Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Tags
Related Content
Sources

Adapted from "Admiral Charles B. Mcvay, Jr., USN, Deceased," [biography, dated 25 January 1952] in Modern Officer Biographies Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command Archives, Washington Navy Yard.

Topic
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials

Charles Butler McVay, Jr. 

19 September 1868-28 October 1949 

Captain Charles V. McVay Jr., USN circa 1916-1917 (NH 47810)
Captain Charles V. McVay Jr., USN circa 1916-1917 (NH 47810)
Admiral McVay, CinC Asiatic Fleet aboard his flagship USS Houston (CA 30), 1931. (NHHC Photo Collection 85115)
Admiral McVay, CinC Asiatic Fleet aboard his flagship USS Houston (CA 30), 1931. (NHHC Photo Collection 85115)

Admiral Charles Butler McVay, Jr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1890.  During the Spanish American War he served as an officer on USS Amphitrite (Monitor No. 2), participating in the blockade of Cuba and bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico.   McVay was the navigator of the flagship USS Alabama (Battleship No. 8) during the 1907-1909 world cruise of the Great White Fleet.  Before the United States entered World War I, McVay served as Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, DC.  Through American involvement in WWI McVay commanded USS New Jersey (Battleship No. 16) and USS Oklahoma (Battleship No. 37), which stood ready to oppose German cruisers from Bantry Bay, Ireland.  Following the war, he commanded the four destroyer escort that returned President Woodrow Wilson safely home from the Versailles Peace Treaty meetings.  McVay served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard and Superintendent of the Naval Gun Factory in 1920 until becoming Chief of the Naval Bureau of Ordnance.  While Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, McVay oversaw many technological advancements such as modern fire control systems on ships, launching of airplanes from ships, and launching of torpedoes from airplanes.  From 1923 to 1925, McVay commanded all men-of-war in the Yangtze River Patrol.  Between 1929 and 1931 he was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.  McVay retired in 1932, but served as a member of the Navy’s General Board.  He died in 1949 and is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.  McVay’s son, Rear Admiral Charles B. McVay III, captained USS Indianapolis (CA-35) during her fatal final voyage in July 1945.

Full Biography [Original .pdf] [Transcription]

Published: Tue Oct 11 09:06:54 EDT 2016