An impressive array of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers was gathered in San Francisco Bay for a major tactical exercise off the California coast, scheduled to commence the next day, 13 November 1933. But suddenly, signal lamps around the bay began flashing word that the exercise had been postponed. Soon, national ensigns on the ships were lowered to half-mast and a flag-draped coffin surrounded by a Marine honor guard appeared on the main deck of the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36). Rear Admiral Ridley McLean had been Commander Battleship Division 3 and was preparing his ships for the exercise when fatally struck down by a heart attack. Funeral services were held the next day with all the honors due McLean’s rank, including a 13-gun salute from the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) as the Nevada steamed past on the first leg of a journey that would take the admiral to Arlington National Cemetery.
Lest We Forget - Ridley McLean’s Legacy
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)