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Obituary (VA): Brian Patrick McCrane '53

Posted on 02/23/2018

Brian Patrick McCrane  (June 7, 1929 - February 20, 2018)

Captain Brian P. McCrane, USN (Ret), passed away peacefully on February 20, 2018 at his home in Vienna, VA. He was 88 years old.

Brian was born on 7 June 1929 in Teaneck, NJ and was the son of Joseph and Marjorie McCrane. He was the fifth child in a family of seven sons and two daughters.

Inspired by his father’s service in the U.S. Navy during the First World War, as a boy Brian dreamed about joining the Navy and serving as captain of an American warship. His biggest step toward that goal was gaining entrance into the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

Upon his graduation from the Academy with a B.S. degree in Engineering in 1953, Brian was assigned to sea duty aboard the USS Eaton (DD-510). This marked the beginning of a long and successful naval career of some 26 years, during which he earned promotions culminating in the rank of Captain and served with distinction both at sea and ashore.

Among his significant sea duty experiences, Brian served as Operations Officer on the USS Waller (DD-466) during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The Waller was part of the American quarantine of Soviet ships sailing for Cuba. Brian earned a Letter of Commendation for his performance during that operation.

In June 1966, Brian fulfilled his childhood dream when he was appointed to his first command, the USS Calcaterra (DER-390). As skipper of the Calcaterra, he led the ship and its crew on Operation Deep Freeze, an eight-month, 10,000 mile expedition that rendered the Navy’s logistical support for scientific research in the Antarctic.

In his second command, Brian had the distinction of serving as the last captain of the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (DD-850). His final order in that role was to take the Kennedy to Fall River, Massachusetts, where it would become part of the Battleship Cove museum of historic American warships.

Brian also served sea duty tours aboard the USS Olmstead (APA-188), USS Wisconsin (BB-64), and USS Strong (DD-758), the latter as Executive Officer.

Brian always considered it a privilege to serve his country. Although sea duty was Brian’s true love as a naval officer, he served in several shore capacities, including an assignment as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Chairman, Military Staff Committee, U.S. Delegation to the United Nations and the Commander Eastern Sea Frontier.

Brian attended the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI and earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in 1972.

Upon his retirement from the Navy in 1979, Brian transitioned into civilian life as a consultant in New York City. During the early 1980s, he played a key behind-the-scenes consulting role in helping to bring the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid to New York City as a historical museum. It is now one of the city’s most popular visitor sites. Brian later joined Vinnell Corporation in Fairfax, VA, as an assistant Vice President of Business Development.

Brian also served for 14 years as a volunteer counselor with the Washington DC chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).

In retirement, Brian enjoyed regular contact with friends from the Navy, and he always looked forward to monthly luncheons of his Naval Academy classmates. He was an avid Navy football fan and loved to watch the Midshipmen play both at Memorial Stadium and on television. Brian was also a voracious reader. He especially enjoyed reading about military history and filled his study with favorite books.

Brian was preceded in death in 2009 by his wife of 53 years, Grace McCrane, whom he met in Bayhead, New Jersey, where his family had a summer home. He is survived by his four children, Denise, Patrick, Michele, and Brian; siblings Brendan, Gerard, and Gregory and six grandchildren, Kiera, Mackenzie, Brian, Bobby, Allison, and Andrew. During the final years of his life, he lived at his home in Vienna, VA, where he enjoyed the love and support of many family members and friends.

Brian’s faith was important to him throughout his life. During his post-Navy years, he belonged to St. Mark Catholic Church in Vienna.

A visitation is scheduled at St. Mark on Thursday, March 1, from 12n-1p. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at St Mark on Thursday, March 1 at 1p. An interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA (date and time TBD) In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those desiring to do so, honor his memory with a contribution to the charity that they hold most dear.

Money and King Funeral Home and Cremation Services
171 Maple Avenue W
Vienna, VA 22180
Phone: (703) 938-7440