The Rev. Msgr. R. Joseph Dooley, chaplain of the Metropolitan Police and Fire departments, has been named "Gael of the Year" by the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee. The community service award is given yearly to an area resident of Irish descent.

Dooley, a native of the District, was ordained at St. Matthew's Cathedral in 1960 and has attended to the city's firefighting and police forces for 23 years.

For 15 years, the Irish American Club of Washington and the National Park Service have sponsored a St. Patrick's Day Parade.

This year's event, which starts at 1 p.m. on March 16 and runs along Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets, features House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill as grand marshal. Historians Cited

Three local historians have been honored340d Leslie Rowland of the University of Maryland, and Joseph Reidy of Howard University received the J. Franklin Jameson Prize of the American Historical Association for their work on "The Black Military Experience."

The book follows the lives of black soldiers in the Civil War, and is the first of a planned 10 volumes describing the end of American slavery from the perspective of the emancipated. To produce the series, "Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867," researchers spent more than three years at the National Archives, sorting through one million personal letters, depositions and government reports.

"What happens when you are emancipated? What kind of job do you seek? What kind of name do you take? How do you reconstruct your family?" These were the sort of questions that the historians have tried to answer in the Freedom series, Berlin said. Their research has turned up "extraordinarily evocative and telling stoires," he said.

The Freedom project is funded by the National Archives, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the University of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The second book in the series, "The Destruction of Slavery," which focuses on the slaves' role in attaining their freedom, was recently completed.

"It is enormously exciting to read letters from people who have just emerged from slavery, who had been living under constraints all their lives," Berlin said. "It gives a lot of insight into slavery, and to new world that the freed slaves wanted to create."