Edward Ralph McEleney, Jr

United States Navy
01 December 1952 - 01 October 1972
Medford, Massachusetts
Panel 01W Line 078

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Edward Ralph McEleney, Jr

02 Apr 2008

I don't exactly how, but Edward McEleney is a distant relative of mine. The first time I heard of him was when I visited the Vietnam Memorial in high school. The name stuck out to me because Edward McEleney is also the name of my father. Through research I learned that SN McEleney died when an 8 inch shell exploded inside the turret he was in on the USS Newport News.

I wish I knew more about him, but I think putting his name and the names of the 19 men who died alongside him in this database is a good start to honoring his memory.

From a distant relative,
Creighton Mceleney

A Note from The Virtual Wall

USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) was a heavy cruiser, with a main armament of nine 8-inch naval rifles mounted in three triple turrets and a secondary armament of twelve 5" rifles in six twin turrets. Commissioned on 29 January 1949, she served three tours in Vietnam and participated in cruiser raids on Haiphong, Than Hoa, and Vinh in North Vietnam, as well as numerous other naval gunfire missions both north and south of the DMZ.

At 0100 01 Oct 1972, while conducting a gunfire mission, an 8-inch projectile in the bore of the center gun of Turret Two exploded prematurely, setting off several powder casings in the powder hoists. The explosion resulted in the death of 20 men and injury to 36 others. Quick and efficient action by the repair parties concerned confined the damage to the inside of the turret and its barbette. The cause of the explosion was subsequently determined to be a faulty auxiliary detonating fuse.

NEWPORT NEWS departed the gun line for the Cubi Point Naval Station, Philippines, where temporary repairs were made to Turret Two. She returned to the South China Sea and recommenced naval gunfire missions on 21 Oct 1972, completing two additional gunline periods before returning to Norfolk (VA) on 24 December 1972.

The men who died in the explosion were

  • GMG1 Wesley H. Rose, Indianapolis, IN
  • GMG2 Tommy M. Hawker, Sutherlin, VA
  • BM3 William Clark, Vienna, GA
  • GMG3 Charles W. Clinard, Maysfield, TX
  • SN Jack S. Bergman, Baltimore, MD
  • SN Terry W. Deal, Taylorsville, NC
  • SN Joseph Grisafi, Springfield, PA
  • SN Edward R. McEleney, Medford, MA
  • SN Ralph L. Robinson, Baltimore, MD
  • SN David L. Scott, Seymour, MO
  • SA Herman C. Acker, Reserve, LA
  • SA Ronald P. Daley, Marshfield, MA
  • SA William H. Harrison, Clifton Forge, VA
  • SA Robert M. Kikkert, Munster, IN
  • SA Robert T. Moore, Philadelphia, PA
  • SA Stanley G. Pilot, Salisbury, NC
  • SA Ricky L. Rucker, Baltimore, MD
  • SA Jeffrey L. Scheller, Rahway, NJ
  • SA Richard C. Tessman, New Britain, CT
  • SR Raymond R. Davis, Shreveport, LA

USS NEWPORT NEWS was decommissioned on 27 July 1975.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 02 Apr 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009