Richard H. O’Kane ’30

Lieutenant Commander & Prisoner of War.

Lieutenant Commander O’Kane commanded the USS Tang, a Pacific Fleet submarine, from October 1943 until it was sunk in October 1944. During that single year, the Tang sank 31 enemy ships. O’Kane’s Medal of Honor was awarded “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, as commanding officer of the USS Tang operating against two enemy convoys on October 23 and 24, 1944, during her fifth and last war patrol. Boldly maneuvering on the surface into the midst of a heavily escorted convoy, CMDR O’Kane stood in the fusillade of bullets and shells from all directions to launch smashing hits on 3 tankers.... Boxed in by blazing tankers, a freighter, transport, and several destroyers, he blasted two of the targets with his remaining torpedoes.... Twenty-four hours later…he closed on [a second convoy] and in quick succession sent torpedoes into the first and second transports and an adjacent less than 1,000-yard range. With ships bearing down from all sides, he charged the enemy at high speed...expending his last two torpedoes into the remnants of a once powerful convoy before his own ship went down.” O’Kane survived, was captured and held by the Japanese until the end of the war. A career naval officer, O’Kane retired in 1957 as a rear admiral.

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