CMDR RICHARD H. O’KANE
Commanding Officer U.S.S. Tang.
Vicinity Philippine Islands
23 and 24 October 1944
As commanding officer of U.S.S. Tang outnumbered and outgunned Tang and her crew operated against 2 enemy Japanese convoys on 23 and 24 October 1944. – This was her 5th and final war patrol.
O’kane boldly maneuvering his boat on the surface, into the midst of a heavily escorted convoy, withstanding a fusillade of shells from all directions he launched 3 devastating hits on 3 tankers then coolly swung his Boat to fire at a freighter while avoiding being rammed by an onrushing transport. It missed by mere inches,
Tang was boxed in by the vessels she hit, blazing tankers, and transports blocked every exit. Boxed in by blazing tankers,
O’kane blasted two sinking vessels with torpedoes to make a hole big enough to drive his Boat out of danger.
Twenty-four hours later, Tang and her crew, found another enemy convoy needing to be sunk.
Tang closed and sent 2 torpedoes each into the first and second transports and an adjacent tanker, all three vessels were destroyed.
Enemy warships bore down on Tang and O’kane charged the enemy aa high speed sinking two more vessels. The crew of USS Tang expended her last two torpedoes into the enemy convoy before she was hit by one of her own torpedoes that had circled back.
In her short career, US Tang made five war patrols, sank a total of 93,824 tons of enemy shipping, rescued 22 naval aviators and eventually won two Presidential Unit Citations.
Sunk by her own last torpedo, of the 87 crewmen aboard TANG, only nine survived and were picked up by enemy warships to spend the duration of the war in enemy POW camps.
Amongst the survivors was Tang’s only Skipper, Cmdr O’kane, who became one of the Navy’s most highly decorated submarine commanders.