George Levick Street, III
(July 27, 1913 – February 26, 2000) was a submariner
in the United States Navy
. He received the Medal of Honor
during World War II
Street was born in Richmond, Virginia. He joined the Naval Reserve in 1931 and was selected for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933; he graduated in 1937.
After serving in the USS Concord and USS Arkansas he volunteered for the Submarine School at New London, Connecticut.
World War II
After graduating, Street served three years in USS Gar
, from her commissioning on April 14, 1941 until February 27, 1944. Street served in this fleet submarine
, first as Gunnery and Torpedo Officer, then as First Lieutenant and Torpedo Data Computer Operator and finally as Executive Officer and Navigator. While serving in Gar
, he made nine war patrols. Street received Silver Stars
for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action" on Gar
's first and tenth patrols.
On July 6, 1944, LCDR Street reported to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to fit out the USS Tirante, his first command. Commissioning the ship in November, the captain took his new boat for shakedown training in Long Island Sound and further training in waters off Panama and Hawaii. The ship's first war patrol, commencing March 3, 1945 was southwest of Kyūshū, Japan's southernmost island. By that point in the war, most of Japan's merchant fleet had already been sunk, but Street went into shallow water close to shore and found several ships.
On April 14, following a report from Naval Intelligence, Street took Tirante into Cheju harbor — on the surface, to avoid shoals and minefields. Using all six of his remaining torpedoes, he sank a freighter and two of its escorts. For this action, Tirante was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (US), Street was awarded the Medal of Honor, and his executive officer, LT Edward L. Beach, Jr., received the Navy Cross.
On May 20, Tirante began her second war patrol as command ship of a nine-boat wolf pack dubbed "Street's Sweepers". Street again managed to find, and sink, several enemy ships. On June 11, he crept into Ha Shima harbor, some seven miles from Nagasaki and picked out the 2200-ton Hakuju Maru moored alongside a colliery. For this patrol, LCDR Street was awarded the Navy Cross. That citation reads in part "...For extraordinary heroism ...Tracking his targets relentlessly ...(he) launched his smashing torpedo and gunfire attacks against hostile freighters, junks and picket boats, sinking over 7000 tons of shipping vital to Japanese supply..."
In July 1946 Street was transferred to the Office of Naval Research
for duty as Head of Subsurface and Surface Warfare Branch of the Planning Division, involved in undersea warfare research. From November 1946 to July 1949, CDR
Street commanded USS Requin
. He attended the Armed Forces Staff College
in Norfolk, Virginia
from 1948 to 1951 — the first year as a student, the following years as a member of the faculty.
Captain Street retired from the Navy on August 10, 1966.
To some extent, Edward Beach modelled the hero of his first novel, Run Silent, Run Deep (1955), on his wartime skipper.
George L. Street's Medal of Honor citation reads:
- 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. Tirante during the first war patrol of that vessel against enemy Japanese surface forces in the harbor of Cheju, Quelpart Island, off the coast of Korea, on 14 April 1945. With the crew at surface battle stations, Comdr. (then Lt. Comdr.) Street approached the hostile anchorage from the south within 1,200 yards [1100 m] of the coast to complete a reconnoitering circuit of the island. Leaving the 10-fathom [18 m] curve far behind he penetrated the mined and shoal-obstructed waters of the restricted harbor despite numerous patrolling vessels and in defiance of 5 shore-based radar stations and menacing aircraft. Prepared to fight it out on the surface if attacked, Comdr. Street went into action, sending 2 torpedoes with deadly accuracy into a large Japanese ammunition ship and exploding the target in a mountainous and blinding glare of white flames. With the Tirante instantly spotted by the enemy as she stood out plainly in the flare of light, he ordered the torpedo data computer set up while retiring and fired his last 2 torpedoes to disintegrate in quick succession the leading frigate and a similar flanking vessel. Clearing the gutted harbor at emergency full speed ahead, he slipped undetected along the shoreline, diving deep as a pursuing patrol dropped a pattern of depth charges at the point of submergence. His illustrious record of combat achievement during the first war patrol of the Tirante characterizes Comdr. Street as a daring and skilled leader and reflects the highest credit upon himself, his valiant command, and the U.S. Naval Service.
- WWII MoH citations M-S