Rank and organization:   Commander (Chaplain Corps), U.S. Naval Reserve,
Place and date:   Near Kobe, Japan, 19 March 1945.
Entered service at:
Birth:   14 May 1904, Boston, Mass.
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin
when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during
offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and
forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted
metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan groped his way
through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst
of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets, and other armament. With
the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining
down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded
and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and
led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he
directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine;
he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing
deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which
forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them.
Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Comdr.
O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight
heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death
and to return their stricken ship to port.
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)