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The Team

Executive Board

Mike Coyne

A Galway man by birth, Michael and Libby now live in County Meath via much travelling and adventures. Michael served in 1st Squad, 11th Armoured Cav, Vietnam in 1967-68. For an Irish television documentary, Michael recently returned to Vietnam for the first time since his soldiering days.

Brendan Dodd

A Dubliner, Brendan spent many years in the US Military, serving firstly in USAF, before enlisting in the US Army, and serving in Vietnam with the 196th Infantry.

Ron Howko

American by birth, Ron is a Veteran US Army Broadcaster before retiring to the peaceful and rugged beauty of County Mayo where he and his wife Helen pursue their many and varied activities. At present he is the Commander of the Commodore John Barry American Legion Post in the West of Ireland.

Libby Coyne

Libby was born in Australia, and is a respected member of the Artists Association of Ireland.  Married to Michael, she was previously involved in Irish American Legion work with JFK Post 63 in Dublin, and for a time, was President of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary.


Declan Hughes

Born in Dublin in 1953, Declan left for England in 1971, spending most of the next 18 years living and working in various locations in that country, and further afield. From 1981 onwards, he had involvement in social and development issues, ranging from trades union work to a kidnap case on the Iran-Iraq border, from refugee work to broader development issues. Returning to Ireland in 1990, Declan worked in the human rights arena and, particularly, with the small Vietnamese community in Dublin until, in 1998, he began the identification of those Irish who lost their lives in the Vietnam War – an ongoing project that continues to this day.

1999 saw the replica Vietnam Memorial tour the island of Ireland to honour the dead and their families. In 2002, he established the charity Irish Veterans Historical Research Centre Ltd., now known as Irish Veterans, and continues working on Veterans research with the aim of seeing an Irish Veterans International Research & Heritage Centre in Ireland. In 2010, he was awarded a Certificate in Business Studies from Ballsbridge College; and in 2013 was awarded a BA (Hons) in International Relations from Dublin City University.

James Sikora

Born in Norman, Oklahoma to an Irish mother and American/Slovak father, James grew up in West Cork, Ireland. Joining the US Army (Infantry) after school, he spent 8 years in uniform. He served in various Infantry/Cavalry units in the US, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Former Yugoslavia, completing multiple combat deployments. His awards include the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Commendation Medal with combat “V”. He is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and the Disabled American Veterans.

Leaving the Army, James studied history, following which he started his corporate career, working in the Sports Marketing field with adidas AG. He spent 10 years in Germany working with adidas as a senior marketing/brand relations manager with global responsibility for the categories of rugby, cricket, Olympic sports, motorsports and military/law enforcement.

Moving back to Ireland as a consultant, James began to seek out fellow veterans of the US and other armed forces. He found the very impressive project to identify the Irish who had lost their lives in the Vietnam War that Declan Hughes had initiated; and the vehicle which supported that research, Irish Veterans Historical Research Centre. One thing led to another and working together with Declan, the idea for Irish Veterans as a global organization took shape

Whilst continuing to work in the private sector, Sikora is giving all the time and support he possibly can to the Irish Veterans, with the goal of making it a self-sustaining organization in the near future, after which time the focus will become establishing a memorial, heritage centre and museum.

Damian Shiels

Over ten years experience in the archaeology and heritage profession in both the public and private sector. Responsible for the delivery of a number of large scale and high profile archaeological projects. A specialist in Conflict Archaeology, particularly as it relates to Ireland. He has delivered lectures at both national and international conferences on archaeology and heritage and published widely. Formerly PRO for the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Specialties:Project Management, Post Excavation, Editing, Conflict Archaeology. Damian is an internationally recognized authority on the Irish who fought on both sides of the US Civil War, and is author of ‘The Irish in the American Civil War’ (History Press Ltd).

Tommy Coyne

Tommy has a BA(hons) Degree in Media Production Management and has worked in the Information Technology industry for the past 15 years. He has managed the production of various media projects which include About Visual Art website, Tipperary Remembrance Trust, Irish Veterans Memorial Project, Josh O' Shea - Silversmith website and Yoga Soul website. Skills include Web Design, International Media Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Media Law, Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media Development.