Captain Mike McGrath, a native of Delta, Colorado, attended the United States Naval Academy. Upon graduating from Annapolis in June 1962, he entered Naval Aviation flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida. He was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1963.
He began his first sea duty tour in early 1965 when he joined the “Blue Diamonds” of VA-146. Flying the A-4C “Skyhawk,” he flew 179 combat missions from the decks of USS Ranger and USS Constellation before being downed by enemy gunfire on June 30, 1967, over North Vietnam.
Destined to wait out the Vietnam War as a Prisoner of War for nearly six years, Captain McGrath participated in communication and organization efforts to resist enemy exploitation. His experiences have been chronicled and illustrated in his book, Prisoner of War—Six Years in Hanoi. The book is still in print after 47 years. It is available on Amazon.com.
Captain McGrath’s military awards include: The Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Medals with Combat “V,” two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars with Combat “V,” 17 Strike/Flight Air Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals with Combat “V,” two Purple Hearts and the Prisoner of War Medal. Civil awards include his election to the Colorado chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Mike was the recipient of the 2003 Medal of Courage award.
Upon repatriation in Feb-Mar 1973, the surviving 662 Vietnam POWs organized as NAM-POWs, Inc., a 501c (19) fraternal organization. Mike has served as President for two terms. He currently serves as the organization’s Historian. He has donated all his POW memorabilia to military museums with an eye toward presenting an accurate history of the American POW saga within the walls of the Hanoi Hilton.
Mike had teamed with Shai Mael to both collect Vietnam POW books for a future donation to the USAFA Library, but also to make available this listing of all known books which are available to the public. Most of the titles are available from Amazon. Future historians and researchers will find the listing to be invaluable.
Vietnam POW Researcher
Shai Mael grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Israel in 2003. He joined the Israel Defense Forces where he served two years active duty in the 51st Golani Combat Infantry Brigade and then another 18 years in the Infantry Reserves.
He has been researching the US POW experience during the Vietnam War for the better part of a decade and continues to be interested in accurately preserving information and facts about the experience for future generations of researchers.
Shai’s grandfather, 1st Lt. Riesenberg was a decorated B-25 Navigator during the Second World War, who flew dozens of missions in the Japanese theater during 1943 – 1945. His crew was credited with downing two Japanese aircraft during one of their missions.
Shai currently lives in Israel and works for a Cyber Security Company in Tel Aviv.