Grouping For Captain John P. Cady, USN- Captain McKey’s Chief Legal Counsel


Captain Cady served as Capt. C.B. McVey’s Chief Legal Counsel in the historic court martial case involving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis that delivered Uranium – an essential component used in the first Atom Bomb.

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Although this grouping would be considered a descent lot of U.S. Navy memorabilia for a career officer, it is perhaps overshadowed by another captain, and his ship that played a vital role in bringing an end to WWII.  Captain John Parmalee Cady, acted as the Chief Legal Counsel for Charles B. McVey, Captain commanding the USS Indianapolis, that carried Uranium onboard his ship, that was an essential component used in the first Atom bomb dropped on Japan the summer of 1945.

The Indianapolis’s mission was top secret, and proceeded on her fateful voyage to the island of Tinian, across Pacific waters in an old battle scared heavy cruiser, without any destroyer escort; told by superiors that an escort was not necessary. The Indianapolis delivered her top secret cargo, and was then ordered to  Guam, then join up with the fleet  in the Leyte Gulf, off of the Philippines, again without escort, with naval authorities knowing full well that Japanese submarine activity in those waters had been reported.

Moving without escort in his slower moving battle wagon, and foggy weather, McVey ordered the ship to move at top speed without zig zagging, unaware of Japanese sub activity; I-58 put two torpedo’s into Indianapolis and sunk her within 12 minutes sending her crew of nearly 1200 men, some already killed in the blasts (about 300), or those who would die in the next several days by dying of wounds suffered explosions on board ship during the attack, repeated shark attacks, and those who just went crazy drinking salt water.

McVey was eventually brought up on charges of not notifying the crew to abandon ship, and not zig zagging in enemy waters.  He was exonerated in the first charge, but held accountable on the second. Without getting into it here, the cover-ups by Navy top brass and U.S. officials are despicable and without doubt one of the worst chapters of US and Navy history.  Captain McVey would later take his own life, living with the unbearable memories of this tragic event.

Captain John Parmalee Cady, a Rhode Island native, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1918. He progressed through the grades to captain on April 1, 1943.  Much of his time in service was aboard ship, serving on the Arkansas, Wright, Memphis, Texas, Gilmer, Minneapolis, Cimmarron, Argonne; beside other duties in Washington, etc.  After acting as legal counsel to Captain McVey, He commanded the Heavy Cruiser Columbus, in the Mediterranean, flag ship to the Commander in Chief, Naval Forces Europe; then Naval HQ London, England with NATO, and finally with the Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

This grouping consists of a good amount of paper and photos covering his career, as well as his medals, insignia, white cotton uniform and pants, and correspondence with the author of “ABANDON SHIP!,The Saga of the USS Indianapolis, the Navy’s Greatest Sea Disaster.” by Richard F. Newcomb.

  • White cotton uniform coat, with WWII style flat captains shoulder boards, 3 rows of ribbons including; Navy Unit Commendation, WWII Victory, WWII Occupation, China Service, National Defense (1 bronze star), Korean War Service (3 stars), Korean War-UN, Republic of Korea-Presidential Unit Citation, Order of Aviz Medals.
  • N.S. Meyer insignia box with initials (J.P.C.), containing post war shoulder boards for captain, cap eagle, dress belt buckle, miniature dress buckle, several ribbon bars, buttons and insignia.
  • Box of miniature medals from Korean War era, by GEMSCO.
  • Cased Order of the Aviz, a Portuguese Order of Chivalry. Cased in Moroccan red leather, silk and velvet lined with neck order- green enameled cross suspended by green ribbon, miniature  medal with rosette, and a pocket badge (82mm) with maker hallmark, “FREDERICO DA COSTA / R. DE S JULIAO. 110.” around the outside of hallmark, “Fabricante / de / Medalhas / Lisbon.”
  • Korean War era medals on bar, with on ribbon bar including the Aviz ribbon; a calling card, and earlier photo of Cady Circa 1920s, and a typed letter dated Dec. 4, 1958, to Author Richard Newcomb, thanking him for returning material used about the “Indianapolis”on his stationery.
  • Framed photograph of Cady in Midshipman uniform. 8.5 x 10.5 inches.
  • Loose leaf binder containing, in order: frontis- Seattle Times Parade Magazine cover about USS Indianapolis; Letter from author Richard Newcomb to Cady dated Nov. 25, 1956, gathering info for book, asking questions about the trial of Capt. McVey, etc.  signed;  Calling card for J.P.C., typed bio dated 5 Dec. 45.; photocopy of USS Columbus history;  Navy typed “Statement of Service”;  article about USS Terror (MM-5) and USS Indianapolis, a Navy publication called “A specialist called “X”, dated Jan. 1976;
  • Final copy of Service Record dated April 1953.
  • A note in Cady’s hand commenting on how he was awarded the Order of Aviz.
  • Newspaper clippings concerning Captain McVey, etc.
  • Typed letter from Cady to Mr. O’Connor, in regard to O’Connor wanting to meet with Cady, and the later not wishing to do so, concerning the USS Indianapolis, penciled date on copy letter, 1983.
  • Post card, March 30, 1957, from author Newcomb to Cady, note of thanks and confirmation of appointment.
  • 2 8 x10 glossy photo of Capt. Cady greeting Nato skippers coming aboard Columbus.
  • 6 8 x 10s onboard Columbus, one is of the ship anchored at Venice, Italy.
  • 8 x 10 of Columbus sailing on ocean waters.
  • 11 more, dignitaries, ports of call.
  • Early snap shots of battleship, not ID’d, and one of the USS Wright, both circa, 1923.
  • Small engraved note card with USS Columbus featured. unused.
  • Real Photo post card of USS Memphis in French port from WWI, sent to Cady (from ship mate?) who says in note, “this has been kicking around my desk for some time. I send to you in rememberence of a ….”can’t make out the rest.  Sent from Providence,R.I., 1964.
  • Nice photo of a transport ship, un-named, 5 x 9 approximately.
  • Small snapshot of USS Minneapolis, Feb, 1939. 3 x 6.
  • Book, “Abandon Ship.”

To take the time to read about McKey, and Cady’s part in all of this, is really a very sad tail. The incident leaves me angry every time I think about this event and other secret missions, and “false flag” involvements that have shaped our military history.

This is a nice representative group of one officer’s naval career, and his place in U.S. history.


Additional information

Weight .6 lbs