Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Theater of Operations--Pacific
  • Awards and Medals
  • Medal of Honor
  • Boats-Ships--Aircraft Carriers
  • People-Places-Things--Japanese
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  • Biography
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  • World War II 1939-1945
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Medal of Honor Citation: CDR Joseph Timothy O'Callahan, CHC, USNR

O'Callahan, Joseph Timothy, Commander (Chaplain Corps), USNR. Born 14 May 1905, Boston, MA. Accredited to Massachusetts.

Citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lieutenant Commander O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led fire-fighting crews into the blazing inferno of the flight deck; he directed the jettoning of live ammunition and flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude and deep spiritual strength, Lieutenant Commander O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port." 

Published: Thu Sep 21 13:58:24 EDT 2017