After the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, most of the strength of the Pacific Fleet had been decimated however, the submarine force survived unscathed. US submarines were soon out patrolling hostile waters in search of Japanese shipping. Early results were lack luster however captains learned to be more aggressive in their tactics and things soon began to change.
This new submarine warfare was largely led by the Wahoo’s second captain, Dudley “Mush” Morton. Under Morton’s leadership, the Wahoo soon became the leading submarine in terms of shipping tonnage sunk. Americans followed news of the submarine with great interest and the exploits of the Wahoo became legendary. The legend was forever cemented in US lore when, on her seventh patrol, the Wahoo failed to return home.
The loss of the Wahoo remained a mystery until 2006 when she was finally located in La Perouse Strait, on the ocean bottom, laying in about 213 feet of water. Japanese records indicated a submarine was attacked in the area with bombs from aircraft as well as depth charges from destroyers. Divers examining the wreck were able to determine it was most likely a bomb from one of the airplanes that tore a hole into the Wahoo and sunk her.
Eighty men including “Mush” Morton lay at the bottom of the ocean, forever entombed in the ship they made so legendary. They made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us who enjoy freedom in this world. The Wahoo and her crew remain on “Eternal Patrol”.