Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Update on RADM Fluckey

My personal hero, and the only surviving submariner who earned the Medal of Honor, has been living in Annapolis for many years. Over at Rontini's BBS, someone who knows Gene Fluckey posted an update on how he's been doing:

"...When we last visited Margaret to take her to brunch the Admiral had been moved to the skilled nursing wing -- with my parent's own health issues, I can't remember if he had had a slight stroke or not -- but the Admiral is suffering from advancing Alzheimer's and he is not always able to process information about where he is or who is with him... some days are good, some are not, according to Margaret. There was no chance in hell anyone besides his immediate family would see him in that state... again, as it should be. We had a lovely time at brunch with her, and we could easily picture Gene there with us, but he was not. A very close friend of Gene's, one of his top officers from BARB, wanted to visit him in the nursing facility, and was refused by Margaret... she is the perfect Navy Admiral's wife, she knows how to aid him, how to protect him, and now that it is required, how to protect his image and legacy. Better that we should remember a lively, talkative, and vibrant elder warrior than to see a tiny, frail, failing man in his last days..."

Read the whole thing. When Gene Fluckey finally rests his oar, our country will have lost one of her greatest heroes. I'm just glad he was able to share his story with a new generation of submariners when he was still able to do so. Although the memories may not be as clear for him now as they once were, all of us can still remember what he did for the cause of freedom:

"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. Barb during her 11th war patrol along the east coast of China from 19 December 1944 to 15 February 1945. After sinking a large enemy ammunition ship and damaging additional tonnage during a running 2-hour night battle on 8 January, Comdr. Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 25 January, located a concentration of more than 30 enemy ships in the lower reaches of Nankuan Chiang (Mamkwan Harbor). Fully aware that a safe retirement would necessitate an hour's run at full speed through the uncharted, mined, and rock-obstructed waters, he bravely ordered, "Battle station—torpedoes!" In a daring penetration of the heavy enemy screen, and riding in 5 fathoms (9 m) of water, he launched the Barb's last forward torpedoes at 3,000 yard (2.7 km) range. Quickly bringing the ship's stern tubes to bear, he turned loose 4 more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining 8 direct hits on 6 of the main targets to explode a large ammunition ship and cause inestimable damage by the resultant flying shells and other pyrotechnics. Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the Barb through to safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Comdr. Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service."

Update 2326 14 Dec: This is one of my favorite pictures; it shows, from left to right, RADM Fluckey, RADM Dick O'Kane, and CAPT George Street -- three of the four Sub Force Medal of Honor awardees who survived the war. (The fourth was VADM Lawson "Red" Ramage.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been impressed with ADM Fluckey's description in Thunder Below of his greatest accomplishment during all his war patrols: that he lost not a single one of his men. Bold and daring, he was a true leader and great warrior.

12/14/2005 3:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely a warrior who knew how to bring the battle to the enemy.

When he does rest his oar, let us know. The next day, when the Navy orders half-mast, I want to be out on the pier, and stand a bit straighter, hand over heart, in honor of a great Navy man, and one helluva warrior

12/14/2005 7:53 AM

Blogger MT1(SS) said...

"When he does rest his oar, let us know. The next day, when the Navy orders half-mast, I want to be out on the pier, and stand a bit straighter, hand over heart, in honor of a great Navy man, and one helluva warrior."

I couldn't agree more.

12/14/2005 12:11 PM

Blogger WillyShake said...

Amen to that. May our country never lack such heroes!

Great posting--thanks!

12/14/2005 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know that Admiral Fluckey was still alive.This is a great post on some of the last of our old heroes.

12/26/2005 8:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father Emil Novak served with Adm Fluckey (WP's 9-11)- He always admired and revered him.

Joel Novak

1/09/2006 3:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all just received this via official email here at NUWC:
"Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 5:55 PM

Gentlemen -

I was informed this afternoon that Admiral Fluckey died this morning as a result of the complications reported by his daughter in the email below. An obituary and funeral arrangements will be promulgated when available. I was told that Admiral Fluckey's desire was to be cremated and buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery. His former XO on BARB, Max Duncan, is in charge of the arrangements."

I tried to search for more news on the Admiral's passing, but haven't found any more details yet. Our Navy and our nation are poorer today without him.


5/24/2006 9:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Admiral Fluckey's grandson, and I can assure you that he has not passed on yet. He is still in the care of Margaret at their assisted living facility. The rumor of his passing started in May when he was transferred to a hospital for slight pneumonia, and one doctor decided that he should not be treated becuse he is old and has alzheimers - she decided that hi quality of life was too poor.
He was transferred to another hospital so his primary physician could treat him, and has recovered fully from the pneumonia. He is still very lively, jokes with the nurses and visitors, but is not lucid from one minute to the next as is typical with alzheimers.

8/20/2006 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RADM Fluckey died last night, June 28th at 11:45 PM in Annapolis. He was a great man, and will live on in our hearts and memories, and in the annals of history. A memorial service will be held at the USNA in July. Godspeed to him on his eternal patrol.

6/29/2007 7:31 AM

Blogger John Donaldson said...

Just read this on Rontini's BBS:

Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, went on Eternal Patrol at 11:45 PM EDT on June 28, 2007. He was in the Hospice Unit at Anne Arundel Hospital, Annapolis Md.

I saw that he had another book out entitled "Galloping Ghost" which I have ordered from Amazon.

I had the honor of interviewing him when he was here in Norfolk a number of years ago and also hearing his presenation on his adventures on BARB. You should have seen the sparkle in his eyes as he unfurled a replica of BARB's battle flag and pointed out with pride the train that BARB was responsible for destroying!

Quite a man - they aren't making them like that these days!


6/30/2007 9:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read the news that ADM Fluckey had passed on I knew I had to honor him the only way I could and that was to reread his book, "Thunder Below!" I have hardly put the book down, except to go to work, eat and sleep. While I read his words he is still very much alive.

signed: ETCS(SS), Retired

7/13/2007 8:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thunder Below is an incredible book. ……simply put, a pure definition of a MAN.

10/17/2007 4:48 PM


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