Okane, Richard

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Okane, Richard, born 02-02-1911 in Dove, New Hampshire, was a rear Admiral who was awarded the Medal of Honour as submarine commander in World War II. O’Kane retired in 1957, and was awarded the Medal of Honour for valour as commander of the USS 563 Tang, in South Pacific.

The Tang sank a Japanese ship every 11 days on five patrols and rescued scores of US fliers who had been shot down in raids on Japanese ships and bases. During one patrol in Formosa Strait on October 24-25, 1944, the Tang sank 110.000 tons of Japanese shipping, including a destroyer. The submarine then fell victim to her 24th and last torpedo when it malfunctioned, circled back and hit the Tang, killing all but 9 of her 87-man crew. The commander and other survivors were taken prisoner and spent the last ten months of the war in a prison near Tokyo, where they were subjected to beatings and a starvation diet. After the war, he was promoted to Captain and commanded the Submarine School in New London,   Connecticut, before retiring as a Rear Admiral and settling in California. In retirement, he wrote two books about his war experiences: “Clear the Bridge” in 1977 and “Wahoo” in 1987. Born in Durham, New Hampshire, where his father, Walter, was a professor at the University of New Hampshire.

Death and burial ground of Okane, Richard.

 He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1934. He is survived by wife, Ernestine, whom he married in 1936 and who lives in Petaluma. O’kane died of pneumonia, on 16-02-1994, age 83 and is buried on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 59, Grave 874.

 

 

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