29 June 2007

RIP: RADM Eugene B Fluckey

ZUI this article from Navy Times:
Eugene Bennett Fluckey, a legendary World War II submariner and one of the most highly decorated living American servicemen, died Thursday night [28 June] at a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was 93.

In five war patrols as the skipper of the submarine Barb, Fluckey sank dozens upon dozens of Japanese ships and destroyed many more small craft and shore installations, according to the Naval Historical Center. Fluckey’s total decorations included the Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, and Presidential Unit Citations and Navy Unit Commendations for him and his crew.

Before transferring to the submarine service in 1938, he served on battleship USS Nevada (BB 36) and destroyer USS McCormick (DD 223). He then served on USS S-42 (SS 153), and completed five war patrols on USS Bonita (SS 165) before assuming command of USS Barb (SS 220) on 27 April 1943.

The Medal of Honor was awarded for a war patrol conducted on board Barb in 1944-45. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Barb during her 11th war patrol along the east coast of China from 19 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, Comdr. Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 25 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 Barb's last forward torpedoes at 3,000-yard range. Quickly bringing the ship's stern tubes to bear, he turned loose 4 more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining 8 direct hits on 6 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 to safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Comdr. Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.

After the war, Fluckey was posted to the Pentagon, becoming Admiral Nimitz's aide after the latter became CNO. He served as commanding officer of Submarine Division 52 and as captain of USS Sperry (AS 12) before being promoted to rear admiral in 1960; afterwards, he became Commander, Amphibious Group 4 and, later, Commander, Submarines, Pacific. He also served as the head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the US Naval Academy, and as US Naval Attaché in Portugal, finally retiring from the Navy in 1972.

His book Thunder Below! was published in 1992. A biography, Galloping Ghost: The Extraordinary Life of Submarine Captain Eugene Fluckey (by Carl LaVO) was published this year by the Naval Institute Press.

H/T to Bubblehead.

Update 1930 1 Jul: Finally had time to check, and as I thought, RADM Fluckey was the last surviving MoH submariner - the only one, in fact, to make it into the 21st century. There were eight all told, seven from World War II and one from between the wars (awarded for heroism when his boat was sunk in a collision). Including Fluckey, they were:
TM2/c Henry Breault (14 Oct 1900-5 Dec 1941)
Capt John P Cromwell (11 Sep 1901-19 Nov 1943)
Comdr Samuel D Dealey (13 Sep 1906-24 Aug 1944)
Comdr Eugene B Fluckey (5 Oct 1913-28 Jun 2007)
Comdr Howard W Gilmore (29 Sep 1902-7 Feb 1943)
Comdr Richard H O'Kane (2 Feb 1911-16 Feb 1994)
Comdr Lawson P Ramage (19 Jan 1909-15 Apr 1990)
Lt Comdr George L Street III (27 Jul 1913-26 Feb 2000)
(Rank given is that held at the time of the action for which the medal was awarded.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Admiral Fluckey was indeed a hero of the United States. One of our best and brightest when we needed his type the most. GOD Speed. Splice the main brace!