Military Wiki
Bruce McCandless
Born (1911-08-12)August 12, 1911
Died January 24, 1968(1968-01-24) (aged 56)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1932–1952
Rank Rear Admiral

World War II

Relations Father of Bruce McCandless II, NASA astronaut; Sue Worthington McCandless Wooldridge; Rosemary van Linde McCandless; and Douglas Montrose McCandless. Great-nephew of sculptor Sir Henry Hudson Kitson. Wife was Sue Worthington Bradley, daughter of Captain Willis W. Bradley, USN

Bruce McCandless I (August 12, 1911 – January 24, 1968) was an officer of United States Navy who received the Medal of Honor during World War II for his heroism on board the USS San Francisco (CA-38), during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942. He retired with the rank of Rear Admiral. McCandless was the father of NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II. Additionally, Admiral McCandless was the great-grandson of David Colbert McCanles of the Rock Creek Station, Nebraska shoot-out with Wild Bill Hickok. After that, the McCanles family changed its name to McCandless and moved to Florence, Colorado.

Early life[]

The son of Commodore Byron McCandless (1881–1967), Bruce McCandless was born on August 12, 1911, in Washington, D.C.. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1932.

Military service[]

McCandless served on USS Indianapolis (CA-35) and USS Case (DD-370). He was serving as communications officer of San Francisco when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

On November 13, 1942, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Japanese gunfire killed Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan[1] and his staff, including Captain Cassin Young and all other officers on the San Francisco's bridge, except Lieutenant Commander McCandless, who took the conn for the rest of the battle. For his conduct, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, and promoted to full Commander. The San Francisco received the Presidential Unit Citation for this battle and, by the end of the war, was credited with 17 battle stars.

Cmdr. McCandless continued to serve on the San Francisco until 1944, when he took command of the destroyer USS Gregory (DD-802). On April 8, 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa, Gregory was attacked and damaged by four kamikazes; her skipper was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry.

Captain McCandless retired on September 1, 1952, with a terminal promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral. He died in Washington, D.C., on January 24, 1968, and was buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

In 1971, the frigate USS McCandless (FF-1084) was named in honor of RADM. McCandless and his father, Commodore Byron McCandless. There is also a street at the U.S. Naval Academy named after Admiral McCandless, as well as the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Florence, Colorado. Commodore Byron McCandless has a street named after him at the US Naval Base, San Diego, CA.

Medal of Honor citation[]

Admiral Ernest King, USN, presents the Medal of Honor to Commander McCandless, USN, 12 December 1942.

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 Lt. Comdr. 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, Lt. Comdr. 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.

See also[]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[]

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