Monday, May 28, 2018

Honoring an outstanding veteran

From the Times Ledger:

The Vietnam Veterans of America Queens Chapter 32 will march in Monday’s Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade with their former leader, Michael O’Kane — still slowed by knee surgery — riding along in a camouflage Camaro. This year the organization will pay a special tribute to former service members from Queens who died alone and sometimes homeless.

“We are sponsoring the Francis Lewis High School Junior ROTC, who will be carrying 125 folded casket flags belonging to indigent veterans that our chapter has had the honor of escorting to their final resting place,” O’Kane said.

For nearly a decade Chapter 32 has partnered with the Hess Miller Funeral Home in Middle Village to provide dignified burials for veterans who can’t afford one. Each flag-draped casket is transported to Calverton National Cemetery in Suffolk County, where the veteran receives full military honors and since there are no family members to receive the flag, the Chapter 32 members take it back to their Whitestone headquarters where the flags are put on display.

“In an effort to reconnect a family member with their relative, a listing of the veterans’ names, date of birth and date of death will be distributed along the parade route,” O’Kane said. “Contact information will also be provided if a relative is found and the casket flag will be returned to them. This is a very proud moment for the chapter.”

He recently stepped down after serving two years as president of the chapter, but he remains on the board of directors. Last week, the Glendale resident was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame after he was selected by state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach).

O’Kane served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, where he earned the Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and the U.S. Navy Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and Meritorious Unit Citation for engaging the enemy several times in fire fights along the various rivers and canals in the Republic of Vietnam.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if he is related to Rear Admiral Richard O'Kane who was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was Captain of the USS Tang which was sunk by its own torpedo after amassing one of the greatest war records for sunk tonnage. He survived a Japanese prisoner of war camp with a few of his men, the only survivors of a sunk submarine know to exist.

The book 'Escape from the Deep' by Alex Kershaw was about that patrol and is a great read.

Anonymous said...

He is...

Anonymous said...

Well deserved!!

Anonymous said...

Good Jiob! I know Mike nearly 48 years,Never herd him mention an Admiral in the family.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the original post. The Dick O'Kane Wikipedia page does not list any family other than his wife and Michael O'Kane's bio for this award doesn't mention any Naval family members so I am not sure they are actually related. I would have thought a Medal of Honor recipient in the family would merit mention with Michael O'Kane's award.