Captain Richard M. McCool, Jr., USN, (1922-2008)

Richard Miles McCool Jr. was born on 4 January 1922 in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Appointed from that same state to the U.S. Naval Academy, he graduated an Ensign in June 1944. and was assigned to Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. In December, following training at the Amphibious Training Station, Solomons, Maryland, he assumed command of USS LCS 122 and was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1945. On 10 June, while operating off the Ryukyu Chain, Japan, he led his vessel to rescue survivors of USS William D. Porter after a Japanese kamikaze bomb exploded underneath her. The next evening, two Japanese kamikazes attacked. Organizing a counter attack, McCool's crew downed one of the kamikazes and damaged the second before it crashed into the vessel. Severely wounded and suffering severe burns, he led his men until evacuated due to his wounds. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty " on this occasion, McCool was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In January 1946, McCool was reverted back to Lieutenant Junior Grade. In July, he assumed command of USS LSC 44, then transferred to the destroyer USS McKean. In July 1947, he became the Aide to Commandant, Eighth Naval District at New Orleans, Louisiana. After instructor duty at the University of Oklahoma with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps in June 1949, he received orders to USS Frank Knox, later transferring to USS Leyte. In January 1951, McCool was promoted to Lieutenant. Completing Armed Forces Information School at Fort Slocum, New York, in June, he received orders to Commander Naval Base, Long Beach, California, and served as the Public Information Officer. A year later, he returned for duty at the Eighth Naval District. In July 1954, he received orders to be the Assistant for Public Information at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.

In June 1955, McCool was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. The following year, he reported overseas as a staff member of Commander, South Eastern Asia Treaty Organization at Bangkok, Thailand. In December 1958, he was assigned staff duty with Commandant of the Ninth Naval District at Great Lakes, Illinois, where he was promoted to Commander in July 1960. In April 1961, he reported served on the staff of Commander, First Fleet and transferred three years later for duty with Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan. Returning to the U.S., he continued staff duty with Commander, Seventh Fleet. In July 1965, McCool was promoted to Captain. In April 1966, he became Deputy Commander of the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Following his service in various public affairs posts, he retired from active duty in 1974 and became active in local politics in the Bremerton, Washington area. Richard M. McCool died on 5 March 2008 and is buried at Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.

This page features the only images we have concerning Richard M. McCool, Jr.

NH 95387-A

Lieutenant Junior Grade Richard M. McCool, Jr., USN

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 227.
Richard M. McCool Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor for " conspicuous gallantry" while Commanding Officer of USS LCS 122 during operations against the Japanese in the Ryukyu Chain, 10-11 June 1945.
McCool was temporarily promoted to Lieutenant while in command of LCS 122. This photograph was taken after January 1946 when McCool's temporary promotion to Lieutenant was reverted after World War II.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 70KB; 615 x 765 pixels

Photo #: 80-G-701648

Lieutenant Richard M. McCool, Jr., USN

is presented with the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, Washington, D.C. on 18 December 1945. The medal was awarded for "conspicuous gallantry" while in command of USS LCS 122 off Okinawa, Japan in June 1945.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 55KB; 675 x 765 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.


Medal of Honor citation of Lieutenant Richard Miles McCool, Jr., USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 227):

"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. LCS 122, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Ryukyu Chain, 10 and 11 June 1945. Sharply vigilant during hostile air raids against Allied ships on radar picket duty off Okinawa on 10 June, Lieutenant McCool aided materially in evacuating all survivors from a sinking destroyer which had sustained mortal damage under the devastating attacks. When his own craft was attacked simultaneously by two of the enemy's suicide squadron early in the evening of 11 June, he instantly hurled the full power of his gun batteries against the plunging aircraft, shooting down the first and damaging the second before it crashed his station in the conning tower and engulfed the immediate area in a mass of flames. Although suffering from shrapnel wounds and painful burns, he rallied his concussion-shocked crew and initiated vigorous fire-fighting measures and then proceeded to the rescue of several trapped in a blazing compartment, subsequently carrying one man to safety despite the excruciating pain of additional severe burns. Unmindful of all personal danger, he continued his efforts without respite until aid arrived from other ships and he was evacuated. By his staunch leadership, capable direction and indomitable determination throughout the crisis, Lieutenant McCool saved the lives of many who otherwise might have perished and contributed materially to the saving of his ship for further combat service. His valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of extreme peril sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

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