Tribute

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty, USCG

This tribute to Lt. Crotty was condensed from an article written by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Atlantic Area Historian, USCG.  Courtesy of the MacArthur Memorial Library, Norfolk, Virginia.

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Cotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty

Lt. ‘Jimmy’ Crotty graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1934 and for 6 years he served on board cutters, including the Tampa during its famous rescue of passengers from the burning liner Morro Castle.  In April 1941, Jimmy received training at the Navy’s Mine Warfare School and Mine Recovery Unit.  He then received orders for the Philippine Islands in October.

On 10 December, the American Navy Yard at Cavite was bombed by the Japanese.  Crotty supervised the demolition of strategic facilities to prevent them from falling into enemy hands as ground troops made their way to Corregidor.  This included the ammunition magazine and the fleet submarine, USS Sea Lion, which had been damaged during the air attacks.

USS Quail

USS Quail

During February and March 1942, Crotty served as executive officer of the Navy minesweeper USS Quail which shot down enemy aircraft and swept the minefields so US subs could deliver supplies and evacuate personnel.  They also provided shore bombardment against Japanese beach landings.

Crews on board Navy vessels cannibalized deck guns and moved them onto the island to mount a final stand against the encircling enemy forces.  Crotty served to the bitter end.  Eye witnesses reported seeing him commanding a force of Marine and Army personnel manning the 75-mm beach guns until Japanese bombardment put the guns out of commission.

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

With Corregidor’s capitulation on 6 May, Lt. Crotty became the first Coast Guard POW since the War of 1812.  His fellow prisoners at Cabanatuan knew him for his love of sports as well as his sense of humor and optimism.  One person later recounted: “The one striking thing I remember was his continued optimism and cheerfulness under the most adverse circumstances.  He was outstanding at a time when such an attitude was so necessary for general welfare.”

Lt. Crotty

Lt. Crotty

Crotty received little recognition for his heroic efforts during those desperate days due in part to the destruction of records and the death of so many eye witnesses.  To this day, no one knows the precise day he died, from the diphtheria epidemic that killed 40 prisoners a day, or the exact location of his final resting place.

Crotty's shadow-box

Crotty’s shadow-box

In the words of one of his shipmates, intelligence officer, Lt.Cmdr. Denys W. Knoll:
“Lieutenant Crotty impressed us all with his fine qualities of naval leadership which were combined with a very pleasant personality and a willingness to assist everyone to the limit of his ability. He continued to remain very cheerful and retained a high morale until my departure from Fort Mills the evening of 3 May. Lt. Crotty is worthy of commendation for the energetic and industrious manner in which he performed all his tasks. He continued to be an outstanding example of an officer and a gentleman to all hands and was a source of encouragement to many who did not posses his high qualities of courage and perseverance that he displayed.”

Lt.Cmdr. John Morrel also, along with 17 others escaped 2,000 miles to Darwin Australia in a 36′ motor launch and wrote the book, “South From Corregidor.”

Click onto images to enlarge.

################################################################################

Military Humor –  now they’re into ‘planking’

military planking

military planking

military-planking-500-0

military-planking-500-17

################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

James Caporale – CT & FL; US Navy (Ret. 20 years)

Gert Dalby – Santa Ynez, CA; Danish Military

William Foster – Goshen, IN; USMCplaying-taps

Richard Hottelet – Brooklyn, NY; WWII journalist, last of the “Edward R. Murrow Boys,” ETO, POW

Norman Lucas – Knox, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO, Company C/1/24th Div.

Douglas MacLean – Calgary, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Oakville

Donald Moore – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corp, WWII, PTO, Med/457 Artillery

Betty Quilan – Oklahoma City, OK; Military Intelligence, WWII

Marion Stults – Tucson, AZ , US Army, 511th/Signal

Jack Walsh – Portland , ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Perry & Shenandoah

##################################################################################

Advertisements

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 22, 2015, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. Courage above and beyond the call of duty I think.
    Great written tribute. One small point if I may gp, without having to google it.
    You have two spellings of his name, one is Cotty and the other is Crotty, just read Pierres comment and thought I had misread when I went back to check, you beat me to the gun mate
    Cheers
    Ian

    Like

  2. These are such important tributes you present to us on brave men who lost their lives too soon.

    Like

  3. I am glad we can remember him here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a man I’d like to have by my side in times of war and great adversity. Minding the morale, keeping the chin up despite adversities was just what his mates needed – a true hero.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Brad. I visited the veterans museum here yesterday, they had some fabulous items and article, paintings (prints)) by Hitler…the Japanese flag taken by the US forces during the war…they want it back. Love to come here, thank you.

    Like

    • Thrilled to hear how interested you are, Hollie. I hope that flag doesn’t become some sort of international incident, we all have bigger things to worry about these days. 🙂

      Like

  6. Your posts are so fascinating to read but Lt. Crotty’s lack of recognition for his heroism is just wrong!

    Like

    • It happened to so many, but that’s what we’re trying to help correct here. I prod people to include whatever they know about friends, relatives, people they visit at the VA hospitals, nursing homes, etc. You always hear the vets say, it hurts too much to talk or who wants to hear about me? and so on… They are ALL lost stories. It breaks my heart to know how many of that generation are lost each day. Thank you for visiting here, Kevin.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. What a wonderful memory. Now we all know about him.

    Like

  8. gp, Lt. ‘Jimmy’ Crotty’s story reads like that John Wayne movie & more about the Coast Guard in the Philippines with the Japanese closing in on them! Incredible once again! Phil

    Like

    • As it reads in the original article, he was sent to the Navy mine schools early in 1941 for exactly that reason – there was going to be war with Japan. Being as that has always been my theory that FDR intended to join WWII from the beginning, I did not want to sound bias or include it as a back up for my ideas. After all, I’ve always said I would keep my own feelings out of the posts – but I do speak my mind in the comments! 😉 I’m glad you stopped by, Phil.

      Like

  9. I have always admired anyone involved in removing mines, whether at sea or on land. It seems to involve such incredible courage. As for the Coast Guard experience, since our son flies rescue helicopters off of Kodiak Island in Alaska, I appreciated the Coast Guard angle, GP. –Curt

    Like

  10. Sometimes I think we don’t hear as much as we should about the Coast Guard during World War II. Thanks for posting this.

    Like

  11. There are so many stories that will never be told of a man’s bravery and sacrifice simply due to the lack of witnesses such as in Lt. Cotty’s case. I grieve for all of the unsung heroes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true, so true, Koji!! Each time I go into the obits for ex-servicemen, it breaks my heart to see how quickly we’re losing that generation. With each name, I feel I’ve lost another story from them.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Sounds like Lt. Crotty was a amazing man. I thank him for all that he did in the face of adversity. Very interesting story, Everett!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is great. Thank you for remember Lt. Crotty!

    Like

  14. A great man–the Coast Guard is not often given credit for their contributions to the war effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “To this day, no one knows the precise day he died, from the diphtheria epidemic that killed 40 prisoners a day, or the exact location of his final resting place.”

    this tears me up. No matter where Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty is – he’s at peace now and I thank him on behalf of my kababayan. Without them, who knew what could have happen to the Philippines during those times. Salamat Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty!

    Lt. Thomas James Eugene Cotty

    Norman Lucas – Knox, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO, Company C/1/24th Div.

    Douglas MacLean – Calgary, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Oakville

    Donald Moore – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corp, WWII, PTO, Med/457 Artillery

    Betty Quilan – Oklahoma City, OK; Military Intelligence, WWII

    Marion Stults – Tucson, AZ , US Army, 511th/Signal

    Jack Walsh – Portland , ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Perry & Shenandoah

    Mabuhay kayong lahat!

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

    Like

  17. This guy emulated what the movie industry portrayed in film. Glad to see this tribute. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. There are very few accounts of Coast Guard veterans for us to read. Thanks for this one.

    Like

  19. Another good and brave man whose efforts deserve more recognition than they have so far.

    Like

  20. An amazing tribute to an amazing man.

    Like

  21. Thank you for the “Coastie” post. As the son of a WWII Coast Guardsman I appreciate the recognition of this often overlooked or forgotten service. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “Oh, the Coast Guard” when relating how my dad served. He was proud of his service and proud that he enlisted rather than waiting to be drafted. His service continued after the war ended on the Ice Breaker/Mine Sweeper “Gentian” later sold to the Columbian Navy. I still have his “Bluejackets Manual” and the sheath knife issued to him.

    And didn’t even John Wayne portray a “Coastie”? So there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for some info on your father, Mike. Is he still with us? My father, Smitty spoke very highly of the Coast Guard, I believe it was they who handled the troop landing vessels when the 11th made their amphibious landings. Any further data on your father is very welcome here, or if you have done a post on him – include a link so we can all enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dad died in 1984 and served almost the whole war in Brooklyn. He was a carpenter’s mate but was assigned to the Coast Guard Dance Band. The CG found out he had played the violin i high school and the CG was organizing the CGDB under the leadership of famous band leader Dick Stabile who also had enlisted. Dad was “drafted” into the band to play bass fiddle. Several years ago I attempted to locate a photo of the band for my mom’s 80th birthday but was unable to do so. CG museum and the CG Academy had none on file. I even managed to contact Dick’s niece and the daughter of dick’s brother,Joe Stabile, who led the Army Air Corps band. No luck. Dick went on to be Dean Martin’s band leader and Joe to become Jerry Lewis’ manager. Dean and Jerry had been Dick’s comedy act.

        Dad told me that he felt “guilty” and applied for overseas duty but the CG would not have it. The CGDB put on Saturday night dances in Brooklyn and Dean and other “crooners” drew the local girls in to keep the boys company.

        There is a story somewhere in there but very little on the “web” to document the time and place. I still look now and then but it appears that this is another of the forgotten tales of the war.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Yet another example of the courage and commitment of our veterans.

    Like

  23. An amazing man. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  24. Check the name… You write Cotty and Crotty in your article.
    Which is the right one?

    Pierre

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: