Sunday, October 25, 2009

Professor Of Mathematics, US Navy Captain, Medal Of Honor Recipient, Catholic Priest
Father Joseph T. O’Callahan

Congressional Medal of Honor 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 on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the 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.
His sister became a Maryknoll nun, Sister Rose Marie, and was held prisoner for 3 years in the Phillipines. On 20 October 1965, she launched and christened the USS O'Callahan, the first nun to sponsor a U.S. Navy ship.


Blogger Kindred Spirit said...

This priest is a real American hero--thank you for posting this.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

The citation wasn't clear. Fr. O'Callahan survived the event. Right?

He would cry if he saw what happened to the Church today.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Yes, he survived the attacks on the USS Franklin, CVA-13 (Another in the series of "unlucky 13).

Fr is seen on the far right in the group shot with Truman.

And yes, he would be disgusted at the "fresh breeze" that's turned into a force 5 hurricane.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Esther G. said...

I've been saving this post to show my husband who is a math prof and whose father and uncles were all in the Navy during WWII. I finally shared it with him. He loved it! Thank you.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

My pleasure, Esther.

8:53 PM  

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