Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fremont Ohio Native Louis C. Kaiser Lost His Life While Serving Aboard the WWII Submarine U.S.S. Tang

Fremont native Louis C. Kaiser who served as a motor machinist mate aboard the celebrated submarine Tang, lost his life while on the submarine's 5th patrol in the Formosa Straits. The Tang was sunk by her own defective torpedo. Thirteen men escaped from the forward torpedo room, and by the time the last made his exit, the heat from the fire was so intense that the paint on the bulkhead was scorching, melting, and running down. Only eight reached the surface, and of these but five were able to swim until rescued.

In all nine survivors were picked up by a Japanese destroyer escort. On board were victims of Tang's previous sinkings. They inflicted tortures on the men from the Tang. Captain Richard O'Kane received the worst of the clubbings and kickings. The nine suffered as prisoners of war until the end of WWII.  

In her five patrols, the Tang is credited with sinking 31 ships, totaling 227,800 tons and damaging two for 4,100 tons. This record is unequaled among American submarines. The loss of the Tang by her own torpedo, the last one fired on the most successful patrol ever made by a  U. S. submarine, was a stroke of singular misfortune. She is credited with having sunk 13 vessels for 107,324 tons of enemy shipping on this patrol, and her Commanding Officer Richard O'Kane was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Commander Richard O'Kane receiving the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman

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