Daughter Loses Hope In Remains Search

A child photo of Tara O’Grady

Tara O’Grady has been waiting 47 years for her father to come home from Vietnam and now her vigil is over.

It ended last summer when she was informed by the Pentagon’s Department of Missing Persons that the remains of her father, U.S. Air Force Colonel John O’Grady, were not found in a site in Vietnam believed to contain them.
“A lot of my hopes were dashed. I put so much effort into this. I was crushed. I really thought they were going to find them,” O’Grady said in a recent phone interview from her Las Vegas home.

O’Grady maintained a campaign since 2012 to bring home the remains of her father, who grew up in New Hyde Park, that includes a website and a Facebook page. She also sent a petition with 100,000 signatures to the White House.

Her family was notified in 1967 that her 37-year-old dad had been shot down over Vietnam, but had parachuted from his disabled jet. The missing pilot’s family awaited further word about his fate until the Air Force declared him dead in 1977, offering no details.

John O’Grady
John O’Grady

Then in 2011, two former North Vietnamese soldiers told representatives of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, volunteers who attempt to account for all U.S. military missing in action, that they captured O’Grady after his plane crashed.

He was entangled in a tree in his parachute, with a broken leg and a small scalp wound. They tried to bring the dehydrated O’Grady to a field hospital by stretcher but he died in transit and they respectfully buried his remains.

Tara said one soldier recalled how O’Grady clung to a photo of his wife and family.
Attempts to excavate the site were interrupted in 2012, but when the effort was resumed around Memorial Day this year, no remains were found. Tara said she subsequently learned about the unsuccessful result when she contacted the Department of Missing Persons.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” she said. “I was hoping for a resolution. I don’t hold out much hope of them finding my father now.”

Now she has set up a website to raise funds for a trip with her two adult children to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. at gofundme.com/coloneljohnogrady.

“My new goal is to get to the Wall next May,” she said.
O’Grady is seeking to erect a memorial plaque for Col. John O’Grady in Las Vegas, where he lived with his family before going to Vietnam.
“It’s a situation that never provides resolution,” she said.

Richard Tedesco
Richard Tedesco is a reporter for Anton Media Group.


  1. Tara, this is sad news. Many vets were pulling for a successful outcome in finding his remains so your family could have proper closure. Hope he is up above watching over you, RIP Colonel John O’Grady A Lost hero

  2. This woman has been on here before asking for donations, Be careful, I believe her pleas are selfish, my brother has been Missing in Action since 1968, I am very much aware of what it takes to try and bring him home, been doing it for over 25 years!!! If you want to know her story, Google Patty O’Grady’ s search for her father, she actually wrote a book about her witnessing the retrieval of her father’s remains. Every year the DOD pays airfare for families to be briefed. I have tried to call her but she evasive. I formed a non-profit organization to help with my efforts, I have the backing of my state senior senators and congressmen; every day I pray my efforts will bring him home and every day I get closer. Tara ‘ s sister knows the struggle and did the work. Just remember when you donate to a “Go Fund Me ” account, it is a FOR PROFIT account. This story was run a few months ago and now it pops up again, I caution you………..

  3. Tara it is sad news what you had to endure for so many years I can’t say I know your pain cause no one does.I pray and ty your dad for his service I can only hope and pray that you make it to the great wall with God all things are possible,I know it is a scarey situation my son is in the service and it breaks my heart and so scary to think where they will send him next.I pray for you and your two oldest to have your wish come true.and for your dad Mr.John O’Grady may you rest in peace and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for me,my,family, and your family and the next generations,you and your family are in my prayers Tara.

  4. Tara I want to extend my sympathies. My father served in Vietnam in 68. I remember watching the T.V. and scared if something should happen to him. I also wore a bracelet for the POW/MIA. They came home. It would be a great thing for you to go to Washington, D.C. and go to the wall. I also like to suggest working with Veterans and families in tribute to your father’s bravery. He is so proud of all that you have done. RIP Colonel John O’Grady A Hero for our country.

  5. To Terri Francisco. I don’t know you I have never spoken to you Ever. You do not know me or any of my family and have no knowledge of my dad’s story. Everything you said In your comment is a fabrication. Please Stop yoyr slanderous comments.

  6. Dear Ms Francisco
    I do not know who you spoke to but it was NOT me. My efforts to get my father’s remains home are my business NOT ypurs. You do not know what you are talking about!!#!

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