the family moved to Northern Virginia.

In March 1975, Mark began his second career with the Voice of America as a political analyst. In 1999, he received the Director's Award for "holding the mirror of truth before the Chinese people and their leaders during China's quest for democracy."

Part of "In Memoriam," written about Mark by a colleague, stated: "As an editorial writer for the Voice of America, he hammered away at the Communist edifice, testing the power of truth against the Big Lie. Legend has it that Brian Born, the greatest of Ireland's warrior kings, died on the battlefield at Clontarf at the moment of his final victory over the Viking invaders. Like so many Irish heroes and martyrs, his death was the crown and seal of his life. So it is, somehow, fitting that Mark would leave us late in this victory year of 1991. He had lived to see the spectacular triumph of American arms ‑ one of the most remarkable in military history... Mark was no mere spectator to these events. He was, as always, right in the thick of the fight. On his very last day, his words were still being heard by millions throughout the world ‑ bringing a message of courage, hope and freedom. And now that his fight is fought and his race won, Mark has gone to the reward of a lifetime well spent. I believe he would want to remind those of us who remain that there are some things left to do. For freedom will still need defending. So let us strive to be worthy to carry the torch he has passed us and dedicate our lives to duty, honor, country."

Well done, Mark. May God bless you, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Mark is survived by his wife Sallie of Oakton, Virginia; daughters Julie Bethea, Lisa Bennett, Christine and Kathleen; son Michael; two grandchildren, Erin and Richard Bethea; brothers Thomas Joseph McGuire (Brigadier General, USA Retired) and Philip; and sister Patricia.