Rank and organization:   Commander, U.S. Navy, commanding U.S.S. Tang.
Place and date:   Vicinity Philippine Islands, 23 and 24 October 1944.
Entered service at:
Birth:   2 February 1911, Dover, N.H.
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. Tang operating
against 2 enemy Japanese convoys on 23 and 24 October 1944, during her
fifth and last war patrol. Boldly maneuvering on the surface into the midst
of a heavily escorted convoy, Comdr. O'Kane stood in the fusillade of bullets
and shells from all directions to launch smashing hits on 3 tankers, coolly
swung his ship to fire at a freighter and, in a split-second decision,
shot out of the path of an onrushing transport, missing it by inches. Boxed
in by blazing tankers, a freighter, transport, and several destroyers,
he blasted 2 of the targets with his remaining torpedoes and, with pyrotechnics
bursting on all sides, cleared the area. Twenty-four hours later, he again
made contact 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 ship and in quick succession sent 2 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 l,000-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 2 torpedoes into
the remnants of a once powerful convoy before his own ship went down, Comdr.
O'Kane, aided by his gallant command, achieved an illustrious record of
heroism in combat, enhancing the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)