Medals Reference
4 Battle Stars for WWII, 8 for Korea - Gen. McArthur Aboard, 4 Campaign Stars for Vietnam War, and a Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation
Command Ship Operation Crossroads Atomic Tests - Navy Secretary Forrestal Aboard
Amphibious Command Ship during the Cuban Crisis - 26 Captains and 3 Admirals Aboard
398 Members - 109 Roster Service Photos - 178 Roster Recent Photos - 610 Album Photos

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Cuban Missle Crisis - October 1962

(Note:In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, Mount McKinley served as flagship for ComPhibLant and ComPhibGru 4.)

By ABCNEWS - Saturday, Oct. 27, 1962 was the most dangerous day of what may have been the most dangerous week in American history.

"Bad news kept streaming in during the day," said Ted Sorensen, a member of President John F. Kennedy's crisis team. "The worst news was that our U2 high flying reconnaissance plane for Cuba had been shot down."

Gen. Maxwell Taylor and the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged an all-out attack on Cuba, but Kennedy resisted the pressure.

No one in the Cabinet Room knew that, at the same time, U.S. destroyers were playing a perilous cat and mouse game with a Soviet submarine, Sub B-59, heading towards Cuba.

Documents released today by the National Security Archive confirm that late that Saturday afternoon, the USS Beale and the USS Cony lobbed 10 concussive grenades at Sub B-59. The American crew was unaware of the Soviet's secret payload.

"It felt like you were sitting in an empty barrel and somebody's constantly beating it with a stick," said Vadim Orlov, an intelligence officer aboard Sub B-59.

The American crew was unaware that the Soviet sub was carrying nuclear weapons.

"I don't think we even speculated that they were nuclear armed because our ships were not," said Capt. John Peterson, who was deck officer on the USS Beale.

Grenades Almost Triggered Nuclear Strike

The grenades were designed to scare the sub to surface. Instead, they almost triggered a nuclear strike. As Orlov recounts, his commander, Valentine Savitsky, lost his composure.

"The situation was becoming so difficult that Commander Savitzky was extremely stressed out and at one point decided to assemble the nuclear torpedo," Orlov told ABCNEWS. "When that order was given, we realized that if the nuclear weapons were used it would have meant death for every one of us."

And death for maybe millions more. U.S. war plans called for a nuclear response to any nuclear strike and official documents also released today reveal that the Pentagon already had depth charges on Guantanamo that were ready to be armed with nuclear warheads.

"Both sides would have gone up that nuclear ladder of escalation very quickly and very soon there would be nothing left," said Sorensen.

Cooler heads prevailed and the nuclear torpedo was disarmed. "Commander Savitsky just calmed down," said Orlov.

That gave President Kennedy time to send his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to Russian Ambassador Anatoly Dobrinyn with a secret deal for Khrushchev: If Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba, U.S. missiles would later be removed from Turkey.

Sunday morning, Radio Moscow reported that Khrushchev would dismantle the missiles. And President Kennedy went to church.

There were no landings in Cuba that October, but Amphibious AGC's have participated in all aspects of landings around the world throughout troubled times. We've found written details about one such landing in World War II in the pacific where AGC's directed the fighter planes involved. Read about a CIC (Combat Information Center) Operation in an AGC during the landings at Iwo Jima.... the story mentions the Eldorado and the Auburn, two of our sister ships.

Today In History v1.2
For the Month October in History ..

  • 10/01/1934 - Adolph Hitler expands German army & navy & creates an air force, violating Treaty of Versailles

  • 10/01/1963 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, Mount McKinley served as flagship for ComPhibLant and ComPhibGru 4. Following the Cuban quarantine, she sailed for the Mediterranean 10 January 1963 to act as command flagship for the Amphibious Strike Force. Arriving back in Norfolk 2 August 1963, she entered Portsmouth Navy Shipyard for a FRAM 11 overhaul, extending from September to January 1964.

  • 10/09/1958 - Israeli navy inaugrates it's 1st submarine

  • 10/11/1573 - Battle of South Seas - Dutch rebels beat Spanish navy

  • 10/12/1775 - US Navy forms

  • 10/12/1942 - US navy defeats Japanese in WW II Battle of Cape Esperance

  • 10/13/1987 - 1st military use of trained dolphins (US Navy in Persian Gulf)

  • 10/14/1944 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - She arrived off Peleliu 15 September with ComPhibGru 5 directing the landing of the lst Marine Division. She moved to nearby Ngesebus Island on 28 September to provide shore bombardment coordination. Mount McKinley left the area 14 October after Peleliu and the other main islands of the chain were secure. After a stop at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, the navy ship sailed to San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, for the assault on Leyte and Ormoc. While in San Pedro Bay, the force was under constant air attack, but the AGC was not hit.

  • 10/19/1944 - Navy says black women can join WAVES

  • 10/21/1797 - US Navy frigate Constitution, Old Ironsides, launched in Boston

  • 10/27/1775 - US Navy forms

  • 10/27/1922 - 1st commemoration of Navy Day

  • 10/27/1953 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - Mount McKinley sailed from Yokosuka and entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard 3 August 1951 for an extensive overhaul. Mount McKinley departed for WesPac, 6 March 1952, returning to the States 30 January 1953. While in Mare Island Navy Shipyard, a helicopter deck was installed on the fantail. AGC-7 sailed again, 27 October 1953, for her third tour of duty in the Korean war area, arriving Yokosuka 16 November. From then until her departure for the States 30 July 1954, she was involved in fleet and amphibious exercises off Japan, Korea, and Taiwan returning to the States on 18 August.

  • 10/30/1775 - 1st navy in US forms

Famous Birthdays October ..

  • 10/03/1789 - Francis Hoyt Gregory, Rear Admiral (Union Navy), died in 1866
  • 10/13/1808 - Henry Haywood Bell, Commander (Union Navy), died in 1868
  • 10/13/1810 - James Shedden Palmer, Commander (Union Navy), died in 1867
  • 10/19/1901 - Arleigh A Burke, Colo, admiral (WW II, Solomon Islands, Navy Cross)
  • 10/31/1345 - Ferdinand I, the wise one, king of Portugal (built navy)

Famous Deaths for October ..

  • There are no deaths matching "navy" in the archives for the month October

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What Ever Happened to the Mount McKinley?

A note of interest from member Bill Ellis;

This is a message I received several years ago from one of our members
concerning the fate of the McKinley.

"Subj:   Re: Mt McKinley    
Date:   09/04/2002 7:13:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   (withheld)
To: Bill Ellis  
Sent via email    

I'm sorry I took so long to get back to you.  My point of contact was out of town on vacation.  My friend referred me to Ken Alt of Naval Ships in Bremerton, Washington. Ken tells me the records reflect the USS Mt. McKinley AGC-7/LCC-7 was sold in 1977 to a Scrap Metal company in Terminal Island, California. Unfortunately the ship has long since been reclaimed for root metal products! Wish I could have been able to tell you she was still alive and kicking and provided a location to view her, but alas.....


Attention on Deck for the Captains - Hand Salute

Attention on Deck for the Captains! - Hand Salute!



Graham, William M. (NG)

1 May 1944 - 20 January 1945



Gamet, Wayne Neal :RADM

20 January 1945 - 9 August 1946



Riddle, Frederick Leavenworth

9 August1946 - 2 June 1947



Ware, William Lynch

2 June 1947 - 16 October 1948



Sugnet, Lee Ferrand

16 October 1948 - 17 December 1949



Printup, Carter Alston

17 December 1949 - 18 July 1951



Chappell, Lucius Henry

18 July 1951 - 26 January 1952



Beasley, Charles Black :RADM

26 January 1952 - 25 July 1952



Norgaard, Rollo Niel :RADM

25 July 1952 - 7 April 1953



Hardin, James Thomas

7 April 1953 - 1 April 1954



Adams, Scarritt

1 April 1954 - 25 November 1955



Renken, Henry Algernon :RADM

25 November 1955 - 28 September 1956



Fleck, Thomas Martin

28 September 1956 - 30 October 1957



Blouin, Francis Joseph :VADM

30 October 1957 - 30 December 1958



Pittard, George Franklin :RADM

30 December 1958 - 23 December 1959



Kelly Jr., Monroe

23 December 1959 - 17 November 1960



Lauerman, Henry Conrad

17 November 1960 - 18 January 1962



Schwab Jr., Ernest Louis

18 January 1962 - March 1963



Flynn, Russell Francis

1963 - March 1964



Tuttle Jr., Louis K.

March 1964 - June 1965



Thornhill Jr., Henry Ehrman (Tim)

June 1965 - 17 August 1966



Bowling, Roland Alfred

17 August 1966 - 31 January 1968



Poorman, Herbert R.

31 January 1968 - 1969



Grause, Jerome E.

1969 - 26 March 1970

Our Ship

United States Ship Mount McKinley AGC-7 was the design class of ship that all of the AGC's were designed after. All were named after mountains. To see a complete list of all of the AGC ships related and almost identical to the Mt McKinley, both in looks and mission, just use our drop down menu at the top right of the page and click on 'Links'. Many of the sailors from their crews are members of our association and brothers in that we have so much in common.

What was to become the USS Mount McKinley AGC-7 was laid down, 31 July 1943, as Cyclone, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-AJ1) hull at North Carolina Shipbuilding Co. Wilmington, N.C.

Launched, 27 September 1943

Acquired by the Navy, 27 December 1943

Converted at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA., to an Amphibious Force Command Ship (AGC)

Commissioned, USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), 1 May 1944, CAPT. W. M. Graham in command.

Decommissioned: March 26,1970

Struck: 30 July 1976

Fate: Sold for scrap in 1979

General characteristics Displacement: 12,550 tons

Length: 459 ft 2 in

Beam: 63 ft

Draft: 25 ft

Speed: 15 knots

Complement: 664

Armament: 1 × 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal. gun

8 × 40mm guns (4×2)

Veteran's News
Presidential Memorial Certificate
now available free

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by The President of The United States, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans.

WWII Vets living or deceased are also eligible to be listed in the WWII Registry

VA Adds Chat Feature to Online Application for Health Benefits

WASHINGTON – Veterans will find it easier and faster to apply for their health care benefits now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has enhanced and streamlined its online Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits.

This revised online application now features a chat function which will allow Veterans to receive live assistance while they are filling out the form. Additional enhancements to the process include simplification of questions relating to military service in Southeast Asia during the Gulf and in the Vietnam wars. Several additional minor enhancements make the application easier and faster for Veterans to complete.

Veterans may complete or download the 10-10EZ form at the VA health eligibility Web site at

Veterans may also contact VA at 1 (877) 222-8387 (VETS), visit the VA health eligibility Web site at or apply for health care benefits at any VA medical center at with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist.

Search For the Latest in VA News Here

Extra Navy Links
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Email Virus Explanation and Help

Send an email of support to sailors and marines aboard the USS Mt Whitney LCC-20

About modern amphibious command ships

USS Blue Ridge LCC 19
USS Mt Whitney LCC 20

Honor Flight Network Veteran Application
WW2 Memorial Plaza

USS Mt McKinley Association would like to introduce you to the Honor Flight Network. Honor Flight Network recognizes American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by inviting you to fly to Washington, DC to see YOUR memorial at no cost. Top priority (for which we are currently accepting application only) is given to WW II and terminally ill veterans from all wars. Honor Flight will be expanded to include Korean and Vietnam veterans. For Honor Flight to achieve this goal, guardians fly with the veterans on every flight providing assistance and helping veterans have a safe, memorable and rewarding experience. For what you and your comrades have given to us, please consider this a small token of appreciation from all of us. For further information, please Download and mail the Honor Flight Veteran Application Here.

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