Charles B. McVay Jr.

Charles Butler McVay Jr. (September 19, 1868[1] – October 28, 1949) was an admiral in the United States Navy after World War I. In 1907–1909, after the cruise of the Great White Fleet, he commanded the tender USS Yankton. He then held various assignments of increasing importance throughout and after World War I. In the early 1930s, he served as commander-in-chief of the Asiatic Fleet.

Charles B. McVay Jr.
NH 85115 Admiral Charles B. McVay, Jr., USN (cropped).jpg
Admiral McVay circa 1931
Born(1868-09-19)September 19, 1868
Edgeworth, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 28, 1949(1949-10-28) (aged 81)
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1890–1932
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands heldUnited States Asiatic Fleet
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
World War I
RelationsCharles B. McVay III (son)

Personal lifeEdit

McVay was born on September 19, 1868, in Edgeworth, Pennsylvania. He was an 1890 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. His son Charles B. McVay III was the commanding officer of the ill-fated USS Indianapolis.

Military careerEdit

During the Spanish–American War (1898), Ensign McVay served aboard the USS Amphitrite (BM-2), a double-turret monitor. It patrolled the waters off Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Key West and participated in the shelling of San Juan in May 1898.

In 1908, after serving as a navigator aboard USS Hartford and USS Alabama and a tour at the US Naval Academy, McVay was given command of USS Yankton. In 1909, McVay was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, as the Yankton had just returned from an around-the-world cruise with the Great White Fleet.

World War I serviceEdit

During World War I, McVay served as commanding officer aboard three vessels: USS Saratoga, USS New Jersey (BB-16), and USS Oklahoma.

Asiatic Fleet CommandEdit

After the war, McVay served as a commander in the Yangtze Patrol. At this time, the United States, along with Japan and the major European nations, had garrisons in Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin. U.S. Navy gunboats regularly patrolled the Yangtze River to protect foreigners during a turbulent period when China had no effective central government. In 1929, McVay was promoted to admiral and commanded the United States Asiatic Fleet. He retired from the Navy in October 1932 and died on October 28, 1949. McVay is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[2]


  1. ^ Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. U.S. Navy Department. January 1, 1934. pp. 378–379. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "ANC Explorer". U.S. Army. Retrieved January 13, 2020.

Military offices
Preceded by
Mark L. Bristol
Commander-in-Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet
9 September 1929 – 1 September 1931
Succeeded by
Montgomery M. Taylor