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).

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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World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Start Year
1945
End Year
1945

Description
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
From Year
1945
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
Mar 23, 2009
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  785 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)
  • Baker, Cecil, Cox, (1941-1946)
  • 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)
  • Breaux, Calvin, SN, (1944-1946)
  • Brennan, James, PO3, (1942-1946)
  • Brewster, Donald, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Brooks, Cecil, S1c, (1944-1946)
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