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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Tang's (SS-306) battleflag. It is a replica of the original, lost with Tang.
It was designed and fabricated with full approval of the living Tang survivors, in the mid 1980's.
Text i.d. courtesy of William R. Leibold CDR, USN (Ret), last surviving crew member of the Tang (SS-306).
Flag courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

Tang (SS-306)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Kilo - Charlie

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Presidential Unit Citation

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 15 January 1943, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 17 August 1943; Commissioned USS Tang (SS-306), 15 October 1943; Final Disposition, sunk by own torpedo off Turnabout Island near Taiwan, 25 October 1944, 9 survivors. Struck from the Naval Register, 8 February 1945. Tang received four battle stars and two Presidential Unit Citations for World War II service. Her commanding officer received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Tang's final action.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 15' 2"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth Limit, 438 ft; Complement 6 Officers 60 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 4"/50 deck gun, two 20 mm guns. Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks-Morse main generator diesel engines, 5,400hp, Fuel Capacity 94,000 gal., four Elliot Motor Co., main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Tang & Tilefish209kTang (SS-306) on left, & Tilefish (SS-307) under construction at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 1 July 1943. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org
Tang & Tilefish275kTang (SS-306) on left, & Tilefish (SS-307) under construction at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 1 July 1943. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org
Tang & Tilefish117kTang (SS-306) on left, & Tilefish (SS-307) under construction at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 1 July 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 4747-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tang183kTang's (SS-306) Launching party: Left to right: Mrs. F. W. Scanland, LTJG L. R. Olsen, USN, Mrs. F. G. Crisp, Capt. F. W. Scanland, USN, Mrs. W. L. Friedell, RADM W. L. Friedell (Shipyard Commander), Mrs. L. R. Olsen (Matron of Honor), Capt. A. S. Pitre, USN, Mrs. Antonio S. Pitre (Sponsor), Capt. F. G. Crisp, USN, Congressman J. Leroy Johnson, Mrs. J. L. Johnson. USN photo contributed by Darryl L. Baker.
Tang46kNews clipping from the 20 August 1943 edition of the shipyard's newspaper the Grapevine of the Sponsor and Matron of Honor for the launching of the Tang (SS-306) at Mare Island on 17 August 1943. Left to right: Mrs. Cecily Olsen (Matron of Honor) and Mrs. A. S. Pitre (Sponsor). USN photo contributed by Darryl L. Baker.
Tang222k The Tang (SS-306) at the end of the ways during her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 17 August 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 5897-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tang157kThe Tang (SS-306) at the end of the ways during her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 17 August 1943. The fore poppet & packing from the launching is floating in the foreground. USN photo courtesy of mareislandlostboats.org.
Tang175kCommissioning ceremonies aboard the Tang (SS-306) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 October 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 7149-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tang42kCommemorative postal cover marking the Tang's (SS-306) commissioning at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA. 15 October 1943.Photo courtesy of Jack Tretule.
Tang70kTang (SS-306), off Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., 2 December 1943.
US Navy photo # NH 42273, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Tang93kA Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" float-plane, from North Carolina (BB-55) off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk.
US National Archives photo # 80-G-227990, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang116kA Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" float plane, from North Carolina (BB-55) off Truk with nine aviators on board, awaiting rescue by Tang (SS-306), 1 May 1944. The plane had landed inside Truk lagoon to recover downed airmen. Unable to take off with such a load, it then taxied out to Tang, which was serving as lifeguard submarine during the 29 April-1 May carrier strikes on Truk.
US National Archives photo # 80-G-227991, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang149kTang (SS-306) takes aboard air crewmen of downed aircraft and of a North Carolina (BB-55) OS2U float-plane that had landed to rescue them, off Truk on 1 May 1944.US National Archives photo # 80-G-80-G-227989, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang86kA Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" float plane, from North Carolina (BB-55) afire after it was hit by gunfire from Tang (SS-306), off Truk, 1 May 1944. The plane was destroyed after its crew and passengers were removed.US National Archives photo # 80-G-80-G-227992, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang143kTang's (SS-306) Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard H O'Kane (center), poses with the twenty-two air crewmen that Tang rescued off Truk during the carrier air raids there on 29 April-1 May 1944. The photograph was taken upon Tang's return to Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, in May 1944.US National Archives photo # 80-G-80-G-227987, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang151k Photo of a water color by LCDR E. T. Grigware, USNR of the rescue of 22 Naval Airmen by Tang (SS-306) off Truk Island 29-30 April 1944. Contributed by Darryl L. Baker.
Tang142kTang (SS-306) underway underwater. Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tang66k Tang (SS-306), returning to Pearl Harbor. USN / USNI photo.
Tang119kTang (SS-306) returning to Pearl Harbor after her 2nd War Patrol, Circa May 1944. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Levy, USN RET, and ussubvetsofworldwarii.org
Tang71kOil painting by Commander Albert K. Murray, USNR, Official U.S. Navy Combat Artist, depicting Commander Richard H. O'Kane, USN on board the submarine Tang (SS-306) in 1944. This photograph was taken to support the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition "Your Navy: Its contribution to America from Colonial Days to World Leadership", which opened on 25 October 1948. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97859, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tang167kTang's (SS-306) battleflag. It is a replica of the original, lost with Tang.
It was designed and fabricated with full approval of the living Tang survivors, in the mid 1980's.
Text i.d. courtesy of William R. Leibold CDR, USN (Ret), last surviving crew member of the Tang (SS-306).
Flag courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Tang424kThis photo is supposed to be a rendition of the Tang (SS-306). While the notation is correct, it should be noted that there is no deck gun mounted forward of sail, and the sail structure is too large.Text i.d. courtesy of William R. Leibold CDR, USN (Ret), last surviving crew member of the Tang (SS-306).
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tang59kOil on canvas painting by the artist Kevin Anderson entitled " Pearl Harbor Bound" depicts the Tang (SS-306) running on the surface on her way home after sinking their last ship on the boat's 4th patrol. In a month or so Tang would be sunk by its own torpedo and most of her men would be K.I.A. Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.
Tang212kOn 24 October 1944, during her fifth war patrol, Tang (SS-306) was sunk in Formosa Strait as a result of the malfunctioning of one of her own torpedoes which made a circular run and returned to strike the hull abreast the after torpedo room. The resulting detonation caused the ship to plunge by the stern within a few seconds.
This report is based on the information contained in the references.
The first portion of reference (a) is a narrative of Tang's fifth war patrol up to the time of her loss and was written from memory by the Commanding Officer upon his release form a Japanese prisoner of war camp at the end of the war, approximately one year after the action took place.
The second portion of reference (a) is a reconstruction of the events which occurred in Tang after the torpedo struck. Since the Commanding Officer was washed off the bridge when the ship sank, this portion is based on the stories of the eight other survivors as related to him at the first opportunity after their capture by the Japanese; five of the eight having gone down with the boat and later making individual underwater escapes form the forward torpedo room.
This reference, although understandably not as complete as formal war damage reports covering actions in which a submarine returns to base and damage can be thoroughly investigated, is an excellent presentation of the available data and is the only account in U.S. Naval history of the events inside a war-damaged U.S. submarine during and after hits sinking.
References (b) and (c) cover the escape problem facing the men trapped within the boat and the procedure used by those few who made successful escapes. These latter two references are based upon personal written and oral accounts of the survivors as related to representatives of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
The photograph of the torpedoing of U-977 is included to illustrate the magnitude of Tang's disaster. The PLATE was prepared by the Bureau.
Photo & text courtesy of ibiblio.org.
Tang67kGoogle Earth satellite photo of Tang's (SS-306) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Tang and her crew.
View courtesy of Google Earth.
Tang142kCommemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Tang (SS-306).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Tang142kNews on the march!
War crime trials testimony & Happy reunion for Tang (SS-306) survivor.
Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Submerged submarines130kRichard Hetherington “Dick” O'Kane was born in Dover, New Hampshire, on 2 February 1911. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1934 and spent his first years of active duty in the cruiser Chester (CL-27) and destroyer Pruitt (DD-347). He received submarine instruction in 1938 and was then assigned to Argonaut (SS-166) until 1942. Lieutenant O'Kane then joined the pre-commissioning crew of the new submarine Wahoo (SS-238), serving as her Executive Officer under Commanding Officer Dudley W. Morton and establishing a record as a very promising tactician. In July 1943, Lieutenant Commander O'Kane was detached from Wahoo and soon became Prospective Commanding Officer of Tang (SS-306), which was then under construction. He placed her in commission in October 1943 and commanded her through her entire career. In five war patrols, O'Kane and Tang sank an officially recognized total of 24 Japanese ships, establishing one of the Pacific War's top records for submarine achievement. He was captured by the Japanese when his ship was accidently sunk off China during the night of 24-25 October 1944 and was secretly held prisoner until the war's end some ten months later. Following his release, Commander O'Kane was awarded the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" during his submarine's final operations against Japanese shipping. In the years following World War II, Commander O'Kane served with the Pacific Reserve Fleet as Commanding Officer of the submarine tender Pelias (AS-14), testified at Japanese war crimes trials, was Executive Officer of the submarine tender Nereus and was Commander Submarine Division Thirty-Two. He was a student at the Armed Forces Staff College in 1950-51 and was subsequently assigned to the Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, initially as an instructor and, in 1952-53, as Officer in Charge. Promoted to the rank of Captain in July 1953, O'Kane commanded the submarine tender Sperry (AS-12) until June 1954 and then became Commander Submarine Squadron Seven. Following studies at the Naval War College in 1955-56, he served in Washington, D.C., with the Ship Characteristics Board. Captain O'Kane retired from active duty in July 1957 and, on the basis of his extensive combat awards, was simultaneously advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the Retired List. Richard H. O'Kane died on 16 February 1994. Biography courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
U.S. Navy Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Photo added 02/15/14.
Tang146kMedal of honor cachet attributed to Admiral Kane, 7 June 1983. Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Tang167kCommemorative cachet honoring the memory of the Tang's (SS-306) crew on eternal patrol.Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Tolling the Boats 117k Joyce DaSilva, the wife of Jesse DaSilva of the Tang (SS-306), one of the nine survivors of the boat, tosses a flower into a reflecting pool to honor the memory of one of the 52 submarines lost during World War II at the National Submarine Memorial-West on board Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif. On this Veterans Day, the Submarine Veterans of World War II transferred ownership of the memorial to the U.S. Navy.

The following text is from The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton., pg. 478.
"Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island was killed in the battle, and just before it he had wrote to his wife, Sarah, to tell her that he believed he was going to be killed and to express a tremulous faith that could see a gleam of light in the dark:
"But O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and float unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you in the gladdest days and in the gloomiest nights, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your chest it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait, for we shall meet again!"
Text i.d. courtesy of Marlynn Starring. Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Senior, Vice Commander, Los Angeles-Pasadena Base, USSVI.
U.S. Navy photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
Tang201k "Escape from the Tang (SS-306). Sunk by her own and last torpedo-final shot in an epic convoy battle-the ill fated submarine lies deep in Formosa Strait. As depth charges rain down, submariners open escape hatches. Strongest goes first with knife to cut away obstacles."

In Memorium:

In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 20th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S. submariners who died defending their county:

"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay..."
Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.

View the Tang (SS-306)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
oneternalpatrol.com
ComSubForPac Report of loss of USS TANG (SS 306) October 24, 1944 - 78 Men Lost
Legends of the Deep - TANG by Paul Crozier
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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