MCGRATH, JAMES PATRICK REMAINS IDENTIFIED 07/19/01
Name: James Patrick McGrath Rank/Branch: E3/US Navy Unit: H & S Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division Date of Birth: 07 December 1948 Home City of Record: Chicago IL Date of Loss: 03 August 1967 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 160622N 1072247E (YC545820) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A Refno: 0784
Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas A. Gopp; John B. Nahan; Jack Wolpe (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2001.
REMARKS: SURVIVS EXTRACT SAY DED - J
SYNOPSIS: In early August, 1967, a nine-man team from A Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division began a night reconnaissance patrol in the A Shau Valley that was spotted by a Montagnard tribal woman and child, who alerted a nearby North Vietnamese unit.
North Vietnamese troops slowly surrounded the Marine patrol and another that had joined it, trapping them for two days in hopes of luring a helicopter rescue.
The following day (August 3), the first of two helicopters arrived and loaded some men from the patrols, but was hit by a bazooka shell and crashed during takeoff. The pilot was killed by small-arms fire. The nine passengers were believed to have perished, but all of their bodies could not be recovered because of hostile fire.
John Nahan and Jack Wolpe were passengers aboard the aircraft. They were two of the A Company Reconnaissance patrol. Thomas Gopp was crewchief of the helicopter. James McGrath was a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman attached to H & S Company accompanying the Recon team. These four were listed as Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR).
The men of the CH46A shot down on August 3, 1967 are listed with honor among the missing because no remains were found. Their cases seem quite clear. For others who are listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.
Reports continue to mount that we abandoned hundreds of Americans to the enemy when we left Southeast Asia. While the men aboard the CH46 may not be among them, one can imagine their proud willingness to fly one more mission to help bring them to freedom.
UPDATE LINE: July 31, 2001
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line. This message is being recorded Monday, July 31st. According to the Department of Defense, there are now 1,957 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
This morning, the League was informed that two Americans, initially listed as MIA on January 21, 1968, are now accounted for. The remains of US Army Reserve Warrant Officer 2nd Class William Kimsey and his co-pilot, a US Marine, were jointly recovered in North Vietnam on January 1, 1998.
On July 19th, the League learned that five Americans whose remains were jointly recovered in South Vietnam were also identified. The remains of one, a KIA/BNR on October 6, 1969, were jointly recovered on November 20, 2000, but his family requested that his name not be publicly announced. The other four were lost on August 3, 1967, and their remains were jointly recovered on June 8, 1994. Their names are Corporal Thomas A. Gopp, USMC, of OH, Seaman James P. McGrath, USN, of IL, Lance Corporal John B. Benedict, III, USMC, of MI and Corporal Jack Wolpe, USMC, of NY.
John B. Benedict should read John Benedcit Nahan III.