McVay, Charles Butler, III, RADM

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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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 

9 kb

Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1898
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael Kohan (Mikey), ATCS to remember McVay, Charles Butler, III, RADM USN(Ret).

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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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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Sinking of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
Start Year
1945
End Year
1945

Description
USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy, named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. The vessel served as the flagship for the commander of Scouting Force 1 for eight pre-war years, then as flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance, in 1943 and 1944, while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific in World War II. In 1945, the sinking of Indianapolis led to the greatest single loss of life at sea, from a single ship, in the history of the US Navy. The ship had just finished a high-speed trip to United States Army Air Force Base at Tinian to deliver parts of Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon ever used in combat, and was on her way to the Philippines on training duty. At 0015 on 30 July 1945 the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58, and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,195 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 316 survived. On 19 August 2017, a search team financed by Paul Allen located the wreckage of the sunken cruiser in the Philippine Sea lying at a depth of approximately 18,000 ft (5,500 m).
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1945
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
Mar 18, 2019
   
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