By Chris Carola | Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — During World War II, four American servicemen who graduated from the same upstate New York high school had their photo taken for the yearbook: a Coast Guardsman, a Navy pilot, a sailor and a soldier. The pilot never made it home and is still listed as missing in action.
Now, 75 years after the four classmates went off to war, an effort to find the pilot’s Pacific crash site is in the works, thanks to that long-ago black-and-white snapshot.
“I can’t say no to a mystery that can be solved,” Justin Taylan, a New York-based WWII researcher involved in the project, told The Associated Press. “This plane can be found.”
The photo of John Marcil, John McGrath, Howard McAlonie and Alfred Mahoney was taken on steps outside Catholic Central High School, then located adjacent to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, near Albany. The young men had graduated from the school two years earlier. All four happened to be home on leave in October 1943 and visited the school at the same time. The photo appeared in the class of 1944’s yearbook along with pictures of other Catholic Central graduates serving in the military.
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Marcil went on to serve in the Coast Guard in the European and Pacific theaters. Mahoney served in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. McAlonie and McGrath both wound up in the Pacific, where the two were reunited on Iwo Jima after McGrath landed his fighter plane on the airfield where McAlonie and his fellow Navy Seabees were stationed after Marines captured the Japanese-held island four months earlier.
McGrath, by then assigned to a Marine …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World