- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2007

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Rear Adm. Eugene Fluckey, one of the Navy’s top submarine commanders in World War II and a Medal of Honor recipient, died June 28 at Anne Arundel Medical Center of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 93.

Adm. Fluckey, a 1935 graduate of the Naval Academy, sank 29 ships, including an aircraft carrier, during the war.

On the USS Barb, Adm. Fluckey’s philosophy was: “We don’t have problems — just solutions,” said Carl LaVo, who published a biography of Adm. Fluckey entitled “The Galloping Ghost.”

The Barb survived an estimated 400 shells, bombs and depth charges, and Adm. Fluckey devised a method for firing rockets from a submarine, the first ship to do so, Mr. LaVo said.

Barbara F. Bove, the admiral’s daughter, said the title of the book was appropriate.

“Basically, my father patrolled the China coast to find Japanese ships and struck without warning,” Mrs. Bove told the Baltimore Sun. “They called him the Galloping Ghost for the [trouble] he raised.”

In the summer of 1945, Adm. Fluckey sent eight commandos ashore to set demolition charges on a coastal railway line, destroying a 16-car train. It was the sole landing by U.S. military forces on the Japanese home island during the war.

Retired Vice Adm. Robert McNitt, who was second-in-command on the Barb, said Adm. Fluckey would walk through the ship every day and talk to the crew.

“We worked as a team,” Adm. McNitt said. “He was fearless, but with that came sound judgment. He was deeply interested in each member of the crew and knew all 85 of them by name.”

Retired Capt. Max Duncan of Savannah, Ga., who served as a torpedo officer on the Barb, said when Adm. Fluckey gave an order, he “expected you to do it and didn’t micromanage.”

Adm. Fluckey also kept a stash of beer aboard, which was used to reward the crew members if they sank a ship. In a life-threatening situation, he once calmed the crew by telling them the beer was already on ice.

“The beer didn’t last too long because we sank too many ships,” Capt. Duncan said.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Adm. Fluckey also received four Navy Crosses, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit for his war service. After the war, he became the aide to Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, chief of naval operations. Before he retired in 1972, Adm. Fluckey held several commands, including director of naval intelligence.

Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Margaret Fluckey, with whom he ran an orphanage in Portugal for several years after his retirement; his daughter, Barbara F. Bove; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Adm. Fluckey’s first wife, the former Marjorie Gould, to whom he was married for 42 years, died in 1979.

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