The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Thomas J.E. Crotty, 30, of Buffalo, New York, killed during World War II, was accounted for Sept. 10, 2019.
(This identification was initially published Sept. 17, 2019.)
In 1942, Crotty served aboard the USS Quail in the Philippines as part of the 16th Naval District-in-Shore Patrol Headquarters, in Cavite Navy Yard on the Philippine Islands.
Thousands of U.S. and Filipino service members were taken prisoner and sent to prisoner of war camps. Crotty was among those reported captured after the surrender of Corregidor and held at the Cabanatuan POW camp.
More than 2,500 POWs perished in this camp during the war. According to prison camp and other historical records, Crotty died July 19, 1942, and was buried along with fellow prisoners in the Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery, in grave number 312.
Following the war, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan cemetery and examined the remains in an attempt to identify them. Due to the circumstances of the deaths and burials, the extensive commingling, and the limited identification technologies of the time, all of the remains could not be identified. The unidentified remains were interred as “unknowns” in the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
In January 2018, the “unknown” remains associated with Common Grave 312 were disinterred and sent to the DPAA laboratory for analysis, including one set, designated X-2858 Manila #2.
To identify Crotty’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and the United States Coast Guard for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently there are 72,657 service members still unaccounted for from World War II, of which approximately 30,000 are assessed as possibly-recoverable. Crotty’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with others missing from WWII. Although interred as an "unknown" in Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Crotty’s grave was meticulously cared for over the past 70 years by the American Battle Monuments Commission. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family information, contact the Coast Guard Service Casualty Office at (202) 795-6637.
Crotty will be buried Nov. 2, 2019, in Buffalo, New York.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420/1169.
Crotty’s personnel profile can be viewed at