Reported missing in action in the Pacific on July 5, 1943, Pfc. George Richard McGraw, aged 28, son of Mr. and Mrs. George I. McGraw of 3971 Sixth Avenue, is now officially listed as “died in action.”
Confirmation of the Altoona Marine Raider’s death was received in telegrams from Lt. Gen. A. A. Vandegrift, Marine Corps Commandant, received this week by the parents and his wife, Mrs. Larue Wicker McGraw, of 3005 Pine Avenue.
The telegrams read: “An official declaration of presumptive death has been made in the case of your son, Pfc. George R. McGraw, U.S.M.C.R. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy. Letter follows.”
The promised letter was received by the parents yesterday from Maj. Gen. D. Peck of the Marine Corps and its contents follow:
“The death of your son, Pfc. George R. McGraw, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in action against the enemy, is a source of deep regret to me and to his comrades in the Corps. Please accept our deepest sympathy in your great loss.
“It is my earnest hope that you will find some measure of consolation in knowing that your son maintained a splendid record in the Corps and gave his life in the performance of his duty against the enemies of his country.”
Parents of Pfc. McGraw learned from a Marine Corps buddy of their son that he lost his life when a rubber boat in which he was a passenger overturned off New Georgia Island on July 5, 1943. The boat was being towed in a rough sea by a landing craft. The Altoonan, No. 2 man on a mortar gun, was encumbered by his pack and mortar shells and drowned, his buddy reported.
Pfc. McGraw was born in Altoona July 2, 1916, and was a Pennsylvania Railroad shop employee here when he enlisted in the Marines April 28, 1942. He went overseas Aug. 26, 1942, after training at Parris Island, S.C., and New River, N.C. He is survived by his parents, his wife and a 6-year-old daughter, Dorris Larue.
Two brothers are in the armed forces, Milton R. McGraw serving with the Navy in the South Pacific and Edward F. McGraw with the Army in Panama. Two sisters, Miss Laura McGraw of Philadelphia, and Mrs. G. C. Dunham of Washington, D.C. also survive.
Pfc. McGraw was a member of the Temple Lutheran Church and attended Roosevelt Junior High School and Altoona High School. Better known as “Muggsy,” he and his brothers were prominent in local baseball.