Building at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo recently named in Crotty’s honor
As the U.S. Coast Guard celebrates its 232nd birthday, Congressman Brian Higgins is paying tribute to Lt. Thomas James “Jimmy” Eugene Crotty. The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Building was recently renamed to honor Crotty.
“Lt. Jimmy Crotty was a kid from the neighborhood who became a national hero,” Higgins said. “While no single gesture can compare to the magnitude of his sacrifice and valor, the dedication of this building will ensure Lt. Crotty’s legacy is remembered, celebrated, and will live on indefinitely.”
Crotty was born March 18, 1912, to Patrick and Helen Crotty. The Crotty family lived on Milford Street in South Buffalo.
As a young boy, Higgins was the family’s paper boy.
Crotty attended St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School and South Park High School. An all-around athlete and scholar, Crotty managed and coached Buffalo's 1929 American Legion Junior National Baseball Championship team. He was class president during his time at the Coast Guard Academy. (See Crotty Coast Guard Bio.)
Crotty enlisted in the Coast Guard Academy in 1930 and went on to lead within its ranks. He served as an explosives expert and an executive officer of the USS Quail, which withstood constant combat from Japan forces.
On May 6, 1942, Crotty was captured by the Japanese and “force marched” approximately 50 miles and then held prisoner in Camp Cabanatuan on the Philippine Islands. He died, as a prisoner of war, of diphtheria at the prison camp in September of 1942. Crotty was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, the Philippines Defense Medal, the Purple Heart, and several other medals and awards.
Over the last decade, the congressman worked with the family and the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate an official transfer of Crotty’s remains back to the U.S. and to pursue proper recognition of the decorated war hero.
The U.S. Coast Guard was founded Aug. 4, 1790. Sector Buffalo is located on the Buffalo Outer Harbor adjacent to the historic 1833 Buffalo Lighthouse. The men and women who serve in Sector Buffalo oversee 570 miles of shoreline along the eastern Great Lakes.