Skip to comments.Adm. Eugene Fluckey has passed away.
Posted on 06/29/2007 5:51:39 AM PDT by glm
For those familiar with Adm. Fluckey's life, he passed away last night. Adm. Fluckey was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and 4 Navy Crosses during WWII. He also wrote about his experiences in a book entitled "Thunder Below".
I wish his family well.
Bump for a hero.
“Flags of our Fathers” salute. (This book btw, sums up the courage of our fathers and the hell they went thru in regards to Iwo Jima and other battles, very well)
God Bless. He and His Family.
Support our troops
And or those who aren’t:
Gene Fluckey won the Congressional Medal of Honor on BARB’s 11th war patrol. He was a member of Loughlin’s Loopers, a wolfpack. Together, Commander Elliot Loughlin in QUEENFISH (SS-393), Commander Ty Shephard in PICUDA (SS-382), and Gene Fluckey in BARB harassed a large convoy off the China coast in January 1945, firing more than 30 torpedoes in a series of attacks. The pack was finally credited with sinking four ships and damaging two. QUEENFISH and PICUDA departed the area for lack of torpedoes but Fluckey, frustrated in his search for additional targets, decided that an aggressive pursuit close to the coast was required. He was rewarded when he detected many ships in Namkwan Harbor. He penetrated on the surface in water less than 36 feet, firing eight of his last 12 torpedoes, sinking one ship. He escaped unscathed and after missing a freighter with his last four torpedoes returned to Pearl Harbor to a royal welcome. He made one more patrol in BARB (SS-220), ingeniously sinking ships and craft with deck-launched rockets, and sending a raiding party ashore which blew up a train with large loss of life. He retired in 1972 and was awarded two Legions of merit for post-war service.
And to think that our country was nearly given away after the Greatest Generation gave their lives to save it.
That was a ballsy move, but, what about his crew? Did they get the MoH also? How often does one get a MoH for putting an entire boat crew in jeopardy?
Thanks for the info. I met Adm. Fluckey will researching information about his mother. She taught my great-aunt how to paint china. She was well known in Washington DC. She was in a car accident after visiting with Eugene at the Naval Academy and died shortly thereafter. He was a wonderful man. You knew he was a great person just by watching him interact with everyhone. I shall always remember him kindly.
So many of the Greatest Generation are leaving us now, during this "unpopular war" when America needs their memories and wisdom the most. It's heartbreaking.
He was the most highly decorated living American warrior.
His crew loved him and nicknamed him Lucky Fluckey. I guess they also did not mind blowing up a train for him. A submarine that blew up a train! Yes, during a war your job is to take down the enemy. Winners take chances (albeit calculated ones)and play to win and losers play not to lose. If given the chance to damage the enemy I guess you would choose to say there is no chance before even trying. Oh well, I guess that is the difference between that generation and this one.
"Thunder Below" was a wonderful book; real page-turner.
The CO of a warship is held accontable for the actions of his crew. While normally we hear about that concept in a negative context, it does follow that he is also accountable for heroic actions.
I must respectfully disagree. Admiral Fluckey has passed on, but what he gave to his country is alive today in the streets of Bagdhad, the plains in Afghanistan, on the ships in the Persian Gulf. That is our WWII veteran’s legacy.
Another Iwo Jima Marine passed away yesterday. He was one of the original flag raisers. His legacy is that I emailed a news article and obit to my son, USMC, that someone was kind enough to post on this site. We cannot forget these brave men now, and we must honour their lives and memories by following their fine example.
Members of the submarine's demolition squad pose with her battle flag at the conclusion of her 12th war patrol. Taken at Pearl Harbor, August 1945. During the night of 22-23 July 1945 these men went ashore at Karafuto, Japan, and planted an explosive charge that subsequently wrecked a train. They are (from left to right): Chief Gunners Mate Paul G. Saunders, USN; Electricians Mate 3rd Class Billy R. Hatfield, USNR; Signalman 2nd Class Francis N. Sevei, USNR; Ships Cook 1st Class Lawrence W. Newland, USN; Torpedomans Mate 3rd Class Edward W. Klingesmith, USNR; Motor Machinists Mate 2nd Class James E. Richard, USN; Motor Machinists Mate 1st Class John Markuson, USN; and Lieutenant William M. Walker, USNR. This raid is represented by the train symbol in the middle bottom of the battle flag.
Gee he must have been pushing 100. I had a friend in the Navy, a bubblehead, who named his twin sons Eugene and Bennett after Admiral Fluckey.
IIRC, the entire crew was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the Namkwan Harbor raid.
Wonderful post. Many thanks...If I can slightly digress from the topic at hand...it’s time to remember one of the truly great American commanders of WW II, whose genius as a leader of men and ships was matched only by his desire to avoid the spotlight and any publicity...Admiral Charlie Lockwood, ComSubPac in WW II...and IMHO, the man who may well be more responsible for the defeat of the Japanese than any of the more well known commanders of that war theater...
From the “Annapolis Capital” last Saturday:
Annapolis’ ‘Lucky Fluckey,’ a World War II legend, is in final stages of Alzheimer’s By EARL KELLY, Staff Writer
Retired Rear Adm. Eugene B. Fluckey, who entered the Hospice of the Chesapeake on Saturday in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s’ disease, is the subject of a new book titled “The Galloping Ghost.”
“Let’s gallop,” the redheaded, freckle-faced commander would tell his crew when it was time to get his submarine moving. And the Japanese called him “the ghost,” because they didn’t know where he came from or where he went.
The holder of four Navy Crosses and the Medal of Honor, Adm. Fluckey, 93, an Annapolis resident, is the most decorated living American, according to his biographer, Pennsylvania journalist Carl LaVo.
Of special interest locally, Adm. Fluckey raised money from private contributors in the 1950s to build Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. “He is the last of the great ones,” Mr. LaVo said yesterday. When asked what made Adm. Fluckey so great, Mr. LaVo said “tenaciousness.”
“He would always research a problem, and when he set a course, he stuck to it,” he said.
This passion for creativity could get annoying, and Mr. LaVo wrote of one point in Adm. Fluckey’s career: “In a poll among his squadron skippers he was voted the officer least likely to succeed because he ‘rocked the boat’ with too many new ideas.”
Adm. Fluckey’s former executive officer, retired Vice Adm. Robert W. McNitt, a Ginger Cove resident, said, “Gene was the ideal captain. “He was fearless and good-humored, and could solve complex technical problems. He could motivate his crew better than anyone I have ever seen.”
Adm. Fluckey’s daughter, Annapolis resident Barbara Fluckey Bove, described her father as “an optimistic, forward-looking person,” and attributes his many successes to the way he handled challenges.
“My dad’s big motto was ‘There are no problems, only solutions,’ “ Mrs. Bove said. “He lived that; he didn’t dwell on problems, because if you are dwelling on the problem, you can’t find a solution.”
Adm. Fluckey’s unsinkable attitude came through after World War II, when he was the American attache to the NATO regional office in Portugal. Terrorists blew up the brand-new building in 1971, just before its dedication. Adm. Fluckey had the debris cleaned up and positioned television cameras so it looked like the building still had windows.
“He wouldn’t give them (the bombers) the satisfaction,” Mrs. Bove said.
A 1935 Naval Academy graduate nicknamed “Lucky Fluckey,” Adm. Fluckey commanded the USS Barb, whose battle flag was the caricature of a one-eyed mackerel throwing firecrackers.
He won his crew’s respect by knowing their jobs as well as they did, whether it was winding the armature in a motor or repairing a leak, according to Mr. LaVo. Also, he knew that little things could mean a lot.
Adm. Fluckey would go against Navy regulations to smuggle cases of beer aboard, often stacking the showers full.
Cold beers were the commander’s way of rewarding the crew for enduring difficult circumstances, as when Japanese ships circled overhead, ready to make the kill.
On at least one such occasion, as the enemy hovered, Adm. Fluckey got on the intercom and told the crew to start putting beer in the cooler. The message was simple: As improbable as it may have seemed, this would not be defeat, it would be a victory celebration.
According to ship’s records, the Barb survived an estimated 400 shells, bombs and depth charges during its five patrols under his command. On the flip side, the Barb under Adm. Fluckey sank “85 vessels in all, including an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, a destroyer, and numerous cargo ships,” or more tonnage than any other submarine, according to Mr. LaVo. The Navy couldn’t confirm some of the kills, though, because some were made in Japanese harbors, without witnesses or intelligence reports to back up the claims.
The Navy credited Adm. Fluckey with 25 kills.
Adm. Fluckey revolutionized submarine warfare when he decided that torpedoes were too limited, and mounted a rocket launcher on his submarine, according to Mr. LaVo.
On the night of June 22, 1945, the Barb slipped into the harbor of Shari, Japan, a mining and lumber area. The sub opened fire with 12 rockets and set the town on fire.
“It was the first ballistic missile strike by an American submarine in the history of warfare,” Mr. LaVo wrote.
Another time, Adm. Fluckey landed some of the Barb’s crew at Karafuto, where they planted charges and blew up a troop transport train. This was the only American invasion of the Japanese mainland during World War II, according to Mr. LaVo.
Finding solutions for difficult problems has always been Adm. Fluckey’s forte. Severe nearsightedness overtook him while he was a midshipman at the Naval Academy, a malady that forced a lot of would-be officers out of the military in the 1930s. Midshipman Fluckey set about studying optics and anatomy, and, with a doctor’s assistance, designed eyeglasses that would help him improve his eyesight. At night, while his roommate read his homework to him, Midshipman Fluckey exercised his eyes, until he passed the eye examination with flying colors.
When Adm. Fluckey married Marjorie Gould, who suffered from diabetes, he studied her reactions to certain foods and devised a diet that let her live a full life with the deadly disease, according to Mrs. Bove, the couple’s only child.
After World War II, Adm. Fluckey, while assigned to head the Electrical Engineering Department at the academy, was tasked with raising money to build a stadium the armed forces could be proud of. He raised more than $2 million for Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Adm. Fluckey thought it a waste of money to hire professional fundraisers, so he and others took it upon themselves to do the job. The result was that 98 cents out of every dollar raised went directly to construction.
In 2003, the Naval Academy Alumni Association named Adm. Fluckey one of its Distinguished Graduates.
And one of the things he was most proud of, according to his family and Mr. LaVo: No one on his crew was ever awarded a Purple Heart.
Published June 26, 2007, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright © 2007 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
To buy “The Galloping Ghost,” contact area bookstores. To get a copy through its publisher, the Naval Institute Press, call 800-233-8764 or go online to www.usni.org.
I believe Admiral Fluckey holds another distinction in that he’s only one of four or five men who are both Eagle Scouts and MOH winners.
Met the admiral once...a great hero who now joins those on eternal patrol! RIP from a fellow “bubblehead”. Flood negative to the mark, five degree down bubble, planes full foward, dive, dive!
According to the Wikipedia (groan), the crew received the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) for that patrol. Not bad.
Ex Submariner saluate! Rest well Admiral.
Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S.S. Barb. Place and date: Along coast of China, 19 December 1944 to 15 February 1945. Entered service at: Illinois. Born: S October 1913, Washington, D.C. Other Navy award: Navy Cross with 3 Gold Stars. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Barb during her 11th war patrol along the east coast of China from 19 December 1944 to 15 February 1945. After sinking a large enemy ammunition ship and damaging additional tonnage during a running 2-hour night battle on 8 January, Comdr. Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 25 January, located a concentration of more than 30 enemy ships in the lower reaches of Nankuan Chiang (Mamkwan Harbor). Fully aware that a safe retirement would necessitate an hour's run at full speed through the uncharted, mined, and rock-obstructed waters, he bravely ordered, "Battle station--torpedoes!" In a daring penetration of the heavy enemy screen, and riding in 5 fathoms of water, he launched the Barb's last forward torpedoes at 3,000-yard range. Quickly bringing the ship's stern tubes to bear, he turned loose 4 more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining 8 direct hits on 6 of the main targets to explode a large ammunition ship and cause inestimable damage by the resultant flying shells and other pyrotechnics. Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the Barb through to safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Comdr. Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.
I consider it no sacrifice to die for my country. In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these have lived rather than to regret that they have died.
General George S. Patton
Absolutely one of the best!!!
“That was a ballsy move, but, what about his crew? Did they get the MoH also? How often does one get a MoH for putting an entire boat crew in jeopardy?”
Putting men and equipment “in jeopardy” is what officers are trained to do.
The job description of the military is kill the enemy and destroy his possessions. When they do it against overwhelming force, killing the enemy men and destroying enemy equipment, and so do without loss of the men and equipment under their command, recognition of such service “above and beyond the call of duty” is call for.
Symbols of such outstanding service include the medals and awards earned upon the battlefield by Admiral Fluckey.
In attempting to answer your question, “How often does one get a MoH for putting an entire boat crew in jeopardy?”, have you considered that such remarkable military success usually requires putting the entire ship in jeopardy?
Today’s Clintonized, over-lawyered, Jag infested, military may well no longer be capable of such outstanding command decisions. Being picked to death at a court martial by Jaggies tends to inhibit such outstanding command decision making.
But, such was the intent of Clinton, most Jaggies, and the rest of the socialism afflicted.
One final note. Admiral Fluckey stated that he's most proud of the fact that during his war patrols no one under his command ever received the Purple Heart.
The Barb did see action in the Atlantic and sank a German-flagged merchant vessel.
God be with him and his family.
The Barb did 5 Atlantic war patrols Oct. 1942 July 1943 and 7 Pacific war patrols Sept. 1943 Aug. 1945.
More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Barb_%28SS-220%29
A final salute to a warrior, in every sense of the word.
Thank you gentlemen (if one of you is a lady thank you and sorry for the insult)
Rest in Peace!
Need citation as http://www.rddesigns.com/ww2/barb.html says nothing of German Flagged ship but mentions damage to Spanish tanker Campomanes by mistake: “Barb assumed this to have been an Axis ship and fired by mistake.”
Need citation, see post #39
In wartime, just leaving port and sailing into enemy waters would put the entire boat in jeopardy. Therefore, one must wonder what part of ‘in harm’s way’ do you not understand?
I hope not but Tommy Boy (as http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0985699/ reports) is playing Col. Claus von Stauffenberg who tried to blow up Hitler in 1944.
I wonder if von Stauffenberg... is spinning in his grave.
“Luckey Fluckey” perhaps the submarine skipper the United States Navy ever produced. I can only imagine what it must haave been like on a war patrol..........
His was a life well lived. May he rest peacefully in the arms of the Lord.
From another website:
'Living in Washington, I had the honor of knowing him and being able to introduce him to my bride. He was the kind of hero who was humble and discounted the worthiness of being considered a hero.
My bride - my little Norwegian blue-eyed blonde sweetheart - recognized the Medal of Honor suspended from the light blue ribbon around his neck and walked up to him and said,"Sir, I know what that medal means. Could I have the honor of shaking your hand?"
"My dear, This is not my Medal. It belongs to my gallant crew, they earned it .They just let me wear it. The only thing I ever won on my own was a freckle contest at Woodward and Lothrop as a kid."
And he gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek. (Woodward and Lothrop was a large department store in Washington, affectionately known as Woodies. It no longer exists, sadly.) That statement was characteristic of the gentleman.
I have never read anything like this before. He was a truly great man to be so humble.
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