Rear Admiral Eugene "Lucky" Fluckey was skipper of the infamous USS Barb, a submarine that struck terror into the hearts of the enemy with its relentless pursuit of victory. Considered one of the most daring and inventive officers in the submarine fleet, Fluckey had a devilish smile and a motto that dripped with danger: "we don't have problems, just solutions".
As the Japanese ships cowered in ports along China's coast, Fluckey summoned the Barb to silently slip into the murky waters of Namkwan Harbor. The dark pre-dawn was shattered by the Barb's engines as it navigated around the patrolling warships and into the heart of the enemy's stronghold.
On January 23, 1945, Fluckey launched ten torpedoes into the concentration of thirty Japanese ships, watching with delight as smoke and fire billowed into the sky. The Barb's radar was his guide as he threaded his way through the dangerous shoals and Chinese junks, seeking a path of escape. The Japanese destroyer fired shells at the speeding sub, but Fluckey was too quick for them. With a cackle of delight, he reached the 20-fathom line and disappeared beneath the waves. When the Barb returned to Pearl Harbor, the crew was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, and Fluckey received the Medal of Honor, a testament to his fearlessness.
The Barb was fitted with rocket launchers, and he aimed them at the Japanese-held towns along the Sea of Okhotsk. On the night of July 22-23, 1945, the crew of the Barb rowed ashore in Japan, planting explosives along the tracks of a train. The ensuing explosion hurled the train into the ocean, and the Barb's battle flag was forever adorned with a train, a symbol of their daring.
Not a single crew member of the Barb was wounded or killed in action during the war, a testament to Fluckey's leadership and the crew's bravery. They remain the only American military force to set foot on mainland Japan, a ghostly reminder of the USS Barb's reign of terror. Rear Admiral Eugene "Lucky" Fluckey, the Skipper of the USS Barb, will always be remembered as a master of the underwater realm, a man who lived by his motto and died by his sword.