Oakley, Thomas Benjamin, Jr., CDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1944, USS Growler (SS-215)
Service Years
1930 - 1944

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

19 kb

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael D. Withers (Mike), OSCS to remember Oakley, Thomas Benjamin, Jr., CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Staten Island, NY
Last Address
Los Angeles, CA

Casualty Date
Nov 08, 1944
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Other Explosive Device
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - Manila, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

USS Growler's (SS-215) final war patrol began in Freemantle, Australia, 20 October 1944, operating in wolfpack with two other submarines. On 8 November, in concert with Hake and Harder, the order to commence firing was given attacking a convoy. Growler was never heard from again, and the cause of her sinking is unknown. Commander Oakley was listed as Missing in Action and later declared dead 8 November 1945.

Legion of Merit
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 348 (March 1946)
Action Date: December 12, 1943 - January 5, 1944
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Tarpon (SS-175)
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Commander Thomas Benjamin Oakley, Jr. (NSN: 0-73499), United States Navy, was awarded the Legion of Merit (Posthumously) for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. TARPON (SS-175) from 12 December 1943 to 5 January 1944.

Navy Cross
Awarded for Action During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Growler (SS-215)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Thomas Benjamin Oakley, Jr. (NSN: 0-73499), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. GROWLER (SS-215), on the TENTH War Patrol of that submarine during the period 11 August 1944 to 26 September 1944, in enemy controlled waters of the Southwest Pacific. Striking fiercely at a large Japanese convoy in a daring night surface action, Commander Oakley delivered a fast bow attack, sinking a tanker and damaging a freighter, then, swinging hard right under terrific shellfire, shot four stern torpedoes point blank at an aggressive destroyer, exploding the target in billows of smoke. Threatened with depth-charging and under furious surface attack, he remained surfaced while skillfully evading the persistent counterfire and submerged just before dawn to make his escape undamaged. Warned of the approach of a second heavily-escorted convoy, he attacked from dead ahead of the starboard column, firing three down-the-throat shots at a destroyer bearing down on a collision course, executed a sharp maneuver hard left, fired his stern tubes at two overlapping merchantmen to score heavy damage on both, and swung hard left again in time to see the blazing man-of-war sink a short 200 yards off his port side. Undaunted, he cleared the area under heavy fire while still surfaced and, a few hours after daylight, sighted a third destroyer searching the scene of earlier action. Immediately submerging, he rigged for depth-charging, conducted a brilliant close-range periscope attack and plunged deep to register through the GROWLER's hull the shattering concussions of his death-dealing torpedoes as they struck the target and exploded. His superb ship handling and indomitable fighting spirit in achieving this outstanding record reflect the highest credit upon commander Oakley, his gallant ship's company and the United States Naval Service.
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  1938-1938, NAVSUBASE New London/Groton

Lieutenant Junior Grade

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NAVSUBASE New London/Groton

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Last Updated: Dec 9, 2018
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13 Members Also There at Same Time
NAVSUBASE New London/Groton

Gross, Royce, RADM, (1926-1946) OFF 112X Lieutenant
Cummings, Damon Morris, LCDR, (1931-1942) OFF 117X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Kimmel, Manning Marius, LCDR, (1935-1944) OFF Lieutenant Junior Grade
Skjonsby, Verne Leslie, LCDR, (1930-1943) OFF Lieutenant Junior Grade
Weinel, August Frederick, LCDR, (1932-1943) OFF Lieutenant Junior Grade
Patterson, Joseph Hester, LTJG, (1936-1939) OFF Ensign
Wagner, George Andrew, LCDR, (1932-1943) OFF Ensign
Withers, Thomas, RADM, (1906-1946) Captain
Abele, Mannert Lincoln, LCDR, (1920-1942) Lieutenant
O'Kane, Richard Hetherington, RDML, (1930-1957) Lieutenant
Barr, Jr., Eric, CAPT, (1934-1947) Lieutenant Junior Grade
Dickerson, Darrell Ellroy, CPO, (1932-1944) MM MM-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Pope, Charles DeWitt, CPO, (1935-1944) GM GM-0000 Gunner's Mate 3rd Class

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