World War II Navy Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless misplaced most of his ship’s senior officers throughout intense fight throughout the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Instead of struggling, he stepped ahead to take command. His actions helped win the battle and earned him the Medal of Honor.
McCandless was born on August 12, 1911 within the District of Columbia to Byron and Velma McCandless. The youthful McCandless’s affinity for the Navy was in all probability developed at an early age; his father was within the service and have become a rear admiral at a younger age, receiving the Navy Cross in World War I.
Like many navy households, the McCandless moved loads as McCandless and his sister Velma grew up. It in all probability got here as no shock that he determined to observe in his father’s footsteps and bought a job on the US Naval Academy after highschool.
In June 1932, McCandless graduated from Annapolis and spent his early years within the Navy at sea on the USS Louisville, USS Indianapolis, and USS Case. While serving on the Louisville, he met and married Sue Bradley, whose father acquired a World War I Medal of Honor. The couple had two sons and two daughters.
McCandless ultimately attended postgraduate faculty in Annapolis. After graduating in 1939, he started service on the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco. There he was when World War II started, and there he could be when he acquired the Medal of Honor.
In the autumn of 1942, the ship took half within the large naval battle of Guadalcanal within the Solomon Islands chain within the South Pacific. Their mission was to forestall Japanese ships from delivering troops to the Guadalcanal coast. The naval battle was the most recent in a collection that pressured the Japanese to desert the island and gave the Allies a strategic victory.
On November 12 and 13, then-Lt. Commander McCandless was the San Francisco’s communications officer when she was preventing Japanese forces off the coast of close by Savo Island. During the evening, an enormous bombardment by the Japanese severely broken the ship and knocked McCandless unconscious. The relentless fireplace additionally killed many of the senior officers on the ship’s bridge, together with Captain Cassin Young and Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan, commander of the ships’ job drive, which included San Francisco.
Despite extreme accidents, McCandless knew somebody wanted to take management of the ship, now missing management. He shortly took command and ordered the ship to fireside again on the enemy. Not solely that, however the 31-year-old was additionally giving orders to the opposite ships within the job drive who weren’t but conscious that Callaghan had died.
According to a newspaper column by journalist Drew Pearson, McCandless didn’t need to radio the opposite ships within the job drive that Callaghan had died for concern the messages could be intercepted by the Japanese. Knowing his superiors’ plan of assault, McCandless pressed on, however feared being court-martialed if he survived the battle, Pearson wrote.
McCandless survived, as did the San Francisco. The Japanese ultimately halted their assault on Guadalcanal and deserted the world.
According to Naval Intelligence stories, the battle sank or destroyed 26 Japanese ships and broken 12 others. But victory was additionally dearly paid for by the Allies. The US misplaced 9 ships and eleven others had been broken. The naval battle of Guadalcanal was one of the deadliest of the conflict.
Instead of a court-martial, McCandless was shortly promoted to commander and instructed he had earned the Medal of Honor. On December 12, he acquired the nation’s highest ornament for bravery, a month after the incident for which he acquired it. Admiral Ernest J. King positioned the medal round McCandless’s neck aboard the USS San Francisco whereas she was in port in San Francisco. According to a 1942 Associated Press article, McCandless’ father was in command of a destroyer base in San Diego on the time of the ceremony.
For the rest of the conflict, the youthful McCandless commanded the USS Gregory throughout the 1945 Iwo Jima operation and the next invasion of Okinawa, the place the ship was badly broken by a kamikaze plane in April. McCandless was awarded a Silver Star for his actions throughout this era, in accordance with a 1968 Washington Post News Service article.
After the conflict, McCandless accepted a employees place at a naval base in San Pedro, California, earlier than returning to Washington, DC in November 1946 to serve within the workplace of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. McCandless returned to sea in May 1949 to command a mining division on the USS Shannon earlier than accepting a task on the Naval Academy and being promoted to captain in early 1951.
McCandless was hospitalized for a time because of bodily disabilities, so in September 1952 he determined to depart lively obligation. In honor of his twenty years of distinguished service, he was promoted to Rear Admiral on the retired checklist.
Shortly after his retirement, McCandless discovered he had a number of sclerosis, in accordance with the Independent newspaper in Long Beach, California. The analysis shortly relegated him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.
After he left the service, McCandless and his spouse moved to Long Beach, the place he attended California State College (now California State University, Long Beach), incomes a grasp’s diploma in 1953. Eventually they moved again to Annapolis.
McCandless died of issues from his sickness on January 24, 1968. The 56-year-old was buried within the cemetery of his beloved alma mater, the Naval Academy.
The McCandless identify lived on. The USS McCandless, commissioned in 1972 and used within the Gulf War, was named after each Bruce McCandless and his father. A group residing middle for veterans in Florence, Colorado was named after the youthful McCandless.
And in case you google Bruce McCandless you may discover loads of details about the Medal of Honor recipient, however you may discover extra about his son Bruce McCandless II. The youthful Bruce additionally attended the Naval Academy and later had a profitable profession with NASA as an astronaut . He was the primary human to stroll unbound in house.
This article is a component of a weekly collection referred to as Medal of Honor Monday during which we spotlight one of the greater than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who’ve acquired the U.S. navy’s highest medal for bravery.