Published On: September 2nd, 2020|451 words|1.6 min read|
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Robert G. Mackey, who helped organize the ceremony for the Japanese surrender during World War II.
Robert G. Mackey grew up in Chicago where he graduated from Austin High School, and went on to attend Northwestern University. There, he majored in business and participated on the swim team, the baseball team and in the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
When the U.S. entered World War II, Mackey enlisted in the Navy after graduation and commissioned as an officer with the Supply Corps in 1942. Mackey started his service at Great Lakes in the dispersing office with procedure before getting orders to South Carolina as a warehouse officer. Six months later, Mackey received new orders for the USS Missouri. On board, he coded encrypted messages and worked with the steward mates. Mackey first saw combat with the Missouri at Iwo Jima where he observed the flag raised atop Mount Suribachi. From there, the Missouri also saw combat in the Philippines and Okinawa.
When the Japanese surrendered, Mackey helped organize the ceremony that would take place aboard the Missouri. When Harold Stassen, commander of the Third Fleet that operated with USS Missouri, expressed dissatisfaction with the small size of the table provided, Mackey suggested using one of the general mess tables covered in cloth. This opportunity gave him a front-row seat to the end of World War II.
Mackey remained in active service until 1946, attaining the rank of lieutenant. Afterward, he spent 20 years in the Navy Reserve. With help from the GI Bill, Mackey went to law school at Loyola and became the judge advocate general of the Great Lakes region. Mackey went on to become a judge on the Cook County Circuit Court for 16 years, hearing a variety of cases ranging from civil rights to criminal prosecution before later entering into private practice.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.