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USS O'Kane (DDG 77)

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
Propellers: two
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 MK 41 VLS for Standard missiles, Tomahawk; Harpoon missile launchers, one Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun, two Phalanx CIWS, Mk 46 torpedoes (from two triple tube mounts)
Homeport: Pearl Harbor, HI
Crew: 23 Officers, 24 Chief Petty Officers and 291 Enlisted


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Crew List:

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.


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USS O'KANE Cruise Books:


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History of USS O'KANE:

DateEvent
December 6, 1994Secretary of the Navy John Dalton announced the name of the new ARLEIGH BURKE Class destroyer
July 20, 1995Contract to built O’KANE awarded to Bath Iron Works
May 8, 1997Keel was laid
March 28, 1998O’KANE was launched and christened
October 23, 1998AEGIS light off
March 30, 1999Alpha/Bravo Sea Trials
April 27, 1999Charlie Sea Trials
June 25, 1999Crew moved aboard
October 23, 1999O'KANE commissioned at Pearl Harbor, Hi.
Nov. - Dec. 1999Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trials
July 2001 - January 19, 2002WestPac Deployment as part of the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) Battle Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
June - July 2002Participation in RIMPAC 2002
2003WestPac Deployment and involvement in Tomahawk strikes during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Persian Gulf
January 2005 - July 2005WestPac 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 2006Participation in RIMPAC 2006


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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.

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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.



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