Date of Birth: 11/08/1921
High School: Northeast Catholic High School
Branch of Service: Army
Date of Casualty: 02/17/1968
Province of Casualty: Thua Thien
Philadelphia Memorial Panel: Panel 20
Panel Row: 2
Click on the memorial panel below for a printable photo of the serviceman on this page.
The 46-year-old Roman Catholic priest, the sixth of 12 children, grew up in Tacony and was one of seven men from the neighborhood to die in Vietnam. Six of the seven, Including McGonigal, attended St. Leo's Elementary School at Keystone and Unruh streets. McGonigal enjoyed studying foreign languages and loved music and sports, especially tennis, baseball and basketball. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School and received degrees from Woodstock (Md.) College and Fordham University in New York City. He was attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., when he was called into the Army Chaplain Corps. The major was assigned to units in Korea in 1962-63, and shipped out to Vietnam in December 1966 where he was first assigned to the 1st infantry Brigade of the 9th infantry Division, and later to Headquarters U.S. Army Vietnam. He had a comfortable desk job at the USARV compound in Saigon, but seldom was there because of his devotion to the men in the field. McGonigal was killed on Feb. 17, 1968 during the Battle of Hue in Thua Thien Province. He administered the last rites to dying soldiers and comforted the wounded through three days of intense fighting near Hue Citadel before being fatally wounded. McGonigal was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Survivors included several brothers and sisters.