Buckner, Thomas Wooldridge, LTJG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
112X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Submarine Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1944, USS Harder (SS-257)
Service Years
1942 - 1944
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Buckner, Thomas Wooldridge, LTJG.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Nashville, TN
Last Address
2005 Belcourt Ave
Nashville, TN
(mother ~ Harriet Eddings Buckner)

Casualty Date
Aug 24, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Lost At Sea-Unrecovered
Not Specified
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Tablets of the Missing (Cenotaph)

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Battle of Dasol Bay
Early the next day, Harder and Haddo attacked and destroyed three coastal defense vessels off Bataan, Harder sinking frigates Matsuwa and Hiburi; then, joined by Hake that night, they headed for Caiman Point, Luzon. At dawn 23 August Haddo attacked and fatally damaged Asakaze off Cape Bolinao. Enemy trawlers towed the stricken destroyer to Dasol Bay, and Haddo, her torpedoes expended, informed Harder and Hake the following night of the attack and left the wolf-pack for replenishment at Biak.

Harder and Hake remained off Dasol Bay, searching for new targets. Before dawn 24 August they identified what they thought was a Japanese minesweeper and the three-stack Siamese destroyer Phra Ruang. It was later found out to be Kaibokan CD-22 and PB-102 (ex-USS Stewart (DD-224)). As Hake closed to attack, the destroyer turned away toward Dasol Bay. Hake broke off her approach, turned northward, and sighted Harder's periscope about 600–700 yards (550–640 m) dead ahead. Swinging southward, Hake then sighted the CD-22 about 2,000 yards (1,800 m) off her port quarter swinging toward them. To escape the charging escort, Hake started deep and rigged for silent running. At 07:28 she heard 15 rapid depth charges explode in the distance astern. She continued evasive action that morning, then returned to the general area of the attack shortly after noon. She swept the area at periscope depth but found only a ring of marker buoys covering a radius of one-half mile.

The vigorous depth charge attack had ended the career of Harder with all hands. The Japanese report of the attack concluded that "much oil, wood chips, and cork floated in the vicinity."

Dubbed "Hit 'Em Again, Harder," she had wreaked havoc among Japanese shipping. Her record of aggressive daring exploits became almost legendary. All six of her patrols were designated successful.

Harder received six battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation for World War II service. In accordance with Navy custom, the citation was presented to the second Harder upon commissioning.

Harder‍ 's loss brought an end to the U.S. submarine force's happy time, and the demoralization of the submarine force boosted Japanese morale, confident that as a result of these, more U.S. submarines will be lost while Japanese shipbuilding would easily catch up with shipping losses, and thus returning the tide of the war in favour of the Japanese.

Despite the losses, towards the end of the war U.S. submarines were actively penetrating through the Inland Sea, and the Japanese shipping losses continued, albeit at a slower rate.
Name of Award
Silver Star
Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Thomas Wooldridge Buckner (NSN: 0-185336), United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the U.S.S. HARDER (SS-257), during the FIFTH Wear Patrol of that Submarine from 26 May 1944 to 3 July 1944, in the Sulu Sea. As Torpedo Data Computer Operator his outstanding skill and his complete coolness and courage in the face of immediate destruction of his vessel enabled his commanding officer to have complete confidence in his fire control party such that he could use the total offensive power of the submarine resulting in the outstanding performance of sinking five first-line enemy destroyers out of six attacks. The fact that most of these attacks were made with the enemy destroyers being alerted required perfect performance of duty by this officer under the utmost tension. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to all, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief, Pacific: Serial 033175 (October 1, 1945)
Action Date: May 26 - July 3, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Division: U.S.S. Harder (SS-257)
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Submarine Officer Badge
Submarine Combat Patrol Badge - 2 Patrols

 Duty Stations
USS Harder (SS-257)
  1943-1944, USS Harder (SS-257)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 Submarine War Patrols
  1944-1944 World War II
  1944-1944 USS HARDER (SS-257) 4th War Patrol
  1944-1944 USS HARDER (SS-257) 5th War Patrol
 Colleges Attended 
Vanderbilt University
  1938-1942, Vanderbilt University
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Dec 02, 1942, Service entry date & Serial Number
  Jul 24, 1943, Reported on Board USS Harder
  Oct 02, 1945, Declared Dead
  Oct 06, 2015, General Photos1
 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2012, World War II Fallen
  2015, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2015, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2015, WW II Memorial National Registry
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