It's about time I included an American in my little collection of
"Sub-Humans" .... and after much consideration ... this is
probably the best candidate ....
"Dick" ("Killer") O'Kane.
Master of the ill-fated USS Tang.
Hailing from New Hampshire, O'Kane distinguished
himself by being the most successful US submarine skipper in terms of
ships sunk. Various sources seem to differ in this regard as usual, but
the Arlington cemetery records credit Tang with 33 Japanese
merchant and naval ships sunk. He and his crew also distinguished
themselves by almost becoming specialists in rescuing downed allied
It was during the Tang's fifth war patrol
in October 1944 that O'Kane was awarded the Medal of Honor in two actions
that closely emulated that of the USS Parche (QV). In the last
gallant surface action he torpedoed, damaged or sunk no less than four
tankers, four transports and a destroyer. I suppose he "Got
Mad" too ...... !
Unfortunately and tragically, Tang became
a victim of that great
nemesis of the US submarine service. One of its own torpedoes! O'Kane's
final 'fish' ran in a circle and fatally struck the American boat.
Only O'Kane and three others from the bridge
survived the sinking, together with a mere five men who managed to escape
the sunken boat. They were all picked up by a Japanese destroyer and
suffered ten months of privation as POW's in Japan. Upon release in 1945,
Commander O'Kane weighed
a mere 88lbs.
Retiring as a Rear Admiral in 1957, O'Kane
finally left us in 1994, survived by his wife. She is reported as saying
"The hardest thing for him for the rest of his life was that he
came home .... and his men didn't ...."
I know how he must have felt. I suppose that that
says it all ....