U.S.S. Little Rock CL 92
Commanding Officer Biography

Rear Admiral Francis J. Mee

10 Mar 47 - 04 Jan 48

Page last updated: 15 March, 2020

Capt. Mee Portrait


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 April 1, 1943. (See Notes 1. and 2. below.) Mee retired (involuntarily) on June 30, 1952. He was advanced to Rear Admiral on the basis of combat citation.

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.

Note 1:    Ancestry records indicate that Admiral Mee's father's name may have been  Charles B. (Bernard?) Mee.
                  Other information indcates his father was Charles William Mee and his mother was Alice Josephine Spears-Mee.  
Note 2:    Admiral Mee was part Chippewa Indian. He was possibly the first American Indian to attain Flag rank.

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

Dec 1944
Jan 1946 - Mar 1947
Mar 1947 - Jan 1948
Mar 1948
Jun 1949 - Jun 1952
30 Jun 1952
Midshipman  U.S.N.A.
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.

Degrees held:
     •  B.S. from U.S.N.A.
     •  M.S. from Columbia University

Captain Mee aboard USS Little Rock

Captain F. J. Mee aboard U.S.S. Little Rock CL 92

Capt. Mee inspects Marine Detachment

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.

Mee With Officers

The above photo of Captain Francis J. Mee (4th from left) and eight other officers is an Official U.S. Navy photograph, however the photo is neither dated nor are any of the officers identified. Please click on the photo to see a larger version.
If you can identify the admiral in this picture, please contact the Webmaster.

Mee With Legion of Merit Award

The above photo shows Captain Francis J. Mee with 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.  The verification of Mrs. Mee's identity was provided by Mr. George Bragg.

Captain Mee Portrait

Captain Francis James Mee (1947)

Sue Mee Portrait

SueKatheryn Kelly-Mee
(Portrait date is unknown)

Captain Mee's Awards

Captain Mee's Ribbons...

The picture at the left is a close-up of the ribbons worn by Captain Mee at the time his portrait was painted. The ribbons represent the following awards (left-to-right, top row-to-bottom row):

• Legion of Merit (with Combat “V”),
World War I Victory Medal,
Yangtze Service Medal, 
American Defense Service Medal, 
American Campaign Medal, 
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (with one silver star
         and two bronze stars for seven engagements),
World War II Victory Medal, and
Philippine Liberation Ribbon (with one star).

More information about Admiral Francis J. Mee and his wife Sue Katheryn Kelly-Mee

Midshipman Mee attended the US Naval Academy (Class of 1922) along with Hyman Rickover (the "Father of the Nuclear Navy" and Henri Smith-Hutton the second Commanding Officer of the USS Little Rock.

The Mee's had no children, and yet it would seem they were an unusually generous couple who went out of their way to help others. After Admiral Mee passed away, his wife Sue rented part of their home to a friend Mary Lou Halpin.  Sue taught at Carr Central High and All Saints schools in Vicksburg. Later, when Mrs. Mee died, she left her home to another friend Lucille True. A significant part of the Mee's cash estate was divided between Vicksburg Catholic and All Saints Episcopal schools in Vicksburg.

Admiral Mee was part Chippewa Indian. He was possibly the first American Indian to attain Flag rank. (More research will be done on this as time permits.)

The above paintings of Captain Mee and of Sue Kelly-Mee are hanging in the Duff Green Mansion (built 1856) in Vicksburg. This elegant antebellum home is owned by Rick and Harley Halpin - Caldwell. It is a bed-and-breakfast well worth visiting. Miss Halpin-Caldwell knew Admiral & Sue Mee.

The painting referred to above shows Captain Mee in his dress whites. It was signed by Italian painter "Folco Jacobi" (1916-2001), and is dated "1947 ". Captain Mee most likely sat for this painting during the LITTLE ROCK's 1947-1948 Mediterranean cruise.

Mr. George Bragg, also a friend of the Mees and of the Caldwells, has done considerable research on Francis Mee. In addition to some of the information above, he has contributed the following geneo- logical data:
     Francis Mee's mother was: Alice Josephine Spears, b. 1859, d. 1946
     Francis Mee's father was: Charles William Mee b. 1858, d. 1935

     Francis' siblings were: 
              Charley B. Mee  1894 - ?
              Caroline E. Mee  1895 - ?
              Hortense A. Mee  1897-1982
              Richard F. Mee  1903-1957

Francis James Mee was born August 11, 1899 and died December 29, 1990.
His wife Sue Kelly-Mee was born: October 3, 1902 and died February 12, 1996.

Francis and Sue Mee are buried at:
        Cedar Hill Cemetery
        326 Lovers Lane
        Vicksburg, MS 39180
        Plot: Div. B, Square 61

Crew Remembrances & Anecdotes

(  To add yours.....    Contact Art Tilley  )

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