Lt. Crotty Had Been Listed MIA Since 1942 After the Surrender of Corregidor in the Philippines During World War II
World War II Hero's Remains Will Be Repatriated and Interred in His Hometown of Buffalo on November 2
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed flags on all State government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, November 2, in honor of World War II U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Thomas J.E. Crotty of Buffalo. Lieutenant Crotty was reported MIA and later died at the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippines in July 1942. His body will be repatriated to the United States and interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Buffalo on November 2.
"We all owe a debt of gratitude to Lieutenant Crotty for his service and making ultimate sacrifice while defending our country to ensure freedom for future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "To honor Lt. Crotty and his legacy as he is finally and rightfully returned home to Buffalo, I am directing flags to half-staff on all State buildings and on behalf of all New Yorkers, I express our sincerest appreciation for his service."
Lieutenant Crotty played a key role in destroying supplies and facilities to prevent them from falling into enemy hands when the U.S. Navy abandoned its main Naval Base in the Philippines following the Japanese invasion in 1941.
Lieutenant Crotty served with the 16th Naval District-in-Shore Patrol Headquarters aboard the USS Quail in the Philippines. When the Japanese invaded the Island of Corregidor in May 1942, Crotty led a team of Marines and Army personnel firing on Japanese soldiers landing on the island's beach. After the surrender of Corregidor, Lieutenant Crotty and thousands of service members were held at the Cabanatuan POW camp. He was the only Coast Guardsman taken prisoner during World War II. On July 19, 1942, at thirty-years-old, Lieutenant Crotty was killed in action and buried in a mass grave with fellow prisoners.
In the decades since the war, the American Graves Registration Service has exhumed and examined the remains of thousands of fallen soldiers to identify them. Using mitochondrial DNA analysis, Lieutenant Crotty's remains were identified on September 10, 2019, and will be sent home to the United States, arriving at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on November 1.