McCandless, Bruce, Sr., RADM

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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
000X-Unknown Navy Officer Classification/ Designator
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1950-1952, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
Service Years
1928 - 1952
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

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Home State
District Of Columbia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael Kohan (Mikey), ATCS to remember McCandless, Bruce, Sr. (MOH), RADM USN(Ret).

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Contact Info
Home Town
Washington, DC
Last Address
Washington, DC

Date of Passing
Jan 24, 1968
Location of Interment
United States Naval Academy Cemetery - Annapolis, Maryland
Wall/Plot Coordinates
New Section 7; Plot 1179

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Last Known Activity

Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless was born 12 August 1911 at Washington D.C., the son of then Lieutenant (later Commodore) Byron McCandless, USN. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1932, served with Scouting Squadron 11-S in cruiser INDIANAPOLIS, and in destroyer CASE.

Upon completion of a General Line course at Annapolis, 1938-1939, he became Communications Officer of cruiser SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38). He was serving in that famed cruiser at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese made their infamous raid. Then a Lieutenant Commander, McCandless continued to serve in SAN FRANCISCO as she helped protect fast carrier task groups guarding reinforcements to the Samoan Islands, conducting raids at New Guinea, and giving direct support to the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings in the Solomons. His ship fought to victory in the Battle of Cape Esperance to spare Marines on Guadalcanal from a fierce naval bombardment, then endured a savage action to repel enemy aircraft attacking transports off Guadalcanal. The flagship of a cruiser-destroyer task group under Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan, SAN FRANCISCO led the formation the night of 13-14 November 1942 to intercept a Japanese raiding force of 2 battleships, 1 light cruiser and 14 destroyers steaming south with orders to bombard and knock out the Henderson Field in Guadalcanal. Well-aimed salvos found their mark on both Japanese battleships before SAN FRANCISCO came under fire from three directions and was so damaged that she temporarily lost power and steering control. As she slowed from 17 knots, enemy shells exploded on the navigating bridge and flag-bridge killing Rear Admiral Callaghan and all but one of his staff. Lieutenant Commander Bruce McCandless found himself the senior officer on the bridge and took command to continue to fight to the finish. His cruiser was caught between two columns of enemy ships, sustaining 45 separate hits by heavy shells and countless fragment and machine gun hits. Though he was seriously wounded, Lieutenant Commander McCandless boldy continued to direct gunfire at the enemy on every side and led the task group to victory. When the desperate sea fight ended, 3 enemy destroyers were damaged, two sunk, and the rudderless battleship HIEI so damaged that aircraft were able to sink her the next day. Henderson Field was again saved from bombardment. Air operations from that field on the next day disposed of 11 troop-laden enemy transports. Despite the serious damage and great loss of life on board, SAN FRANCISCO lived to fight again. Her temporary commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Bruce McCandless was awarded the Medal of Honor for his supreme courage and superb leadership that resulted in victory in the face of overwhelming odds in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (12-13 November 1942). He was also given a meritorious promotion to the rank of Commander in recognition of this achievement. Commander McCandless remained in SAN FRANCISCO as she helped drive the enemy from the Aleutians and assisted in the capture and occupation of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. Detached from the cruiser 8 March 1944, he took command of destroyer GREGORY which supported the capture of Iwo Jima and shot down 6 enemy aircraft during combat operation off Okinawa. Commander McCandless was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry while commanding GREGORY off Okinawa 1-8 April 1945. His ship provided anti-aircraft protection to ships in the transport area and served on radar picket stations during this period. On 8 April 1945, four enemy suicide planes attacked. Two were destroyed and a third driven off but a fourth crashed into his ship. Commander McCandless skillfully directed his men to quickly control damage so that his destroyer was able to drive off further attacks and return to port. GREGORY was routed to San Diego where her crushed and torn hull was repaired under the direction of the father of the commanding officer, Commodore Byron McCandless. 
Commander Bruce McCandless was detached from GREGORY in October 1945.

He served as Assistant Chief of Staff for the Naval Operating Base at Terminal Island, California, until October 1946. After heading the District Affairs Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, he commanded Mine Division Two. In June 1950 he was ordered to the Naval Academy for duty in the Executive Department.

Having been promoted to the rank of Captain, he transferred to the Retired List 1 September 1952 and advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards. He was the father of Naval Aviator and NASA Astronaut Bruce McCandless II. He died at Washington, D.C., on 24 January 1968 and is buried at the United States Naval Academy.
Other Comments:

Medal of Honor
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S.
San Francisco (CA-38)
Citation: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Commander Bruce McCandless (NSN: 0-71628), United States Navy-

"for conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service above and beyond the call of duty as Communication Officer of the U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO in combat with enemy Japanese forces in the battle off Savo Island, 12 & 13 November 1942. In the midst of a violent night engagement, the fire of a determined and desperate enemy seriously wounded Lieutenant Commander McCandless and rendered him unconscious, killed or wounded the admiral in command, his staff, the Captain of the ship, the navigator, and all other personnel on the navigating and signal bridges. Faced with the lack of superior command upon his recovery, and displaying superb initiative, he promptly assumed command of the ship and ordered her course and gunfire against an overwhelmingly powerful force. With his superiors in other vessels unaware of the loss of their admiral, and challenged by his great responsibility, Lieutenant Commander McCandless boldly continued to engage the enemy and to lead our column of following vessels to a great victory. Largely through his brilliant seamanship and great courage, the
San Francisco was brought back to port, saved to fight again in the service of her country."

 Tributes from Members  
From Rosemary McCandless posted by Short, Diane (TWS Admin) (Ruth, Harding), SA 5464 
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 Duty Stations
USS Indianapolis (CA-35)US NavyUSS Gregory (DD-802)CNO - OPNAV
Mine Force Pacific Fleet (MINEPAC)US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1932-1936, USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
  1936-1936, Boston Navy Yard
  1936-1938, USS Case (DD-370)
  1939-1944, USS San Francisco (CA-38)
  1944-1945, USS Gregory (DD-802)
  1945-1946, NAB San Pedro, CA
  1946-1948, CNO - OPNAV
  1948-1950, Mine Force Pacific Fleet (MINEPAC)
  1950-1952, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Eastern Solomons
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings/Battle of Savo Island
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Cape Esperance (Second Savo)
  1943-1943 Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)/Invasion & Occupation of Attu
  1943-1943 Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)/Invasion & Occupation on Kiska
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Majuro (Operation Flintlock)
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Saipan
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Tinian
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Guam
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyUnited States Naval Academy
  1928-1932, United States Naval Academy
  1938-1939, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  USS McCandless (FF-1084)1
  Jun 02, 1932, Commissioned as Ensign
  Jun 02, 1935, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Nov 01, 1939, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Jun 15, 1942, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Nov 18, 1942, Promoted to Commander
  Apr 24, 2019, General Photos
 Military Association Memberships
WW II Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
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