Sunday, 15 November 2009

Lt. JG Robert Neil Mackay SC

LTJG Robert Neil McKay, SC, United States Naval Reserve, World War Two
Robert Neil McKay was a Supply Officer of the USS Aaron Ward during the later stages of World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously, the only Supply Officer to have earned the award. Born on July 10, 1920 in Los Angeles, California, he was the youngest of three children of Neil and Lillian Stoddard McKay. He was the grandson of Neil McKay and Mary Gunn of Sydenham Township, Grey County, Ontario, Canada, and the great great grandson of Angus McDonald and Isobel McKay who had emigrated in 1841 from Farr, Sutherland.

On February 4, 1942 Robert, who suffered from seasickness, enlisted in the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School and was assigned to the Aaron Ward. On April 30, 1945 kamikazes attacked the ship off the coast of Okinawa, damaged it, but did not manage to sink it. In one of these attacks, Robert was injured but stayed on to fight. A kamikaze plane stuck the deckhouse bulkhead that Robert and his fellow gun crew were manning.   Robert and his crew are officially listed as missing in action.

CDR Sanders, the Aaron Ward’s commanding officer, recommended Robert Mckay for the Silver Star. He wrote, “As Sky Three Officer, he directed the fire of his automatic weapons and caused them to deliver a deadly barrage against the enemy. Although injured from the first suicide crash nearby, he remained at his station, rallying his men for the impending attacks. His heroic perseverance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service. He is now missing in action.”
In addition to the Silver Star, Robert McKay was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Purple Heart. His name is listed among the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial (Hawaii).
Placed here by Carol Small.

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