The Return Home of Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Coast Guard is scheduled to receive the remains of World War II service member Lt. Thomas Crotty from an Air Force Reserve air crew at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara Falls, New York, Friday.

LT Thomas James Eugene “Jimmy” Crotty, a Coast Guard and American hero was born on March 18, 1912, in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1934 after serving as Company Commander, class president and captain of the Academy’s football team. He served his first seven years after graduation on board cutters in New York City, Seattle, Sault Ste. Marie and San Diego.

In the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he served with the U.S. Navy as Executive Officer onboard USS QUAIL, part of the 16th Naval District-in-Shore Patrol Headquarters, Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines. He aided in the defense of Corregidor during the Japanese invasion in the early days of WWII, supervising the destruction of ammunition and facilities at the Navy Yard and scuttling the fleet submarine USS SEA LION to prevent its use by the Japanese. As the Japanese advanced on Corregidor, LT Crotty eagerly took charge of cannibalized deck guns from the ship and led a team of brave enlisted Marines and Army personnel fighting for an additional 30 days until the Japanese bombardment finally silenced the defense of the island fortress.


Following the fall of Corregidor, LT Crotty was taken prisoner by the Japanese and interned at the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp. After his death on July 19, 1942 from diphtheria, he was buried in a common grave along with all those who died that day.

After World War II, the U.S. government moved remains from the common graves to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Republic of the Philippines. On September 10, 2019, as part of an exhaustive effort by DoD to bring every service member home, LT Crotty was positively identified from the remains exhumed from the cemetery in early 2018.

LT Crotty is the only known Coast Guardsman to serve in defense of the Philippines; his service authorizes the Coast Guard to display the Philippine Defense Battle Streamer on the Coast Guard Ensign. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and many other decorations. A full accounting of his service can be found in the blog here.

On Friday, November 1, 2019, arrival honors will be held at Joint Reserve Base, Niagara NY at 10:00 a.m. Private funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at noon at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, Buffalo, NY followed by interment with full military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, NY.


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