McVay, Charles Butler, III, RADM

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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1946-1949, 8th Naval District
Service Years
1916 - 1949
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael Kohan (Mikey), ATCS to remember McVay, Charles Butler, III, RADM USN(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Ephrata, PA
Last Address
Litchfield, CT

Date of Passing
Nov 06, 1968
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 RADM McVay is mostly known for his service as the Commanding Officer of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35). The USS Indianapolis received orders to carry parts and nuclear material to Tinian for use in the atomic bombs which were soon to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After delivering the top secret cargo, the ship was en route to report for further duty off Okinawa. Early in the morning of July 30, 1945, she was attacked by the Japanese submarine I-58 under Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto. Six torpedoes were launched and the Indianapolis was hit twice, the first removing over forty feet of her bow, the second hitting the starboard side at frame forty (below the bridge). The Indianapolis immediately took a fifteen degree list, capsized and sank within 12 minutes. Of the crew of 1,196 men, 879 men died.

Capt. McVay was court-martialed for failing to zigzag. The conviction effectively ended McVay's career as he lost seniority, although the sentence was overturned by Secretary James Forrestal owing to McVay's bravery prior to the sinking, and McVay was finally promoted to rear admiral when he retired from the navy in 1949.

He served 29 years. McVay took his own life by shooting himself with his service pistol at his home in
Litchfield, Connecticut, holding in his hand a toy sailor he had received as a boy for a good luck charm.

In October 2000, the United States Congress passed a resolution that McVay's record should reflect that "he is exonerated for the loss of the USS Indianapolis." In July 2001, Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England ordered McVay's official Navy record purged of all wrongdoing.

Final disposition - Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: ashes scattered at Bayou Liberty near
Slidell, LA.
Other Comments:

McVay's ship, but not McVay himself, is mentioned in the 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws, in which the character of Quint is portrayed as a survivor of the incident.

In 1978, the events surrounding McVay's court-martial were dramatized in The Failure to ZigZag by playwright John B. Ferzacca. The 1991 made-for-television movie
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis depicts the ordeal of the men of the Indianapolis during her last voyage (with McVay portrayed by Stacy Keach), as does the 2016 film USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (with McVay portrayed by Nicolas Cage). Also in 2016, USS Indianapolis: The Legacy was released. It is an in-depth film where the survivors tell the story of what really happened and they speak about the aftermath of the tragic event.
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  1944-1945, USS Indianapolis (CA-35)


From Month/Year
November / 1944

To Month/Year
July / 1945

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Unit Page


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 USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Details

USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Displacement 9,950 Tons, Dimensions, 610' 3" (oa) x 66' 1" x 24' (Max)
Armament 9 x 8"/55, 8 x 5"/25, 8 x 0.5" 4 Aircraft.
Armor, 5" Belt, 2 1/2 Turrets, 2 1/2" Deck, 1 1/4 Conning Tower.
Machinery, 107,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 32.7 Knots, Crew 621.
Operational and Building Data
Keel laid on 31 MAR 1930 at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ
Launched 07 NOV 1931
Commissioned 15 NOV 1932
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk 30 JUL 1945 by Japanese submarine I-58


USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy. She was named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana.

She was the flagship of Admiral Raymond Spruance while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific. Her sinking led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. On 30 July 1945, after delivering parts for Little Boy, the first atomic bomb used in combat, to the United States air base at Tinian, the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58, sinking in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.

The remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived.


Rank Name Date
Captain John M. Smeallie 15 November 1932 — 10 December 1934
Captain William S. McClintic 10 December 1934 — 16 March 1936
Captain Henry Kent Hewitt 16 March 1936 – 5 June 1937
Captain Thomas C. Kinkaid 5 June 1937 – 1 July 1938
Captain John F. Shafroth, Jr. 1 July 1938 – 1 October 1941
Captain Edward Hanson 1 October 1941 – 11 July 1942
Captain Morton L. Deyo 11 July 1942 – 12 January 1943
Captain Nicholas Vytlacil 12 January 1943 – 30 July 1943
Captain Einar R. Johnson 30 July 1943 – 18 November 1944
Captain Charles B. McVay III 18 November 1944 – 30 July 1945

Surface Vessels


Parent Unit
Surface Vessels USS I-K

Heavy Cruiser

Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2019
My Photos For This Duty Station
USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
41 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Conway, Thomas Michael, LT, (1942-1945) OFF 410X Lieutenant
Crouch, Edwin Mason, CAPT, (1917-1945) OFF Captain
Haynes, Lewis Leavitt, CAPT, (1938-1965) OFF 210X Lieutenant Commander
Lion, Richard, LTJG, (1942-1947) Lieutenant Junior Grade
Rood, William, MCPO, (1942-1966) 00 00-0000 Master Chief Petty Officer
Hines, Lionel Gordon, PO1, (1942-1945) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer First Class
Anderson, Vincent Udell, PO1, (1938-1945) BM BM-0000 Boatswain's Mate 1st Class
Alvey, Edward Wuites, PO2, (1942-1945) AG Petty Officer Second Class
Becker, Myron Melvin, PO2, (1943-1945) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Figgins, Harley, PO2, (1942-1945) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Loyd, John, PO2, (1943-1945) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Wilcox, Lindsey Zeb, PO2, (1942-1946) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Labuda, Arthur Al, PO3, (1943-1945) QM QM-0000 Quartermaster 3rd Class
Acosta, Charles Mack, PO3, (1943-1945) MM MM-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Blackwell, Fermon Malachi, PO3, (1942-1945) SSM SSML-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Cairo, William George, PO3, (1942-1945) BG BUG-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945) SN SN-9700 Petty Officer Third Class
Cavitt, Clinton Columbus, PO3, (1943-1945) WT WT-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Evans, Claudus, PO3, (1942-1945) GMT GMT-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Smith, Harold Milton, PO2, (1942-1946) MM MM-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Albright, Charles Erskine, Cox, (1942-1945) COX COX-0000 Coxswain
Abbott, George Stanely, S1c, (1943-1945) 00 00-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Allen, Paul Franklin, S1c, (1943-1945) S1c S1c-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Kaplafka, George, S1c SN SN-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Lauder, James, S1c, (1944-1946) RD RD-0000 Seaman 1st Class
McDowell, Robert Earl, S1c, (1943-1945) S1c S1c-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Moreland, Tom, S1c, (1940-1945) 00 00-0000 Seaman 1st Class
McComb, Everett Albert, F1c, (1943-1945) F1c F1c-0000 Fireman 1st Class
Adorante, Dante William, S2c, (1944-1945) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
E'Golf, Harold Wesley, S2c, (1944-1945) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
Goff, Robert, SN, (1942-1946) GM GF-0000 Seaman Second Class
Haberman, Bernard, S2c, (1944-1945) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
Sharp, William Hafford, S2c, (1944-1946) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
Smith, James, S2c, (1943-1946) S2c S2c-0000 Seaman Second Class
Adams, Pat Leon, S2c, (1943-1945) Seaman Apprentice
Bennett, Dean Randall, HA2c, (1945-1945) HA HA-0000 Hospital Apprentice 2nd Class
Allmaras, Harold Dean, F2c, (1944-1945) F2c F2c-0000 Fireman 2nd Class
Antonie, Charles Jacob, F2c, (1945-1945) F2c F2c-0000 Fireman 2nd Class
Mabee, Kenneth Charles, F2c, (1944-1945) F2c F2c-0000 Fireman 2nd Class
Owensby, Clifford Cecil, F1c, (1944-1945) F2c F2c-0000 Fireman 2nd Class
Bowman, Charles Edward, TC1, (1939-1945) Chief Petty Officer

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