Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, born 13 March 1914, in St. Louis, Mo., attended Western Military Academy prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy from the 11th Missouri District in 1933. Graduated and appointed an Ensign 3 June 1937, he served 2 years on board the New Mexico before reporting to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. for flight training. Designated Naval Aviator 2 May 1940, he was assigned to Fighting Squadron Three and soon after the declaration of war distinguished himself both in aerial combat and as a leader of men.
On 20 February 1942, without supporting aircraft and without hesitation, he challenged 9 enemy bombers headed for the carrier Lexington. For his daring and skill in shooting down 5 of the enemy planes and thus saving the carrier from serious damage he was awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony. Promotion, command responsibility, and additional examples of heroism followed in action against Marcus Island 31 August 1943, Wake Island 5 October, and a night interception near the Gilbert Islands 26 November. For these actions he received the Distinguished Flying Cross with gold star, in lieu of a second such award, and the Navy Cross. LCDR O’Hare was reported missing when his plane was lost during enemy action in the vicinity of Tarawa Atoll, 26 November 1943. He was declared dead 27 November 1944.
(DD–889: dp. 2,425; l. 390’6”; b. 41’1”; dr. 18’6”; s. 32 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5”, 16 40mm., 10 20mm., 5 21” tt., 6 dcp.; cl. Gearing)
O’Hare (DD–889) was laid down 27 January 1945 at Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas; launched 22 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Selma O’Hare, mother of LCDR E. H. O’Hare; and commissioned 29 November 1945, CDR R. W. Leach in command.
In February 1946, following shakedown, O’Hare became an active unit of the Navy ready to guard the freedom won during World War II. After spending 1946 in operations ranging from New Brunswick down to the Florida Keys, she embarked her first group of midshipmen for a cruise to Latin America during the summer of 1947. Departing Norfolk early in May 1948 she sailed to the Mediterranean temporarily serving under the United Nations’ flag as an evacuation ship off Haifa, Palestine, 24 June through July, during the first postwar Arab-Israeli conflict. Several goo 11 visits took place before departure for home in September at the conclusion of this first deployment with the Sixth Fleet.
Eight additional such tours of duty, prior to the end of 1962, permitted ship’s company to gain a great deal of familiarity with the area. Midshipman cruises and NATO maneuvers added new vistas and dimensions to her training exercises as did several rescue operations. Twice in 1952 this destroyer received commendations for her efforts after ships had collided at sea, while in 1957 and again in 1961 aviators from the carriers Randolph and Franklin D. Roosevelt respectively were plucked from the sea. Meanwhile, to update and increase her value to the Navy, O’Hare was converted during 1953 to a radar picket ship (DDR–889) and in 1958 received installation of the electronic data system. The next major modification, in in 1963, a FRAM Mk I overhaul, restored her original designation.
The increasing tempo and scope of conflict in Vietnam brought DD–889 an assignment to WestPac duty. Steaming from Norfolk, 1 June 1966, she assumed station as a gun support ship along the coast of Vietnam on 15 July. After firing missions in all four Corps areas in the South and operations off the communist North, O’Hare returned home 17 December via the Suez Canal completing a circumnavigation of the world. She remained along the East Coast until January 1969 when with Squadron 32 she again deployed to the Mediterranean.