RPI researchers help solve mystery of MIA World War II hero

July 30, 2019 06:38 PM

TROY - More than 70 years after a marine from Troy went missing in action, his family and friends finally have some answers.

Marine 2nd Lieutenant John McGrath's plane went down over the Pacific. However, thanks to a group of students and researchers at RPI, the plane has been positively identified.


A special ceremony was held at RPI Tuesday in McGrath's honor.

NewsChannel 13's Karen Tararache first introduced us to McGrath's high school classmate Jack Marcil last year. It was then that efforts to find McGrath's remains or his plane were announced.

He was there to learn the details behind this successful mission.

West Hall served as the backdrop for Tuesday's ceremony. The building used to be Catholic Central High School, which is where McGrath graduated from back in 1941.

A 1943 photo shows McGrath with three of his classmates, including Marcil, who were all home on leave at the time.

Marcil served in the Coast Guard and says he counts his blessings every day for being one of the lucky ones to live to talk about it.

Also there on Tuesday was Justin Taylan, a graduate of RPI and founder of a company called Pacific Wrecks. His job now is finding missing service members.

Taylan enlisted the help of Professor Igor Vamos and a group of current RPI students to help solve the mystery of John McGrath. They were able to connect the dots and locate the plane off the coast of the Okinawa Islands.

Taylan said one of the first things he did was find the combat report that documented McGrath's plane went down, it noted that the plane went missing on July 21, 1945  several miles off the coast of the Japanese town of Sonai.

Taylan traveled to the island last year and believes the mission was a success.

Find out why McGrath's family says their work is not over, by watching the video of Jacquie Slater's story.


Jacquie Slater & WNYT Staff

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