Michael O’Kane, who has served as President of Vietnam Veterans of America Queens Chapter 32, was born in Brooklyn in 1948.
PO3 O’Kane enlisted in the United States Navy in 1966 and attended Great Lakes “Boot” Camp prior to being assigned to the U.S.S. Implicit (MSO-455). Implicit home ported in Long Beach, California, was deployed to WestPac and participated in Operation “Market Time,” which was the most successful counter-insurgency operation of the Vietnam War.
Following his time on Implicit, PO3 O’Kane was transferred to the U.S.S. Widgeon (MSC-208), which was ported in Sasebo, Japan. Widgeon deployed to Camranh Bay RVN, and also operated with I.U.W.G.-1 in Operation “Market Time.” Widgeon engaged the enemy many times in firefights along various rivers and canals in the RVN, earning the ship the Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the U.S. Navy Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and Meritorious Unit Citation.
In honor of his service, PO3 O’Kane was awarded the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal (with three campaign stars), Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Meritorious Unit Citation. He left the United States Navy in 1970 after achieving the rank of Petty Officer Third Class, and began a distinguished career with New York Telephone, retiring in 1998.
PO3 O’Kane continues to be very active in his community as a member of Queens Community Board #5. Until recently, he led the Vietnam Veterans of America Queens Chapter 32, serving as a strong advocate for other former military members. He has worked especially hard to ensure that indigent veterans of all eras and conflicts are provided proper burials. To date, Chapter 32 has worked with local Hess-Miller Funeral Home to ensure dignified final resting places for 127 veterans.
Michael married his best friend, Cathy, in 1979, and they live in Glendale, Queens with their two cats, Yuki and Tuck.