REAR ADMIRAL FRANCIS J. MEE
U.S. NAVY, RETIRED
Francis James Mee was born on August 11, 1899, in White Earth, Minnesota, son of the late Charles William and Alice Josephine (Spears) Mee. He attended public schools in Becker County, Minnesota, before his appointment in 1918, to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from the Ninth Congressional District. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 2, 1922, he subsequently attained the rank of Captain to date from April 1, 1943.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1922, Mee joined the battleship USS TENNESSEE BB-43 serving as Junior Watch and Division Officer in the ship's Engineering Department. In November 1923 he transferred to the USS THOMPSON DD-305 serving there as Assistant Engineering Officer. Detached from that destroyer in June 1927, he returned to Annapolis, Maryland, for instruction in mechanical engineering at the Postgraduate School. He continued the course from February 1928 to September 1929, at Columbia University, New York, New York, where he received the degree of Master of Science.
In November 1929 he reported as Engineer Officer aboard the USS MACLEISH DD-220 attached to Asiatic Station, and for a year, June 1931 to June 1932, served in a similar capacity in the USS LUZON PG-47/PR-7, with further duty as Patrol Engineer on the staff of Commander Yangtze River Patrol. Assigned to the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1932, he served as Assistant to Shop Superintendent, Industrial Department, remaining there until June 1934, when he assumed command of the USS ROBIN AM-3. For the engineering performance of the ROBIN he received a commendatory letter from the Secretary of Navy.
Relieved of command of that minesweeper in June 1937 he was Senior Assistant Engineer of the USS INDIANAPOLIS CA-35 until June 1937, when he reported for duty in the Office of the Inspector of Naval Materials, New York, New York serving as Assistant to the Inspector. He remained there until December 1938, after which he was in charge of fitting out USS ELLET DD-398 at the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey. He assumed command (as LCDR) of that destroyer upon her commissioning on February 17, 1939. Transferred in July 1944, to the USS PORTLAND CA-33, he served as her Navigator, participating in action in the Coral Sea, at Midway, Guadalcanal, and in the Eastern Solomons, until November 1942.
Completing the Command Course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in June 1943, he became Material Officer on the staff of Commander Operational Training Command, U. S. PACIFIC FLEET. In this capacity he was responsible for providing underway training for all newly commissioned ships constructed in West Coast shipyards. In July 1944 he reported as Commander of Amphibious Force, Seventh Fleet, LST FLOTILLA 22, consisting of 36 LST Class ships. While in command of this unit he was awarded "For exceptionally meritorious conduct . . . . in action against enemy Japanese forces at Balikpapan, Borneo, on July 2, 1945 . . . .” the Legion of Merit with Combat Distinguishing Device “V” The citation continues in part:
“Skillfully deploying the LST’S under his command, Captain Mee maneuvered in close proximity to mine fields and unloaded assault echelons in proper order and exactly on schedule. . . .”.
From January 1945 to March 1947 he was Commanding Officer of the U. S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station, Panama City, Florida, after which he assumed command of the USS LITTLE ROCK. Relieved of that command in January 1948, he reported as Commander Fleet Training Group and Underway Training Unit, Western Pacific where he was responsible for all underway training and training facilities in the Pacific west of Hawaii. He remained in that capacity until May 1949, when he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D. C., as Director of Administrative Inspections.
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, Captain Mee has the World War I Victory Medal; the Yangtze Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze starts (seven engagements); the World War II Victory Medal: and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one star.
He is married to the former Sue Katheryn Kelly of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
OUTLINE OF MEE's NAVAL SERVICE
02 June 1922
Aug 1922 - Nov 1923
Dec 1923 - Jun 1927
Jul 1927 - Jun 1928
Feb 1928 - Sep 1929
Nov 1929 - May 1931
Jun 1931 - Jun 1932
Aug 1932 - Jun 1934
Jul 1934 - Dec 1935
Jan 1936 - Jun 1937
Jul 1937 - Dec 1938
Feb 1939 - Jul 1941
Jul 1941 - Nov 1942
Jan 1943 - Jun 1943
01 April 1943
Jun 1943 - Jun 1944
Jul 1944 - Nov 1945
Jan 1946 - Mar 1947
Mar 1947 - Jan 1948
Jun 1949 - Jun 1952
30 Jun 1952
Graduated and commissioned Ensign
USS Tennessee (BB-43) as Junior Watch Officer - Eng. Dept.
USS Thompson (DD 305) as Engineering Officer
Post Graduate School Annapolis (Mechanical Eng.)
Columbia University, NY (Mechanical Eng.)
USS MacLeish (DD-220) as Engineering Officer
USS Luzon (PG-47) as Engineering Officer
Navy Yard Philadelphia
USS Robin (AM-3) as Commanding Officer
USS Indianapolis (CA-35) as Ass’t. Engineering Officer
Office of Inspector of Naval Material - New York, N.Y.
USS Ellet (DD-398) as Commanding Officer (LCDR)
USS Portland (CA-33) as Navigator (Took part in the following battles and engagements:
Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, East Solomons).
Naval War Course - Command Course.
Attained rank of Captain.
Material Officer for Commander Operational Training Command, Pacific.
Commander LST Flotilla 22 (Took part in the following Amphibious landings:
Lingayen Gulf, Pallac Harbor, Baikpapaw).
To Naval District New Orleans, LA. temporary duty pending further assignment
U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Sta., Panama City, FL, as Commanding Officer
USS Little Rock CL-92 as Commanding Officer
Commander Fleet Training/Training Unit Western Pacific
Office of CNO
Retired (involuntarily). Advanced to Rear Admiral on the basis of combat citation.
• B.S. from U.S.N.A.
• M.S. from Columbia University
Captain F. J. Mee aboard U.S.S. Little Rock CL-92
Captain F. J. Mee inspects Marine Detachment
aboard U.S.S. Little Rock CL-92. The name of the
inspecting Admiral is not known.
Photo is from a larger photo donated by Thomas Friedlein
brother of USS Little Rock aviator Ens. Robert Friedlein.
The above photo of Captain Francis J. Mee also includes two unidentified individuals. It is assumed that the lady in the center is his wife, Mrs. Sue Katheryn Kelly-Mee. The admiral on the left however is uidentified. It has been determined that the gentleman pictured is not VADM Daniel E, Barbey who submitted Mee as a recipient of the Legion of Merit award. If you can identify the admiral in this picture, please contact the Webmaster.
Note: This photo, as well as the profile photo of Captain Mee
were graciously donated by Miss Jackie Sarrett.
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