Samuel David Dealey MOH

b. 13/09/1906 Dallas, Texas. d. 24/08/1944 off Luzon, Philippines.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 26/05/1944 Tawi Tawi, Borneo.

Samuel D Dealey MOH

Sam Dealey was born on September 13, 1906 in Dallas, Texas. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, from Texas and graduated in June 1930. Dealey was commissioned an Ensign and reported for sea duty aboard USS Nevada (BB-36), where he was promoted in June 1933 to Lieutenant (junior grade). In March 1934, he briefly transferred to USS Rathburne (DD-113), then reported that summer for submarine training at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. After graduating, he served on board the submarines USS S-34 (SS-139) and USS S-24 (SS-129). Remaining on sea duty, he reported on board USS Nautilus (SS-168) then USS Bass (SS-164).

In May 1937, he was assigned as Aide to the Executive Officer at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida (NAS Pensacola). While there, in June 1938, he was promoted to Lieutenant. In Summer 1939, he was assigned as the executive officer (first officer) on board USS Reuben James (DD-245). In April 1941, he reported to Experimental Division One for duty as the Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO) of USS S-20 (SS-125) to support at-sea experiments off New London. He commanded S-20 for two years, serving aboard at the United States’ entry into World War II.

However, when war broke out, Dealey’s practical qualifications led to assignment as Commanding Officer of the new-construction Gato-class submarine USS Harder (SS-257), which he commissioned on December 2, 1942, not quite a year after Pearl Harbor. After a shakedown off the East Coast, Dealey survived a “blue-on-blue” attack by a Navy patrol bomber in the Caribbean to bring Harder to the Pacific in the spring of 1943.

Harder left Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol on June 7, 1943, bound for the coast of southern Honshu. Harder would take part in four more patrols, with the 5th patrol leading to the action that would lead to the award of the Medal of Honor.

On its 6th patrol on 24th August 1944, Harder was hit by a number of depth charges and believed sunk. An exhaustive search found no trace of her and her crew. His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his widow 0n 15 November 1945 at The White House by President Harry S Truman. 



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Harder during her 5th War Patrol in Japanese-controlled waters. Floodlit by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Comdr. Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surfaced and, within 9 minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amidship. Evading detection, he penetrated the confined waters off Tawi Tawi with the Japanese Fleet base 6 miles away and scored death blows on 2 patrolling destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by concussion from the first exploding target and the second vessel nose-diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high speed. Sighted by a large hostile fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow toward the lead destroyer for another “down-the-throat” shot, fired 3 bow tubes and promptly crash-dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the Harder passed beneath. This remarkable record of 5 vital Japanese destroyers sunk in 5 short-range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Comdr. Dealey and his indomitable command.