JOSEPH A. MCGINLEY, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Joseph McGinley '21

Date of birth: November 10, 1898

Date of death: December 17, 1927

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1921 Lucky Bag:

1921 McGinley LB.jpg

Joseph Alfred McGinley

Norristown, Pennsylvania

"Mack" "Pop" "Piggy"

"THAT lazy, easy going"—so readith Jig-Jig's dope book, and words can not be found in the English language which would better describe Piggy. Just let him get a hammer-lock on a bed with a magazine or a breezy novel before him and it will take nothing less than a miracle to bring him back to earth. This same characteristic has kept Al from becoming a football man, the "conservation of energy" being his only thought, though he did make the sub squad and has been a constant attendant at the many aquatic meets.

Like all the rest of the Macks and Mikes, Al is every inch an Irishman. If you don't believe it just try to start something. He has one of those sweet Irish dispositions.

As a card shark Al is right there. It makes no difference what the game is. Pinochle, Bridge, or Poker, he is always ready for a hand, but if any of the galloping dominoes are around, the cards seem to lose their charm.

Mack is one of the original Red Mikes. Few people can boast of seeing him at a hop or a Crabtown tea fight.

Buzzard; Sub Squad (4, 3, 1).


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Joseph was graduated with 1921A.

1921 McGinley LB.jpg

Joseph Alfred McGinley

Norristown, Pennsylvania

"Mack" "Pop" "Piggy"

"THAT lazy, easy going"—so readith Jig-Jig's dope book, and words can not be found in the English language which would better describe Piggy. Just let him get a hammer-lock on a bed with a magazine or a breezy novel before him and it will take nothing less than a miracle to bring him back to earth. This same characteristic has kept Al from becoming a football man, the "conservation of energy" being his only thought, though he did make the sub squad and has been a constant attendant at the many aquatic meets.

Like all the rest of the Macks and Mikes, Al is every inch an Irishman. If you don't believe it just try to start something. He has one of those sweet Irish dispositions.

As a card shark Al is right there. It makes no difference what the game is. Pinochle, Bridge, or Poker, he is always ready for a hand, but if any of the galloping dominoes are around, the cards seem to lose their charm.

Mack is one of the original Red Mikes. Few people can boast of seeing him at a hop or a Crabtown tea fight.

Buzzard; Sub Squad (4, 3, 1).


The Class of 1921 was the last of the wartime-accelerated classes. "1921A" was graduated on June 3, 1920; the second half, "1921B", was graduated on June 2, 1921. Joseph was graduated with 1921A.

Loss

Joseph was lost on December 17, 1927 when USS S-4 (SS 109) sank immediately following a collision with USCG Paulding (CG 17) near Cape Code, Massachusetts.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

A son never had a more devoted father than Joseph. When the news came to Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Joseph’s submarine had sunk, father Joseph immediately went to Provincetown, Massachusetts. He confronted Admiral Frank H. Brumby asking why wasn’t a submarine tender escorting the S-4 while on their test run. In a yellow slicker, his father stayed in the open boat used by the news reporters. When the Admiral came back to the harbor, and replied to the newspapers that he “just wanted to” -- his father said, “Hardly, common courtesy. I should think it might be of interest to the families and nation to give something more than that display.”

Joseph had been ordered to shore duty recently, but he agreed to stay on the submarine one more month so a fellow officer could stay home for Christmas. The submarine had finished its test run and started to surface when it was hit by the Paulding. Over the next few days, the submarine continued to sink in quicksand, and one Navy diver died from the “bends.” She was finally raised on March 17, 1928.

Joseph’s father was the publisher of the Norristown Times, but since its sale, he was in real estate. His mother was Bridget, and his sister was Eleanor. Joseph’s wife Adeline and eight-month-old daughter Adeline were living in San Diego but came to Norristown for the holidays. Adeline later married Homer Clark, foreman of an auto shop in Detroit.

Joseph had been appointed to the Naval Academy by Congressman Henry W. Watson. In conversations with his father, Joseph knew submarine service was dangerous, but he had an explanation for the S-51 sinking in 1925 and was positive that a disaster would never overtake any submarine he served on. He told his father that he was enthusiastic about the submersibles and enjoyed the lure of the sea and friendships that he made in the service.

He was survived by his wife and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

William Callaway '11, Roy Jones '16, Graham Fitch '23, and Donald Weller '23 were also lost when S-4 sank.

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.

January 1921
Ensign, USS New York

January 1922
Ensign, USS Pattnall
May 1923
Ensign, USS Chase
July 1923
Ensign, under instruction, USS Chewink

September 1923
Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink

Others at this command:
November 1923
Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink

Others at this command:
January 1924
Lieutenant (j.g.), under instruction, USS Chewink
March 1924
Lieutenant (j.g.), staff, Submarine Division 12, USS Rainbow

Others at this command:
May 1924
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
July 1924
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
September 1924
Ensign, USS S-4
November 1924
Ensign, USS S-4
January 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
March 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
May 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
July 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4
October 1925
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

Others at this command:
January 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

October 1926
Lieutenant (j.g.), USS S-4

January 1927
Lieutenant, USS S-4

April 1927
Lieutenant, USS S-4

October 1927
Lieutenant, USS S-4


Class of 1921

Joseph is one of 32 members of the Class of 1921 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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