in the PACIFIC  1941 - 1945




World War II Medal of Honor Recipients
WWII U.S. Submarine Force - Pacific Theater 1941-1945

Richard H. O'Kane

USN Medal of Honor

Cmdr. R.H. O'Kane USN
R.H. O'Kane


Name: Richard Hetherington O'Kane
Rank and Branch:
Commander, U.S. Navy
Place and Date: Vicinity of Philippine Islands 23-24 Oct 1944
Born: 2 February 1911, Dover N.H.
Other Navy Awards: Navy Cross with three gold stars, Silver Star (3), Legion of Merit, Purple Heart

Citation: 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 Japanese convoys on 23 and 24 October 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 three tankers, coolly swung his ship to fire at a freighter and, in a split second decision, shot out of the path of an onrushing transport, missing it by inches. Boxed in by blazing tankers, a freighter, transport and several destroyers, he blasted two of the targets with his remaining torpedoes and, with pyrotechnics bursting on all sides, cleared the area. Twenty four hours later he again made contact with a heavily escorted convoy steaming to support the Leyte campaign with reinforcements and supplies and with crated planes piled high on each unit. In defiance of the enemy's relentless fire, he closed the concentration of ship and in quick succession sent two torpedoes each into the first and second transports and an adjacent tanker, finding his mark with each torpedo in a series of violent explosions at less than 1,000 yard range. With ships bearing down on all sides, he charged the enemy at high speed, exploding the tanker in a burst of flame, smashing the transport dead on the water, and blasting the destroyer with a mighty roar which rocked the Tang from stem to stern. Expending his last two torpedoes into the remnants of a once powerful convoy before his own ship went down, Cmdr. O'Kane aided by his gallant command, achieved an illustrious record of heroism in combat, enhancing the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.





Product photo
United States Submarine Operations in World War II
By Theodore Roscoe
United States Naval Institute
George Banta Company Inc Copyright 1949
Product photo Subs Against the Rising Sun:
U.S. Submarines in the Pacific

By Keith H. Milton
Yucca Free Press
Copyright 2000
  The Congressional Medal of Honor Library
World War II
The Names and Deeds: Vol1  A-L
Dell Publishing Inc
Copyright 1984

The Congressional Medal of Honor Library
World War II
The Names and Deeds: Vol2  M-Z
Dell Publishing Inc
Copyright 1984


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