The Top Submarine Ace of the US Navy – Part 4

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On 25 October 1944, after completely decimating a Japanese convoy, USS Tang was sunk by a malfunctioning torpedo which made a circular run and exploded on contact with the Tang. Of the over 80 men aboard, only O’Kane and eight other members of the crew survived. They were fished out of the water by the Japanese and made POWs. The Japanese were well aware of who O’Kane was and both he and his men were beaten and tortured. Nor were their names reported as POWs to the International Red Cross. He rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the years after the war.

O’Kane was awarded the US Congressional Medal of Honor after he was freed from Japanese captivity after the war. His citation in part reads:

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 2 enemy Japanese convoys on 23 October and 24 October 1944, during her fifth and last war patrol.

[Sources: Execute Against Japan: The US Decision to Conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare by Lt. Joel Ira Holwitt, USN, Wahoo: The Patrols of America’s Most Famous World War II Submarine by Richard H. O’Kane (three stars), and Valor at Sea.com.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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