Submarine Force Medal of Honor Recipients

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Torpedoman Second Class

Torpedoman Second Class
Henry Breault USS O

“For heroism and devotion to duty while serving on board the U.S. Submarine O-5 at the time of the sinking of that vessel. On the morning of 28 October 1923, the O-5 collided with the steamship Abangarez and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred, Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch, he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life, he returned to the torpedo room to the rescue of a shipmate who he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo room hatch on himself. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party 31 hours later.”

CAPT John Cromwell

CAPT John Philip Cromwell
Commanding Officer, USS SCULPIN

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the USS SCULPIN, during the Ninth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, 19 November 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his under seas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk. Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese depth charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he authorized SCULPIN to surface and engage the enemy in a gunfight, thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of reveling plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death. Preserving the security of his mission at the cost of his own life, he served his country as he served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

CDR Samuel David Dealey

CDR Samuel David Dealey
Commanding Officer, USS HARDER

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS HARDER during her Fifth War Patrol in Japanese-controlled waters. Floodlighted by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Commander Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surfaced and, within nine minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amid ship. Evading detection, he penetrated the confined waters off Tawi Tawi with the Japanese destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by concussion from the first exploding target and the second vessel nose-diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high speed. Sighted by a large hostile Fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow toward the lead destroyer crash-dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the HARDER passed beneath. This remarkable record of five vital Japanese destroyers sunk in five short-range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Commander Dealey and his indomitable command.”

RADM Eugene Bennett Fluckey

RADM Eugene Bennett Fluckey
Commanding Officer, USS BARB

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS BARB during her Eleventh War Patrol along the east coast of China from19 December 1944, to 15 February 1945. After sinking a large enemy ammunition ship and damaging additional tonnage during a running 2-hour night battle on 8 January, Commander Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 23 January, located a concentration of more than 30 enemy ships in the lower reaches of Nankuan Chiang (Mamkwan Harbor). Fully aware that a safe retirement would necessitate an hour’s run at full speed through the uncharted, mined, and rock-obstructed waters, he bravely ordered, ‘Battle Station-Torpedoes’! In a daring penetration of the heavy enemy screen, and riding in 5 fathoms of water, he launched the BARBs last forward torpedoes at 3,000-yard range. Quickly bringing the ship’s stern tubes to bear, he turned loose four more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining eight direct hits on six of the main targets to explode a large ammunition ship and cause inestimable damage by the resultant flying shells and other pyrotechnics. Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the BARB through a safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Commander Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the United States Naval Service.”

CDR Howard Walter Gilmore

CDR Howard Walter Gilmore
Commanding Officer, USS GROWLER

“For conspicuous gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS GROWLER during her Fourth War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Boldly striking at the enemy in spite of continuous hostile air and anti-submarine patrols, Commander Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the GROWLER. Commander Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 17 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat’s heavy machine guns, Commander Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Commander Gilmore gave the last order to the deck, ‘Take her down.’ The GROWLER dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain.”

RADM Richard H. O'Kane

RADM Richard H. O’Kane
Commanding Officer, USS Tang

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS TANG operating against two enemy Japanese 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, Commander O’Kane stood in a 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 decision, shot out of the path of an onrushing transport, missing it by inches. Boxed in by blazing tankers, freighter, transport and several destroyers, he blasted two of the targets with his remaining torpedoes and, with pyrotechnics bursting on all sides, cleared the torpedoes and, 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 ships 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 a thousand-yard range. With ships bearing down from all sides, he charged the enemy at high speed, exploding the tanker in a burst of flame, smashing the transport dead in 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, Commander O’Kane aided by his gallant command, achieved an illustrious record of heroism in combat, enhancing the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

VADM Lawson P. Ramage

VADM Lawson P. Ramage
Commanding Officer, USS PARCHE

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS PARCHE in a predawn attack on a Japanese convoy, 31 July 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, Commander Ramage launched a perilous surface attack by delivering a crippling stern shot into a freighter and quickly following up with a series of bow and stern torpedoes to sink the leading tanker and damage the second one. Exposed by the light of bursting flares and bravely defiant of terrific shellfire passing close overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport by two forward reloads. In the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker, he calmly ordered his men below, remaining on the bridge to fight it out with an enemy now disorganized and confused. Swift to act as a fast transport closed in to ram, Commander Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding PARCHE as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than 50 feet but placing his submarine in a deadly cross-fire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent three smashing ‘down-the-throat’ bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing it as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action with the PARCHE and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.”

CDR George Levick Street, III

CDR George Levick Street, III
Commanding Officer, USS TIRANTE

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS TIRANTE during the First War Patrol of that vessel against enemy Japanese surface forces in the Harbor of Quelpart Island, off the Coast of Korea, on 14 April 1945. With the crew at surface battle stations, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Street approached the hostile anchorage from the south within 1,200 yards of the coast to complete a reconnoitering circuit of the island. Leaving the 10-fathom curve far behind, he penetrated the mined and shoal-obstructed waters of the restricted harbor despite numerous patrolling vessels and in defiance of fire shore-based radar stations and menacing aircraft. Prepared to fight it out on the surface if attacked, Commander Street went into action, sending two torpedoes with deadly accuracy into a large Japanese ammunition ship and exploding the target in a mountainous and blinding glare of white flames. With the TIRANTE instantly spotted by the enemy as she stood out plainly in the flare of light, he ordered the torpedo data computer set up while retiring and fired his last two torpedoes to disintegrate in quick succession the leading frigate and a similar flanking vessel. Clearing the gutted harbor at emergency full-speed-ahead, he slipped undetected along the shore line, diving deep as a pursuing patrol dropped a pattern of depth charges at the point of submergence. His illustrious record of combat achievement during the First War Patrol of the TIRANTE characterizes Commander Street as a daring and skilled leader and reflects the highest credit upon himself, his valiant command and the United States Naval Service.”

Pennant

Undersea Warfare Magazine “Historical Reflection” article.

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