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First Name: Kathleen

Last Name: McGrath

Birthplace: Columbus, OH, USA

Gender: Female

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Anne

Date of Birth: 04 June 1952

Date of Death: 26 September 2002

Rank or Rate: Captain

Years Served:
Kathleen Anne McGrath

•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Kathleen Anne "Kathy" McGrath
Captain, U.S. Navy

Kathleen Anne McGrath was born on 4 June 1952 in Columbus, OH, into a military family.

In 1975 she graduated from the California State University in Sacramento, CA, where she received a BS degree in Environmental Science. After graduating, she worked for the U.S. Forestry Service until 1980 when she decided to follow in her father's footsteps, and entered the U.S. Air Force.

That same year, she was commissioned in the U.S. Navy after Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. In 1983, McGrath began a tour of duty on the USS Prairie in the Western Pacific, became Operations Officer on board the USS Cape Cod in 1987, and served on the USS Concord in 1989, also as an Operations Officer, and later in Operation Desert Shield.

In 1987 she received her MA in Educational Management from Stanford University in Stanford, CT. In 1990 she took part in the operation intended to protest Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait, and served as Chief Staff Officer on the Destroyer Squadron Seven, deployed in the Western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf, as part of the Constellation Battle Group.

In 1993 and 1994 she commanded the rescue and salvage ship, the USS Recovery. In 1998, McGrath became the first woman commander of a U.S. warship when she commanded the USS Jarrett, a 453-foot warship with a 262 member crew, which during a six-month long mission to the Persian Gulf looked for ships smuggling Iraqi oil that was in violation of United Nations sanctions. After her tour of duty on board the USS Jarrett, she served in the Joint Advanced Warfighting Unit in Alexandria, VA.

McGrath was promoted to Captain in May 2002, but retired in August 2002 due to ill health.

Medals and Honors

Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal (4 Awards)


Surface Warfare Officer


She received the California State University, Sacramento, CA, Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Death and Burial

Captain Kathleen A. McGrath died on 26 September 2002, at the age of 50, from the effects of lung cancer. She is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2833   Created by: MHOH




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