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/Iwo Jima Operation
Start Year
1945
End Year
1945

Description
The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire. The American invasion had the goal of capturing the entire island, including its three airfields (including South Field and Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.

After the heavy losses incurred in the battle, the strategic value of the island became controversial. It was useless to the U.S. Army as a staging base and useless to the U.S. Navy as a fleet base. However, Navy SEABEES rebuilt the landing strips, which were used as emergency landing strips for USAAF B-29s. 

The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with a dense network of bunkers, hidden artillery positions, and 18 km (11 mi) of underground tunnels. The Americans on the ground were supported by extensive naval artillery and complete air supremacy over Iwo Jima from the beginning of the battle by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators.

Iwo Jima was the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the Japanese combat deaths were thrice those of the Americans throughout the battle. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. The majority of the remainder were killed in action, although it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards, eventually succumbing to their injuries or surrendering weeks later.

Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the Japanese defeat was assured from the start. Overwhelming American superiority in arms and numbers as well as complete control of air power — coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement — permitted no plausible circumstance in which the Americans could have lost the battle.

The battle was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag on top of the 166 m (545 ft) Mount Suribachi by five U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy battlefield Hospital Corpsman. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, both of which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. Rosenthal's photograph promptly became an indelible icon — of that battle, of that war in the Pacific, and of the Marine Corps itself — and has been widely reproduced.
 
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1945
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
Mar 30, 2007
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

VF-46 Men-O-War

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95)

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  340 Also There at This Battle:
  • Alseike, Leslie, PO3, (1944-1946)
  • Arenberg, Julius (Ted), LTJG, (1943-1946)
  • Bagby, Henry Lawton, CAPT, (1941-1970)
  • Baker, Cecil, Cox, (1941-1946)
  • Barr, John Andrew, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Baylor, Warner, LCDR, (1942-1963)
  • Bergin, Patrick
  • Block, Charles John, CPO, (1938-1945)
  • Brewster, Donald, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945)
  • Crookshank, Irvin, PO2, (1942-1946)
  • Crowell, Marshall Medford, F1c, (1943-1945)
  • Daiute, Carroll Paul, PO1, (1942-1945)
  • Dawson, William L., PO2, (1942-1945)
  • DeGeus, Robert, PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Deschenes, Roland Clarence, S1c, (1944-1946)
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