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Thomas McGrath '40

Date of birth: November 21, 1917

Date of death: September 17, 1943

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1940 Lucky Bag:


Thomas was lost when USS Pompano (SS 181) was sunk, likely on September 17, 1943. He was the boat’s executive officer.

His parents were listed as next of kin.

Silver Star

1940 McGrath 1.jpg

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Thomas Patrick McGrath (NSN: 0-85072), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer of the U.S.S. POMPANO (SS-181) during three successive and aggressive War Patrols of that Submarine during World War II, which resulted in the sinking of an important amount of enemy shipping. On the occasion of a surface engagement with a 900-ton armed enemy patrol vessel he manned a machine gun in an exposed station and in the face of heavy enemy machine gun fire maintained an accurate and effective fire from the gun which directly contributed to the total destruction and sinking of that enemy ship. His conduct throughout these three patrols was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 01623 (July 11, 1943)
Action Date: World War II
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: First Lieutenant
Division: U.S.S. Pompano (SS-181)

The citation above indicates the award was posthumous, but the photo here shows him with it on his uniform.

Bronze Star

He was also awarded the Bronze Star, but unable to find the citation.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

June 1940

Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

ENS Conde Raguet '38 (Battle Force)

November 1940

Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

ENS Conde Raguet '38 (Battle Force)

April 1941

Ensign, USS California

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LT Roderick Rooney '29 (Battleship Division 4)

Class of 1940

Thomas is one of 91 members of the Class of 1940 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.