Mckee, Byron, MM1c

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
99 kb
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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
MM-0000-Machinist's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Machinists Mate
Primary Unit
1948-1961, US Air Force (USAF)
Service Years
1939 - 1946
MM-Machinists Mate
One Hash Mark

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

17 kb

Home State
Iowa
Iowa
Year of Birth
1922
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Darwin (Mac) McKee, GMG3 to remember Mckee, Byron (Mac), PO1.

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
Not Specified
Last Address
Perry, Iowa
Byron & Marvel
1922-93 1924-96
Married 1944

Date of Passing
Dec 17, 1993
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms WW II Honorable Discharge Pin


 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback


 Military Association Memberships
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)
  1992, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
   
Other Comments:
Web site for the USS Colorado BB-45
www.usscolorado.org/index.htm

      
Navy USS Colorado BB 45
           1940 - 1946
  
       Army Air Force
         1946 -1948

              USAF 
        1948- 1961

In  1940, Byron left his parents and the small coal mining town of Carbon, Iowa to join the Navy. Mac, who speaks of his dad very lovingly, said of his father's service:?Dad joined the Navy in very early 1940. Typical story of a farm boy seeking adventure somewhere besides walking behind a team of plow horses.?

Byron attended Naval Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., and reported aboard the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) as a Machinist Mate. By the summer of 1941, Colorado returned from the Pacific, headed for the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton for a shipyard overhaul, for what the entire crew knew to be an impending war. After the overhaul was complete, Colorado and her crew got underway, headed toward Pearl Harbor. But the battleship turned-back for Bremerton shortly after departure when it suffered a major engineering problem.

While repairs were being made to Colorado, Byron took leave and returned home to Iowa. He had been home for three days when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. When Byron learned of the attack, he made his way back to the Colorado with three of his shipmates, driving three days non-stop.

Repairs were completed in 1942, and Colorado got underway and into the war waging in the Pacific. Byron saw action during the battles of Tarawa, Guam, Leyte Gulf, Mindoro, and the invasion of Okinawa. USS Colorado played a major role in the Pacific campaign through the rest of the war.

Byron was still stationed aboard Colorado when World War II ended, but not before the McKee family suffered a great personal loss.

Byron's brother, Willard, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on April 27, 1945, two weeks before the surrender of Germany. The oldest of the six McKee siblings, and only 25 at the time of his death. Willard is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France and was awarded a Purple Heart.

In 1944, Byron married his high school sweetheart, Marvel Lola Davis. He served aboard USS Colorado until he left the Navy in 1946. That same year he and his wife welcomed a son, Darwin (Mac), and then joined the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). A year later, Byron would transition from Soldier to Airman and into America's newest military branch -- the United States Air Force. Again, Byron became a part of military history.

Mac remembers his father as a Sailor, though he retired from the Air Force as Master Sergeant (E7). He recalls his Dad heading the crash boats at Langley AFB, Va., and taking servicemen out on the weekend to fish. During his childhood, Mac had a front row seat to American history. He saw the Panama Canal while his dad was stationed at Howard AFB, he met all the original Mercury Program astronauts while Byron as stationed at Langley, and Mac even remembers Navy astronaut Scott Carpenter's son attending his brother's birthday party.

By the time Mac was a teenager, the country was again at conflict. He was also aware that his family's history had already been tied to the Country's when his father served on the USS Colorado.

He says of the ship's fate: "If the Colorado had not returned to Bremerton, she would have been sitting right where her sister ship (USS West Virginia) had been moored -- at Pearl Harbor. My very existence may have been tied to that shaft malfunction. If dad had been killed at Pearl, my brother, our kids, and grandkids wouldn't be here.? 

     
   
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Gilbert Islands Operation/Battle of Tarawa
Start Year
1943
End Year
1943

Description
The Battle of Tarawa (US code name Operation Galvanic) was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943. It took place at the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, located in what is now the nation of Kiribati. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio.

The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the war that the United States faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. Previous landings met little or no initial resistance. but this time the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well-prepared, and they fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The U.S. had suffered similar casualties in other campaigns, for example over the six months of the Guadalcanal Campaign, but in this case the losses were incurred within the space of 76 hours.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1943
To Year
1943
 
Last Updated:
Apr 21, 2007
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  120 Also There at This Battle:
  • BEHRMANN, LOUIS, CPO, (1941-1947)
  • Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945)
  • Dawson, William L., PO2, (1942-1945)
  • Freeman, Harold, CMC, (1943-1975)
  • Fuller, Leroy, PO1, (1941-1945)
  • Greer, Howard E., VADM, (1941-1978)
  • Lucas, Charles S., PO3, (1943-1946)
  • Lucas, Charles, PO3, (1942-1945)
  • Medaglia, Michael, S1c, (1942-1946)
  • Nichols, Monte, CPO, (1941-1947)
  • Seamster, Wilbur Lee, S2c, (1943-1946)
  • Smith, Bill, PO3, (1943-1945)
  • Soucy, Ronald, PO2, (1942-1945)
  • Streitenberger, Robert, PO2, (1942-1946)
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