McKay, Robert Neil, LTJG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Service Branch
Supply Corps
Last Primary NEC
651X-Limited Duty Officer - Supply Corps
Last Rating/NEC Group
Limited Duty Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 651X, USS Aaron Ward (DM-34)
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Supply Corps
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember McKay, Robert Neil, LTJG.

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.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Los Angeles
Last Address
Los Angeles

Casualty Date
May 03, 1945
Hostile, Died
Artillery, Rocket, Mortar
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

LT (jg) Robert McKay "The only Supply Corps Officer to be awarded the Silver Star"


From the time we enter the Navy, it is stressed that we are Naval Officers first.  The Supply Corps' guiding principles state "We are first and foremost Naval Officers, integral members of the warfighting team focused on mission accomplishment."




Robert McKay

Lieutenant (jg), Supply Officer

Bob was killed in action.

"Bob, our Supply Officer, was killed in action; the only officer we lost on 3 May 1945. He was brilliant, friendly, helpful, well liked, and well respected. Bob suffered terribly with chronic seasickness when at sea. This was aggravated by the fact that he stood watches in the coding shack--a tiny closet-like space without fresh air. He refused to be relieved of this duty and was determined to stick it out. Because of his chronic condition, he finally consented to be transferred to shore duty at the first opportunity, an opportunity that never came.

After being discharged from active duty and returning home to San Diego, I always made an effort to contact family of those lost in action. George Hansell, Chief Yeoman, now had duty in San Diego, and we were in touch. Bob McKay was survived by his mother, a brother and sister. We managed to contact Bob’s mother, Lucille, and became well-acquainted with her through several visits to her home in Hollywood. Through these visits we learned that Bob had been Student Body President while attending the University of Southern California (USC) and was also elected President of the National Association of Student Body Presidents. Aboard ship, he was quiet and unassuming. Most had no idea of his accomplishments. His mother (she said we should call her “Mom”) was devastated over his loss and never really recovered. Bob’s father had been a loyal caretaker for Mary Pickford for many years and when he died, there was little for Mom McKay to live on. Mom always thought Ms. Pickford could and should have done more. Bob’s brother was a cameraman for one of the Hollywood movie studios. On one trip to see Mom, we attended the dedication of a cenotaph bearing the name of Robert Neil McKay. This was in a huge Hollywood cemetery. It was tough on Mom McKay. I wish I could remember the name of the cemetery. To the best of my recollection, Mom McKay passed away in the late 40s, a heartbroken woman."   –W. Fowers




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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
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The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg. was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 mi (550 km) away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland (coded Operation Downfall). Four divisions of the U.S. 10th Army (the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th) and two Marine Divisions (the 1st and 6th) fought on the island. Their invasion was supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.

The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of kamikaze attacks from the Japanese defenders, and to the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle resulted in the highest number of casualties in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Based on Okinawan government sources, mainland Japan lost 77,166 soldiers, who were either killed or committed suicide, and the Allies suffered 14,009 deaths (with an estimated total of more than 65,000 casualties of all kinds). Simultaneously, 42,000–150,000 local civilians were killed or committed suicide, a significant proportion of the local population. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki together with the Soviet invasion of Manchuria caused Japan to surrender less than two months after the end of the fighting on Okinawa.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
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To Year
Last Updated:
Nov 2, 2014
Personal Memories

The Mine Flotilla, of which Aaron Ward was a unit, arrived off Okinawa late on 22 March. The following day, the destroyer minelayer got her first glimpse of the enemy when some of his planes approached the sweep group but did not attack. More came in later, but the combined gunfire of the group dissuaded them from approaching close enough to harm the American ships. The first actual air raid occurred on the 26th, and Adams knocked the intruder out of the sky.

Aaron Ward supported minesweeping operations around Kerama Retto and Okinawa until the time of the first landings. During that period, she accounted for three enemy aircraft. On 1 April, the day of the initial assault on Okinawa, the destroyer minelayer began screening the heavy warships providing gunfire support for the troops ashore. T hat duty lasted until 4 April when she departed the Ryūkyūs and headed for the Marianas. She arrived at Saipan on the 10 April but shifted to Guam later that day. After several days of minor repairs, Aaron Ward headed back to Okinawa to patrol in the area around Kerama Retto. During that patrol period, she came under frequent air attack. On the 27 April, she shot down one enemy plane, and the next day, accounted for one more and claimed a probable kill in addition. Then she returned to Kerama Retto to replenish her provisions and fuel. While she was there, a kamikaze scored a hit on Pinkney. Aaron Ward moved alongside the stricken evacuation transport to help fight the inferno blazing amidships. While so engaged, she also rescued 12 survivors from Pinkney.

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  875 Also There at This Battle:
  • Abbott, Earl James, Cox, (1943-1946)
  • Adams, Richard W, PO2, (1943-1947)
  • Albanesi, Thomas, PO1, (1943-1946)
  • Bagby, Henry Lawton, CAPT, (1941-1970)
  • Baldwin, Robert B., VADM, (1941-1980)
  • Barr, John Andrew, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Baylor, Warner, LCDR, (1942-1963)
  • Beam, Joe, MCPO, (1941-2004)
  • Bell, Lloyd, PO3, (1942-1948)
  • Bibb, James, PO2, (1942-1945)
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