SAMUEL DAVID DEALEY (1906 ~ 1944). The nephew of Dallas Morning News owner George B. Dealey, Medal of Honor Recipient Sam Dealey was born on September 13, 1906, in Dallas, Texas. His mother moved the family temporarily to Santa Monica, California, following his father's death in 1912, returning in time for Sam Dealey to graduate high school in Dallas.
He attended Southern Methodist University for two years before receiving an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1925. Dealey married Edwina Vawter of Santa Monica after his 1930 graduation.
Before Dealey was assigned command of the USS Harder in December 1942, he served on the battleship USS Nevada. Dealey was the USS Harder's only commander. In June of 1943 the USS Harder went on six patrols, and Dealey earned a reputation for his skill and courage. On the USS Harder's fourth patrol in April of 1944, he brought the submarine over a shallow reef to rescue a downed Navy pilot and despite enemy sniper fire from the beach, stood on the bridge and directed the rescue. He was awarded the Navy Cross for the action.
During its fifth patrol, the USS Harder rescued a group of Australian coast watchers from Borneo before proceeding to observe the Japanese fleet in the Tawi-Tawi Islands and report back its size and movements. While south of the islands, Dealey sank five enemy destroyers in four days. Dealey engaged destroyers head on without silencing his engines, a strategy which could have been lethal to the USS Harder had the torpedoes missed their targets. Dealey had convinced the Japanese fleet that they were surrounded by American submarines and forced them to flee the area. For his actions on the USS Harder's fifth patrol, Dealey earned the Congressional Medal of Honor and the nickname "Destroyer Killer."
Leaving Fremantle, Australia on August 5, 1944, the USS Harder's sixth patrol ended in tragedy. On August 24, nearby submarines lost contact with the USS Harder after it was depth charged by an enemy minesweeper off the coast of Bataan, in the Philippines. After weeks of searching, the Navy pronounced the USS Harder lost in action. Dealey was survived by his wife and three children, a family he almost left the Navy for twice during his career.
Dealey is honored on the Wall of the Missing at the American Battlefield Monuments Commission Cemetery in Manila, Philippine Islands. His Medal of Honor was presented to his wife by President Truman at the White House on November 15, 1945. A U.S. Navy destroyer was named after him in 1954 and a second submarine named USS Harder was launched in 1951.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. Austin American Statesman: June 4, 1954. Dallas Morning News: June 27, 1944; May 25, 1944; January 3, 1945; January 5, 1945; January 16, 1945; July 18, 1951; October 14, 1956; September 7, 1964; April 12, 1970. Fleetsubmarine.com: http://fleetsubmarine.com/ss-257.html, October 6, 2003. Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/DD/fde76.html, September 26, 2005. "The Loss of the USS Harder," Command Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet: http://www.csp.navy.mil/centennial/harder.htm, October 6, 2003. "USS Harder," http://www.geocities.com/rrowe50/dbf/ss568.htm, October 6, 2003.