Richard Miles McCool

Summary

Richard Miles McCool Jr. (January 4, 1922 – March 5, 2008) was a United States Navy officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

Richard Miles McCool Jr.
Capt. Richard McCool (USN) Medal of Honor.jpg
Captain McCool receives photograph from RADM French in 2006 at ceremony presenting McCool the Medal of Honor Flag
Born(1922-01-04)January 4, 1922
Tishomingo, Oklahoma
DiedMarch 5, 2008(2008-03-05) (aged 86)
Bremerton, Washington
Place of burial
US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1944–1974
RankCaptain
UnitUSS LCS(L)(3)-122
Battles/warsWorld War II
Battle of Okinawa
Korean War
Vietnam War
AwardsMedal of Honor

BiographyEdit

Richard M. McCool Jr. was born on January 4, 1922 in Oklahoma. McCool graduated from high school at the age of 15. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in political science.[1]

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he was accepted into a new Navy ROTC program, and later was appointed to the Naval Academy.[1] He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 (his class of 1945 graduated a year early).[2][3] By June 10, 1945, he was serving as a lieutenant on USS LCS(L)(3)-122, a Landing Craft Support ship. On that day, off the coast of Okinawa Island, McCool helped rescue the survivors of sinking destroyer USS William D. Porter. The next day, his own ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze. Although he suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds in the initial explosion, McCool continued to lead his crew in the firefighting and rescue efforts until relief arrived.

He also served in the Korean War and in the Vietnam War.[2] He retired at the rank of captain in 1974 after a 30-year career.[1][2]

McCool died of natural causes on March 5, 2008 at the age of 86 in a hospital in Bremerton, Washington.[2]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

 
USS William D. Porter sinking. McCool's LCS(L)(3)-122 is behind LCS(L)(3)-86

Lieutenant McCool's official Medal of Honor 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 USS LCS(L)(3)-122 during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Ryukyu chain, 10 and 11 June 1945. Sharply vigilant during hostile air raids against Allied ships on radar picket duty off Okinawa on 10 June, Lt. McCool aided materially in evacuating all survivors from a sinking destroyer which had sustained mortal damage under the devastating attacks. When his own craft was attacked simultaneously by 2 of the enemy's suicide squadron early in the evening of 11 June, he instantly hurled the full power of his gun batteries against the plunging aircraft, shooting down the first and damaging the second before it crashed his station in the conning tower and engulfed the immediate area in a mass of flames. Although suffering from shrapnel wounds and painful burns, he rallied his concussion-shocked crew and initiated vigorous firefighting measures and then proceeded to the rescue of several trapped in a blazing compartment, subsequently carrying 1 man to safety despite the excruciating pain of additional severe burns. Unmindful of all personal danger, he continued his efforts without respite until aid arrived from other ships and he was evacuated. By his staunch leadership, capable direction, and indomitable determination throughout the crisis, Lt. McCool saved the lives of many who otherwise might have perished and contributed materially to the saving of his ship for further combat service. His valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of extreme peril sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29)Edit

The last of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks, built at Huntington Ingalls, Pascagoula Mississippi, will be named in his honor.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Kelly, "The 'right stuff'", November 12, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Friedrich, "McCool Remembered as Hero, Democratic Leader", March 10, 2008.
  3. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". Notable Graduates. United States Naval Academy. Retrieved 2008-03-10.

ReferencesEdit

  • "Medal of Honor recipients - World War II (M-S)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  • Friedrich, Ed (March 10, 2008). "McCool Remembered as Hero, Democratic Leader". Kitsap Sun. Archived from the original on March 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  • Kelley, Leo (November 12, 2007). "The 'right stuff': Tishomingo native, Ret. Navy Capt. Richard McCool, state's only living Medal-of-Honor winner". Ada Evening News.

External linksEdit

  • "Medal of Honor: Richard M. McCool, Jr". The Daily Nightly. MSNBC.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  • Carter, M. Scott (March 12, 2008). "McCool a 'humble hero'". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved 2008-03-13.