From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Magee '39

Date of birth: March 9, 1917

Date of death: July 17, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


From Find A Grave:

Lt. Cmdr. John W. Magee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Magee of Harrisville, was killed in an air crash at Panama City, Fla., July 17.

He was flying a jet plane when it collided with another. His parachute failed to open in time.

Commander of the Destroyer Shaw [note: this is not correct; he was stationed aboard but an Ensign] when its bow was blown off at Pearl Harbor, Cmdr. Magee transferred to the Naval Air Force after getting out of the hospital. He escaped again when the Block Island, a small carrier, was sunk in mid-Atlantic a year ago. He then served on another carrier until the war with Germany ended.

His body will be returned to Harrisville for burial. The Pittsburgh Press, July 21, 1945


Prior to serving on the Destroyer Shaw John was assigned to the USS New Orleans.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1939

Ensign, USS New Orleans

Others at or embarked at this command:

LT Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 6)

June 1940

Ensign, USS Shaw

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, USS Shaw

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, USS Shaw

Class of 1939

John is one of 78 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.