Thomas Klakring was born on December 19, 1904, in Annapolis, Maryland. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1923, and graduated on June 2, 1927. His first assignment was aboard the battleship USS Texas (BB-35) from August 1927 to June 1929, followed by submarine training at the Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, from June to December 1929. LTJG Klakring's first submarine assignment was aboard the submarine USS S-12 (SS-117) from January 1930 to February 1932, followed by service aboard the submarine USS R-2 (SS-79) from March 1932 to June 1934. His next assignment was aboard the submarines USS Cuttlefish (SS-171) from June 1934 to March 1935, and he then served as Shop Superintendent at Portsmouth Naval Yard, New Hampshire, from March to June 1935. After attending Naval Postgraduate School at the U.S. Naval Academy from June 1935 to June 1937, LCDR Klakring attended the University of California at Berkeley for graduate studies from June 1937 to July 1938. His next assignment was aboard the submarine USS S-37 (SS-142) from August 1938 to February 1941, followed by service aboard the submarine USS S-17 (SS-122) in the Caribbean from February 1941 to January 1942. CDR Klakring commanded the submarine USS Guardfish (SS-217) from February 1942 to May 1943, during which time he participated in 4 war patrols in the Pacific Ocean. He next supervised construction of the submarine USS Flounder (SS-251) from June to September 1943, followed by service as an instructor at the Submarine School in New London from October 1943 to March 1944. Capt Klakring served aboard the submarine USS Pogy (SS-266) from March to April 1944, and then aboard the submarine USS Silversides (SS-236) as Commander of Coordinated Attack Group 22 from May 1944 to May 1945. His next assignment was on the staff of the Commander of 5th Fleet from May 1945 to January 1946, followed by service in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon from January 1946 until his retirement from the Navy on June 1, 1949. Thomas Klakring died on July 24, 1975. The guided missile frigate USS Klakring (FFG-42) was named in his honor.
His 3rd Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. GUARDFISH (SS-217), on the THIRD War Patrol of that submarine during the period 2 January 1943 to 15 February 1943, in enemy controlled waters of the Southwest Pacific. After skillfully maneuvering his ship into striking position, Lieutenant Commander Klakring daringly attacked and sank two Japanese destroyers and one large cargo vessel. His expert seamanship and indomitable fighting spirit during extremely hazardous missions when the GUARDFISH was particularly vulnerable enabled him in every instance to extricate his ship from her perilous situation. The illustrious combat record of the GUARDFISH, her officers and men under Lieutenant Commander Klakring sustained the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.