New amphibious transport dock ship to be named after WWII MOH recipient from Okinawa

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New amphibious transport dock ship to be named after WWII MOH recipient from Okinawa

A cool story from Stripes, where the navy is continue it's recent streak of naming new ships after heroes from WWII:

The soon-to-be-built USS Richard M. McCool will honor Capt. Richard M. McCool Jr., who served aboard Landing Craft Support ship 122 off the coast of Okinawa during the war, the service announced Wednesday.

The McCool — the Navy’s 13th San Antonio-class landing platform dock ship — “will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious-ready groups,” a Navy statement said.

On June 11, 1945, McCool’s ship was attacked by three kamikaze aircraft near Okinawa. He was temporarily knocked unconscious, but awoke in time to lead his fellow sailors in saving the ship and rescuing its injured sailors, the Navy said.

His citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the USS LCS(L)(3)-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, Lt. 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 2 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 firefighting measures and then proceeded to the rescue of several trapped in a blazing compartment, subsequently carrying 1 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, Lt. 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 U.S. Naval Service.

Unfortunately Captain McCool passed away in 2008, but he did do an excellent interview before that:

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.