Wednesday, October 28, 2009

USS O-5 (SS-66) Sunk October 28, 1923

One of the U.S. Navy's earliest submarines, USS O-5 (SS-66) sank on October 23rd, 1923, less than a minute after being involved in a collision with the steamship SS Abangarez.

Most of the crew was able to escape the sinking submarine. One man, TM2 Henry Breault, reached the deck and realized the submarine was doomed. He also knew that a friend was still trapped in the torpedo room below. Instead of saving his own life, TM2 Breault returned below and secured the torpedo room hatches. Both men remained trapped aboard the submarine for 31 hours, until nearby cranes could be used to lift the stricken submarine enough for the men to be rescued.

TM2 Breault was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first Submariner to receive this award. He is also the only enlisted submariner to receive the Medal of Honor.

O-5 was salvaged shortly after her loss, but the damage was was too severe for her to be ec0nomically repaired, and she was sold for scrapping in December 1924.

Following a lengthy court case, the fault was placed on the submarine, not the merchant ship for the collision.

For more information about the loss of USS O-5, please visit "Submarine Hero: TM2 Henry Breault"


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