LCDR McClelland Barclay was an artist/illustrator who reported for active duty with the US Navy in October 1940. His duties during the next two and one-half years included designing posters that would become some of the Navy’s most popular recruiting images during WWII.
One of Barclay’s most successful designs—Can You Be A Leader?—is presented below. It promoted The College Graduates’ Naval Reserve Officers Training Program, AKA, the V-7 Program. That program helped the Navy to locate, recruit, and train recent college graduates to serve as junior officers, primarily in the rapidly growing Pacific fleet.
The canvas painting pictures a junior officer on the right using a sextant to take a navigational reading, a task referred to aboard ship as “Shooting the Sun.” Measuring the angle between the horizon and the noontime sun helped to determine the ship’s latitude.
This poster caught my eye because my Dad, Joe McDevitt, was a 1943 graduate of the V-7 program at Columbia University. He went on to complete amphibious training at Little Creek VA and Fort Pierce FL and was then assigned Boat Group Commander aboard the brand new attack transport USS LEON APA 48.
Among McDevitt’s duties during the next two years in the Pacific was…Shooting the Sun! The picture below shows Joe McDevitt on the right while a member of his boat group, believed to be Lt. jg Jesse Schwartz, takes a noontime reading.
Just a couple of Citizen Sailors on the job!
Postscript: In 1943 LCDR McClelland Barclay was aboard LST 342 in the Solomon Islands region when she was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine Ro-106. Barclay and most of the LST’s crew perished.
Credits: Naval History and Heritage Command, McClelland Barclay