Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

McCool, Richard M.

McCool, Richard M.

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Captain, USN (Retired), (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.