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Darrel Dean Rector

Darrel Dean Rector

 Purple Heart

Rank/Rate Gunner's Mate, Third Class
Service Number 628 00 85
Birth Date September 11, 1923
From Chautauqua, Kansas
Decorations Purple Heart
Submarine USS Tang (SS-306)
Loss Date October 25, 1944
Location Formosa Strait near Turnabout Island
Circumstances Sunk by circular run of own torpedo
Remarks Dean's brother, Earl, was also in the Navy.  He was a steam-fitter and stationed in the Philippines at the outbreak of the war. Earl was captured when Corregador was surrendered, survived the Bataan Death March, and was held as a Prisoner of War for three 1/2 years. Earl had no idea his brother was dead until his release from a Japanese prisoner of war camp at the end of the war.

Dean also had some claim to fame as the first man to be operated on in a submerged submarine (during the fourth war patrol of USS Seadragon (SS-194), submerged at 120í under the South China Sea off the coast of Indochina in September 1942) at the hands of then Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler B. Lipes. It was then Deanís 19th birthday. Mr. Lipes died of pancreatic cancer April 17, 2005.

When asked about Dean and the operation Mr. Lipes said, "I always thought he was the guy who had the courage. I've asked myself, `Would I have gotten up on that table and let someone do the same thing to me?' He was one of the most courageous people I've ever met."

Photo courtesy of Darla Loyd, niece.  Information and remarks by William Watkins, cousin.


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  Rector, Darrel Dean