Lewis Smith Parks, 80, a retired rear admiral who won three Navy Crosses as a submarine commander in the Pacific in World War II, died April 27 at a nursing home in Pompano Beach, Fla. He had cancer.
On Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Adm. Parks, then a commander, was the skipper of the submarine Pompano. She was strafed by Japanese planes as she was cruising about 100 miles off the coast of Oahu.
In 1942, Adm. Parks won his first Navy Cross--the highest decoration for heroism in the Navy after the Medal of Honor--for a war patrol aboard the Pompano in which he was credited with sinking about17,000 tons of enemy shipping. The citation said this was accomplished "despite intensive enemy air and surface antisubmarine patrols and the fact that his ship was partially disabled as a result of bombing and depth charge attacks."
On a subsequent patrol, he was awarded a second Navy Cross for sinking 16,485 tons of shipping by "pressing home every favorable attack opportunity with courageous skill and efficiency . . . despite vigorous antisubmarine measures on the part of the enemy."
From late 1942 to 1943, Adm. Parks served on the staff of the commander of submarines in the Atlantic Fleet. On Nov. 9, 1943, he returned to the Pacific as a captain in command of Submarine Division 202 aboard the Parche. As commander of a submarine "wolf pack" he won his third Navy Cross for actions in the Luzon Straits and the South China Sea in which "seven enemy ships and two armed patrol craft totaling 57,000 tons were sunk and five additional enemy ships totaling 33,930 tons were damaged . . . in the face of severe enemy countermeasures."
The Parche also received a Presidential Unit Citation for its service under Adm. Parks. That citation stated that the ship, "exposed by the light of bursting flares . . . defied the terrific shell fire passing close overhead to strike again and sink a transport by two forward reloads, braving the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker to fight it out with a completely disorganized and confused enemy. Maneuvering swiftly to avoid destruction as a fast transport closed in to ram, the Parche . . . as a climax to forty-six minutes of violent action retired unscathed with a record of four Japanese ships sunk and another severely damaged."
In the Korean conflict, Adm. Parks commanded the cruiser Manchester at the Inchon landing and in other operations. He was chief of information in the Navy Department from 1952 to 1954. In 1957, he commanded the battleship-cruiser force of the Atlantic Fleet just before the battleships were put in mothballs. He retired from the Navy in 1960 and settled in Pompano Beach.
Adm. Parks was born in Bayport, N.Y. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1925. He entered the Submarine School at New London, Conn., in 1929.
In addition to the three Navy Crosses, his decorations included three Legions of Merit.
His first wife, Zelda Leech Parks, died in 1979.
Survivors include his wife, Carolyn Shelby Parks of Pompano Beach; a daughter, Zelda Louise Berry of McLean; a sister, Mrs. A. R. Matter of Naples, Fla.; a brother, Judge John Emory Parks of Honolulu, and six grandchildren.