James Patrick McGrath

United States Navy
07 December 1948 - 03 August 1967
Chicago, Illinois
Panel 24E Line 073

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Patrick McGrath

28 Feb 2006

Always Remembered

by a childhood friend
James Storrie
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

A recon patrol consisting of 1stLt William McBride and 7 enlisted men from the 2nd Plt, A Co, 3rd Recon, was inserted into the southern end of the A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, at 1300 on 01 Aug 1967. The patrol took note of apparent signaling shots immediately after the insertion but had no contact until 1400, 02 Aug, when they encountered 4 Montangard civilians. The patrol moved away from the contact area but shortly afterwards exchanged fire with an enemy force. Breaking contact at 1630, the patrol moved toward a nearby valley. Fixed-wing and helicopter support arrived on station at 1700 and exchanged fire with enemy ground forces. An extraction attempt at about 1910 had to be aborted because of enemy presence near the extraction pick-up zone. The patrol established a defensive position and through the night called artillery fires in on suspected enemy positions.

At 0830 03 Aug a CH-46A (BuNo 151923) from HMM-164 landed and began the extraction. As the last member of the patrol came aboard, the helo was hit by two RPG or B-40 rounds, killing one crewman and three members of the patrol and wounding four others - and disabling the CH-46. The chase helo then landed, took the survivors aboard, and departed under fire. There was no opportunity to recover the four bodies from BuNo 151923 and they were classed as Killed in Action, Body not Recovered:

  • Aircrew, HMM-164, MAG-16
    • Cpl Thomas A. Gopp, New London, OH

  • A Co, 3rd Recon Bn
    • HN James P. McGrath, Chicago, IL
    • LCpl John B. Nahan, Allegan, MI
    • LCpl Jack Wolpe, Newburgh, NY
Almost 30 years later the helo site was examined by JTF and human remains repatriated on 08 June 1994. On 10 July 2001 the Defense Department announced that individual remains from all four men had been positively identified.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009