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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services


Mc Kean

Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Wednesday, November 17, 1943
Air Attack at Cape Torokina
Following the brilliant American naval victory over Japanese forces in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay McKean steamed with a reinforcement convoy to Bougainville and on the 6th landed marines near Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay. She carried additional troops to Bougainville November 11. 1943, thence returned to Guadalcanal to embark additional troops for another mission. ... With 185 marines embarked, McKean sailed up the slot late 15 November. As she approached Empress Augusta Bay early November 17, she was attacked by a torpedo plane which launched a torpedo. McKean maneuvered to evade the deadly weapon however the torpedo struck the starboard side, exploding the after magazine and depth charge spaces and rupturing fuel oil tanks. Flaming oil engulfed McKean aft of the No. 1 stack, and she lost all power and communications. Burning oil on the water killed men who were blown or jumped overboard. Her skipper ordered the ship abandoned and McKean sank within 20 minutes after the explosion. ... Sixty-four of her complement and 52 of her embarked troops died from the explosions or flames. The survivors were picked up by rescuing destroyers.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 64

Namesort descending Service Branch
MM 3c Delbert Applegate USN
MM 3c William Bailey USN
PhM 1c Virgil Bales USN
MM 3c John Bonoite USN
RM 3c William Bowman USN
F 1c Frank Brady USN
Sea 1c Edward Buckmayer USN
SC 3c Rene Clark USN
Lt Frank Cochran USN
F 1c Horace Connett USN
F 2c Jon Corcoran USN
GM 2c Royden Damon USN
F 2c James Evans USN
MM 1c Robert Fitzgerald USN
GM 3c Forest Foster USN
F 1c Clarence Garcia USN
Sea 2c John Gillem USN
F 1c Norman Gjerstad USN
Sea 2c Joseph Gould USN
Sea 1c Joe Graham USN


Prepared by CAPT R.O. Strange USN (Ret.)