USS O'KANE is the 27th ship in the ARLEIGH BURKE - class of guided missile destroyers and the first ship in the Navy named after Rear Admiral Richard H. O’Kane.
|General Characteristics:||Keel Laid: May 8, 1997|
|Launched: March 28, 1998|
|Commissioned: October 23, 1999|
|Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine|
|Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines|
|Blades on each Propeller: five|
|Length: 505,25 feet (154 meters)|
|Beam: 67 feet (20.4 meters)|
|Draft: 30,5 feet (9.3 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 8.300 tons full load|
|Speed: 30+ knots|
|Aircraft: None. But LAMPS 3 electronics installed on landing deck for coordinated DDG/helicopter ASW operations.|
|Armament: two |
|Homeport: Pearl Harbor, HI|
|Crew: 23 Officers, 24 Chief Petty Officers and 291 Enlisted|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS O'KANE. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
USS O'KANE Cruise Books:
History of USS O'KANE:
|December 6, 1994||Secretary of the Navy John Dalton announced the name of the new ARLEIGH BURKE Class destroyer|
|July 20, 1995||Contract to built O’KANE awarded to Bath Iron Works|
|May 8, 1997||Keel was laid|
|March 28, 1998||O’KANE was launched and christened|
|October 23, 1998|
|March 30, 1999||Alpha/Bravo Sea Trials|
|April 27, 1999||Charlie Sea Trials|
|June 25, 1999||Crew moved aboard|
|O'KANE commissioned at Pearl Harbor, Hi.|
|Nov. - Dec. 1999||Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials|
|July 2001 - January 19, 2002||WestPac Deployment as part of the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) Battle Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom|
|June - July 2002||Participation in RIMPAC 2002|
|2003||WestPac Deployment and involvement in Tomahawk strikes during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Persian Gulf|
|January 2005 - July 2005||WestPac Deployment as part of the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) Battle Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting Maritime Security Operations off the Horn of Africa|
|June - July 2006||Participation in RIMPAC 2006|
About the Destroyer’s Name, about Rear Admiral Richard H. O’Kane:
Richard H. O'Kane was born in Dover, New Hampshire, on February 2, 1911. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and the University of New Hampshire before entering the United States Naval Academy in 1930.
Upon graduation in 1934, O'Kane was commissioned as an Ensign and served on USS CHESTER and USS PRUITT before reporting for instruction in submarines at the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, in January 1938. After completing his training, O'Kane served on the submarine USS ARGONAUT until 1942, when he reported for duty as Executive Officer of USS WAHOO. For outstanding service on WAHOO, O'Kane was awarded the Silver Star Medal with two Gold Stars, and a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
In August 1943, O'Kane returned to the Mare Island Navy Yard where he assumed command of USS TANG upon her commissioning on October 15, 1943. After intensive training exercises in the San Diego area, TANG left for the Pacific, arriving in Pearl Harbor on January 8, 1944. Under Commander O'Kane, TANG went on five war patrols, sinking a total of 31 ships, totaling more than 227,000 tons, and damaging two other ships, a record unsurpassed by any American submarine.
During its fifth and final war patrol, which began on September 24 and ended on October 25, 1944, TANG sank 13 enemy ships. In what was to be her final battle, the TANG encountered a heavily escorted enemy convoy. Engaged in a fierce surface battle, Commander O'Kane directed TANG to fire her last two torpedoes at a crippled transport ship. The first torpedo went straight and true and struck its target. The second torpedo was faulty and turned around almost immediatley, heading directly for TANG. Ordering emergency speed, TANG tried to pull out of its path, but it struck the submarine in the stern, causing a violent explosion. Of the entire crew, only nine were able to escape the sinking submarine. They swam through the night until they were picked up by a Japanese destroyer escort eight hours later.
Commander O'Kane and the others from TANG were imprisoned on Formosa. He was later transferred to a secret prison camp near Tokyo where he was not registered and was therefore listed as "missing in action" until the camp's liberation two weeks after V-J Day. During his imprisonment, he and the other prisoners sruvived on a diet of less than 300 calories a day, eating mostly rice or barley, without fruit, vegetables or protein. Upon his release, O'Kane was suffering from scurvy and beriberi. He was evacuated by air to Pearl Harbor and, after a short hospitalization there, was transferred to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
After his recovery, O'Kane's commands included USS PELIAS and USS SPERRY, as well as the Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, Submarine Division THIRTY-TWO and Submarine Squadron SEVEN. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his exemplary service on TANG on March 27, 1947. Rear Admiral O'Kanes other military decoration include the Navy Cross with two Gold Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal. He also wrote two books based on his experiences in World War II, Clear the Bridge and WAHOO.
Rear Admiral O'Kane passed away in February 1994. He is survived by his wife, Ernestine, two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
USS O'KANE Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by Stefan Karpinski and show the O'KANE underway in Middle East waters in 2003.
The photo below was taken by me and show the O'KANE in Pearl Harbor, Hi., on March 14, 2008.
The photos below were taken by me and show the O'KANE undergoing maintenance at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hi., on March 8, 2012.
The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the O'KANE during a visit to Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on October 6, 2016.