Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wahoo found!

(Crossposted at The Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog)

Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet declared Oct. 31 that the sunken submarine recently discovered by divers in the Western Pacific is, indeed, the World War II submarine USS Wahoo (SS 238).

Skippered by one of the submarine force's icons, one of it's greatest heroes, and for five patrols XO'ed by another submarine great, the Wahoo's loss has been a mystery for over six decades. Now the mystery is no more...Wahoo, commanded by the famous CDR "Mush" Morton, has been found in the La Perouse Strait near Japan.

I have read a lot about Wahoo, given my personal interest in her former XO (and later CO of Tang), the late RADM Richard O'Kane. O'Kane and Morton in Wahoo revolutionized submarine warfare at the outset of the war in the Pacific, turning their backs on peacetime tactics that were of little use against the Japanese and rewriting the book on tactics almost by the seat of their pants. That Morton's records for sunken enemy shipping were topped only by O'Kane's in Tang says volumes about Wahoo's legacy. Few names are so recognizable to sailors wearing dolphins as "Morton", "O'Kane", and "Wahoo".

During Wahoo’s rare foray in the Sea of Japan, Morton reportedly sunk at least four Japanese ships. For the patrol, Morton was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross – his fourth.

Morton is credited with sinking 19 ships totaling nearly 55,000 tons during his four patrols in command of Wahoo; his total was second only to his own executive officer, Richard H. O’Kane. Retired Rear Adm. O’Kane went on to command USS Tang (SS 306) and to receive the Medal of Honor.

Let's all raise another salute this Veteran's Day to the men of Wahoo, on Eternal Patrol but lost no more.

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