PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless, USN (Retired), (1911-1968)

Bruce McCandless was born on 12 August 1911 in Washington, D.C. Appointed to the Naval Academy from Colorado, he was commissioned an Ensign after graduation in June 1932. For his first duty, he reported to USS Louisville, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade in June 1935 and served as an Aircraft Gunnery Observer with Scouting Squadron Eleven-S (VS-11S). Remaining at sea, in 1936-1938 he was assigned to USS Indianapolis and USS Case (DD-370). After completing instruction at the Post Graduate School at Annapolis in September 1939, he received orders to USS San Francisco, where he was promoted a month later to Lieutenant. McCandless was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in June 1942, a half-year after the United States entered World War II. A few months later his ship supported the Guadalcanal-Tulagi Invasion, beginning her close association with the long and bloody campaign to secure Guadalcanal.

San Francisco was Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan's flagship duriing the first phases of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. In the furious night action on 13 November 1942, the ship was repeatedly hit by Japanese gunfire, killing her Commanding Officer, Captain Cassin Young, Rear Admiral Callaghan, and most of the others on the bridge. McCandless, though wounded, took over control of the badly damaged cruiser. Working in association with Commander Herbert E. Schonland, he saw her through the remainder of the battle and took her to safety. For his "conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service" on this occasion, McCandless was awarded the Medal of Honor. Soon after the battle, he was promoted to Commander.

In July 1944, McCandless placed USS Gregory (DD-802) in commission, commanding her during the February-March 1945 Iwo Jima Operation and the subsequent invasion of Okinawa, during which she was badly damaged by a suicide plane on 8 April. That October he reported for staff duty with Commander, Naval Operating Base, Terminal Island, California. In November 1946, he relocated to Washington, D.C. and served at the Naval District Affairs Division at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. Returning to sea in May 1949, McCandless commanded Mine Division Two, flying his pennant on USS Shannon. In June 1950, he was assigned to the Executive Department at the U.S. Naval Academy and was promoted to Captain in January 1951. After a period of hospitalization, in September 1952, he left active duty and, in recognition of his distinguished combat service, was made a Rear Admiral on the retired list. Bruce McCandless died on 24 January 1968 and is buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.

USS McCandless (DE-1084, later FF-1084), 1972-1994, was named in honor of Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless and his father, Commodore Byron McCandless, USN.

This page features all the images we have concerning Bruce McCandless.

Photo #: NH 106306

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 224.
Bruce McCandless was awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service" while serving as the Communication Officer on board USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 12-13 November 1942.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 46KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-40013

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


Reading the 30 November 1942 issue of Time magazine, which featured Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. on its cover.
Photographed while McCandless' ship, USS San Francisco (CA-38), was returning to the United States for repair of damage received during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in that battle.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 60KB; 580 x 765 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-40031

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN,
(center)
(Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas)

On board USS San Francisco (CA-38) to visit the two senior ship's officers who had survived the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 12-13 November 1942. Photographed at Pearl Harbor, while San Francisco was en route to California for battle damage repairs.
On the left is Commander Herbert E. Schonland, USN, who assumed command after the ship's Captain was killed and led damage control efforts.
On the right is Lieutenant Commander Bruce McCandless, USN, the ship's Communications Officer, who took over the conn and subsequently navigated San Francisco to safety.
Both Schonland and McCandless received the Medal of Honor for their actions during and immediately after the battle.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 61KB; 740 x 585 pixels

Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-31578

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


Receives the Medal of Honor from Admiral Ernest J. King, USN, (Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet), in ceremonies on board USS San Francisco (CA-38), 12 December 1942.
McCandless was awarded the medal for "conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service" during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 12-13 November 1942.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 40KB; 740 x 585 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-31580

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


Receives the Medal of Honor from Admiral Ernest J. King, USN, (Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet), in ceremonies on board USS San Francisco (CA-38), 12 December 1942.
McCandless was awarded the medal for "conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service" during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 12-13 November 1942.
Note the photographers at left. Part of the ship beyond them has been obscured by wartime censors.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 77KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 106307

Commander Herbert E. Schonland, USN
(left)
and
Commander Bruce McCandless, USN,

Photographed circa December 1942, after their ship, USS San Francisco (CA-38), returned to the United States from the Pacific war zone.
They were the ship's senior surviving officers when San Francisco was badly damaged in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 12-13 November 1942. Both were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroism during and immediately following that action, in which McCandless conned the ship after her Captain and other senior officers were killed, while Schonland directed damage control efforts.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Navy History and Heritage Command

Online Image: 39KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-40247

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN
(right)

With an unidentified officer on board USS San Francisco (CA-38), probably upon her return to the United States from the Pacific war zone in December 1942.
Note the shell splinter damage to the ship's hangar door, in the background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 61KB; 640 x 765 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 106308

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


Reads a statement on board USS San Francisco (CA-38), probably in December 1942 after her return to the U.S.
His mother, Mrs. Byron McCandless, is in the background, second from the left.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Navy History and Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 34KB; 740 x 585 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 106309

Commander Bruce McCandless, USN


On board USS San Francisco (CA-38), probably in December 1942 after her return to the United States from the Pacific war zone.
The woman present may be his wife.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Navy History and Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 35KB; 740 x 585 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75617-KN (Color)

Commodore Bryon McCandless, USN (left),
and his son,
Commander Bruce McCandless, USN
(who retired as a Rear Admiral)

Oil on canvas by Z. Werneman, 1972.
This artwork was commissioned by The National Aeronautics and Space Administration for presentation to USS McCandless (DE-1084) in honor of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II.
It was displayed in the Wardroom of USS McCandless, which is also seen in the painting. The ship was named in honor of Commodore Byron McCandless and Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless.

Courtesy of NASA, Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas.

U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 41KB; 740 x 535 pixels

 


Medal of Honor citation of Commander Bruce McCandless, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 224):

"For conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally distinguished service above and beyond the call of duty as Communication Officer of the U.S.S. San Francisco in combat with enemy Japanese forces in the Battle off Savo Island, 12-13 November 1942. In the midst of a violent night engagement, the fire of a determined and desperate enemy seriously wounded Lieutenant Commander McCandless and rendered him unconscious, killed, or wounded the Admiral in Command, his Staff, the Captain of the ship, the Navigator and all other personnel on the Navigating and Signal Bridges. Faced with the lack of superior command upon his recovery, and displaying superb initiative, he promptly assumed command of the ship and ordered her course and gunfire against an overwhelmingly powerful force. With his superiors in other vessels unaware of the loss of their Admiral, and challenged by his great responsibility, Lieutenant Commander McCandless boldly continued to engage the enemy and to lead our column of following vessels to a great victory. Largely through his brilliant seamanship and great courage, the San Francisco was brought back to port, saved to fight again in the service of her country."


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.





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