John August McGrath

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
29 June 1945 - 12 November 1966
Washington, Michigan
Panel 12E Line 063


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John August McGrath

11 Nov 2006

Remembering John A. McGrath, U.S.M.C.

Hi. My name is Paula McGrath and I am John A. McGrath's cousin. Here's my story....

My cousin John died when I was in 4th grade. I didn't really understand the what all of what was going on at that age.

At John's funeral, the only part I remember of it, I remember seeing all of these bikers attending it too.

Bikers were notorious back in those days and I remembered one of them with long red curly hair. A real scary looking guy too.

He was a barber and his name was Bill Engel. He was a classmate and good friend of John's in high school, I later learned.

A few times while growing up, Billy would stop in to see my father and I remember hiding behind the curtain watching him. He really was quite scary looking to a young girl.

When I became of age, so to speak, Billy found me when I was going nowhere and put me through beauty school, himself.

For 25 "wonderful" years I worked beside Billy and got to experience many of his and John's cronies from way back when.

Through Billy I got to know my cousin as a real guy and not the one that my only memory was of him sitting on a couch at his mother's.

Sadly Billy has also passed away awhile back now too.

Yesterday I got the urge to do some web sleuthing on John McGrath. And that's when I saw that John passed away exactly 40 years ago. So it is imperative I get a memorial up in honor of my great cousin, John A. McGrath - you can visit it by clicking here.

From a cousin in adoration,
Paula D. McGrath
3342 Treetop, Attica, Mi., 48412

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In early November 1966 a reinforced platoon from India Company, 3/1 Marines, was holding a defensive position at An Trach, some 7 or 8 kilometers south-southwest of Danang. Shortly after midnight on 11/12 November their defensive perimeter was breeched by a VC sapper unit operating under cover of a heavy mortar barrage. The intruding VC force, estimated at 25 men, attacked with small arms, grenades, and satchel charges, taking out the command post bunker first. The 60 Marines within the perimeter responded with organic weapons but received worse than they gave. The 3/1 Marines Command Chronology describes the engagement as follows:
"At 120130H vicinity BT973663, Company I platoon CP received a coordinated attack of small arms fire, greanades, and demolition charges from approximately twenty-five VC resulting in fourteen USMC KIA, one USN KIA, twenty-seven USMC WIA and one USN WIA (MEDEVAC). Marines accounted for three VC KIA (confirmed) and seven VC KIA (probable)."
The 3/1 Situation Report for 12 Nov 1966 contains further information, noting that the Commanding Officer of India Company led a reaction force made up of men from HQ Company, 1st Marines which arrived at An Trach at 0400H. Another force, this from Mike 3/1 with attached elements, arrived at 0930 and took responsibility for the defensive position.

As noted in the Chronology, 43 of the 60 Marines engaged were killed or wounded badly enough to require evacuation. The 15 dead were

  • H&S Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines:
    • HM3 Manuel Avila, Fresno, CA
    • Cpl Eduardo Ayala, El Paso, TX
    • LCpl Thomas E. Birdsall, Royal Oak, MI
    • LCpl James P. Brown, Harvest, AL
    • LCpl Larry D. Defilippis, Idaho Falls, ID
    • Pfc Daniel Acosta, Stockton, CA
    • Pfc Roger J. Bryant, Florence, AL

  • I Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines:
    • Cpl Raymond L. Powell, Kansas City, MO (Silver Star)
    • Cpl Daniel D. Yarnell, Highland, CA
    • LCpl John A. McGrath, Washington, MI
    • LCpl Charles E. Meek, St Clair Shores, MI
    • LCpl Alan H. Shields, Los Angeles, CA
    • Pfc Roy G. Alvis, Kell, IL
    • Pfc Ted D. Broomfield, Dodson, LA
    • Pfc David H. Paulsen, Waterloo, IA

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Nov 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009