Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Seawolf Park Update

Here is an update on the situation at Seawolf Park regarding Hurricane Ike damage. It was written by Dick Hoffman, a USS Stewart volunteer and submitted to Jeff Porteous who received it via a USS Cod email blast:

To Our USS Stewart Friends and Volunteers –

I’ve been waiting till we had our quarterly meeting of the Cavalla Historical Foundation Board of Directors (last Saturday) to give you a more complete idea of where we are at Seawolf Park. As some of you know, I am a member of the Cavalla Board which has responsibility for restoration, maintenance and display of USS Cavalla and USS Stewart. The meeting was one of the best I’ve attended. Board Members were upbeat, optimistic and determined. I think you will find some of the highlights interesting and informative.

Please understand that these remarks are preliminary. They are not to be construed as "official" statements by either the Cavalla Board or the Parks Board of Galveston.

1. Status of Seawolf Park – At the risk of repeating myself, the Park’s facilities were pretty much wiped out. Except for being floated out of position, our ships were relatively unharmed, but the rest of the Park’s infrastructure was mostly damaged beyond repair or washed away. USS Cavalla is pretty much where she was, but is elevated some 4 to 5 feet. The bow of USS Stewart is close to where it was, but the stern is moved to port perhaps 20 feet. This leaves much of her up out of the ground, and she has about a 17 degree list to starboard.

2. Report from Galveston Parks Board – Because of our partnership with the Galveston Parks Board, one of its Board Members is also on our Board. From his remarks, I believe Seawolf Park has a pretty high priority for restoration. The Park is one of Galveston’s most popular. The message I heard is to get our Naval Display back in order ASAP. I hesitate to speculate on completion dates, but pressure is there for a speedy restoration of both the Park and our Naval Display.

3. Prospects for Cavalla and Stewart – Consensus now is that, with reasonable effort, our submarine problem is quite manageable. Probes have indicated that while settling back down, Cavalla “sucked” sand and dirt back under herself, and is resting on a safe base. The entry/exit steps will have to be rebuilt to accommodate the extra height. There is some water in the after torpedo room which is being removed currently. At least three firms have come forward with plans to reposition Stewart. Talks with these groups make us confident of success. One of the three has not yet stated its plan, but is expected to bring it forward this week. I will not talk about cost because bids are still being negotiated. Our Foundation will need significant sums from donors and volunteers to underwrite a program. Outreach is well underway, and our Board is confident a way will be found to go forward promptly.

An appeal by mail was made right after the storm featuring an “IKE RESTORATION” T-shirt. It has already stimulated donations in excess of $10,000. If you would like to make a contribution, please address it as follows:

IKE Restoration Campaign

c/o Cavalla Historical Foundation

2504 Church St.

Galveston, TX 77550

Without going into detail, I am convinced that “fixing” Stewart is entirely possible. A panel of three Board Members (I am one) has been established to evaluate and negotiate a solution and funding. The panel was urged to move quickly.

4. Other positive Board actions

· A new Website to include news of all of our activities is under construction

· Motion was passed to give “enthusiastic support” to the newly created Edsall Class DE Association and Reunions.

· A program has been instituted to enhance (greatly) our communication with the “outside world” (think PR). This is a matter that is near and dear to me, and I will be working to make it successful.

Again, let me thank all of you for your past interest and support for our project. Let me hear from you with ideas, suggestions or questions. I will continue to keep you informed of progress.


Dick Hoffman, USS Stewart Volunteer

Board Member, Cavalla Historical Foundation

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Rear Admiral Roger W. Paine, Jr. (1917 - 2008)

Rear Admiral Roger Warde Paine, Jr. USN (ret.) passed away yesterday in Annapolis, Maryland at the age of 91. Funeral services are pending. He was the last surviving officer to serve in USS Wahoo (SS-238).

Admiral Paine was born in Austin, Texas on August 13, 1917, son of Rear Admiral Roger W. Paine, USN and Mrs. Corine (Malone) Paine. He attended Western High School, Washington, D.C. and Coronado (California) High School prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy on appointment from the District of Columbia in 1935. He was graduated and commissioned Ensign on June 1, 1939.

Following graduation he joined the USS ARIZONA and in December 1940 was detached from that battleship for submarine training at the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut. In April 1941 he reported on board the USS POMPANO and was serving in that submarine when the United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941. For meritorious conduct as Communication, Radar and Sound Officer of the USS POMPANO during her First War Patrol he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V".

From March 1942 to August 1943 he continued duty afloat in the USS WAHOO rising to Executive Officer and Navigator. Prior to embarking on WAHOO's Fifth War Patrol, Lieutenant Paine underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis. He was subsequently given command of the USS S-34. In August 1944 he became Executive Officer and Navigator of the USS TINOSA. Participating in eight successful war patrols in the Pacific during World War II, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", and a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Bronze Star medal, also with Combat "V". He is also entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of, the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the USS WAHOO.

In May 1945 he reported for fitting out duty in the USS CUBERA at the Electric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut and assumed command of that submarine upon her commissioning, December 12, 1945. Detached from the CUBERA in April 1945, he briefly commanded the USS WHALE which was decommissioned at New London, Connecticut on June 1, 1946.

He next reported for instruction in Ordinance Engineering (Special Physics Course) at the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland. From June 1947 to February 1949 he continued the course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge from which he received the degree of Master of Science in Nuclear Physics. He next was engaged in field work at various ordinance facilities and during the period of August 1949 to August 1951 he worked at the Los Alamos (New Mexico) Scientific Laboratory doing design and development work on the nuclear components of atomic bombs and of the H-bomb, which was in the design stage at that time.

From August 1951 to September 1953 he commanded the USS COWELL which, under his command, made an around-the-world cruise and spent five months in the Korean War theater. In September 1953 he reported as Chief of the Analysis Branch, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Washington, D.C. In that capacity he participated in all nuclear weapon tests during 1954 - 1956, both in Nevada and at Eniwetok and Bikini, and supervised analysis and correlation of the data obtained.

Ordered to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island he had instruction there in Naval Warfare from August 1956 until June 1957 and became Commander, Destroyer Division TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY-TWO in July of that year. This Division, consisting of the USS EATON, BACHE, BEALE and MURRAY, participated in NATO maneuvers in Europe in the fall of 1957 and later formed a part of Anti-Submarine Group ALFA, a special group formed to develop and perfect operational techniques of anti-submarine warfare.

Assigned in November 1958 to the Bureau of Ordinance, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., he headed the Guided Missile Branch, Research Division until 1959, when that Bureau and the Bureau of Aeronautics were combined and designated the Bureau of Naval Weapons. He then became Director of the Missile Guidance and Airframe Division and as such was responsible for research, development, test and evaluation of the Navy's BULLPUP, CORVUS, EAGLE, SIDEWINDER, SPARROW, TALOS, TARTAR, TERRIER and TYPHON missiles.

In September 1961 he assumed command of the USS TOPEKA in the Pacific area and commanded her during anti-air warfare operations off the California coast and in Hawaiian and Far Eastern waters. Returning to Washington, D.C. in November 1962, he served as Head of the Surface Warfare Branch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, until June, 1963. He then reported as Military Assistant to the Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Administration and Management), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his work in this position.

In the fall of 1966 he was promoted to Rear Admiral and in December became Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla TEN, a unit of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet consisting of twenty-one cruisers and destroyers. In the Spring of 1967 he deployed to the Mediterranean as Commander of an Attack Carrier Strike Group, flying his flag alternately in the aircraft carriers USS SHANGRI-LA and SARATOGA and in the guided missile cruiser USS GALVESTON.

He reported in January 1968 as Director of the Navy Information Systems Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations with the responsibility for the procurement, maintenance and operation of all of the Navy's computers. In August 1970 he was ordered detached for duty as Commander, Training Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet with Fleet Training Activities in Japan, Guam, Hawaii, San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in connection with this duty and retired from naval service in the summer of 1972.

Admiral Paine was married to the former Isla Rea Vaile for over sixty years, had three children, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

All of us connected to Legends of the Deep offer our heartfelt condolences for their loss.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Roger Paine Near Death

Received word from a family member last night that Rear Admiral Roger W. Paine, Jr., USN (ret.) is near death. Admiral Paine is the last living officer to have served aboard Wahoo. Funeral services will be held at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Admiral Paine turned 91 this past August.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this difficult time.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Commendation for Charles Hinman

Our good friend Charles Hinman recently received some much deserved kudos for his work at the USS Bowfin Museum. As reported here, Charles worked tirelessly to put together the Wahoo Memorial and Remembrance week in October of 2007. He also served as Project Wahoo's U.S. point of contact for information regarding the discovery of Wahoo. He has also served in much the same capacity for the search efforts of several additional lost WWII boats, notably the USS Grunion. I know from personal experience he is a gracious host and Charles made my visit to Oahu the experience of a lifetime.

In recognition of his hard work, Admiral Joe Walsh, ComSubPac, recently awarded Charles with the following citation (click the image to enlarge it). Bravo Zulu, Charles!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Pelham Service Report and Doug Morton Interview

Received word from Ken Kraetzer of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 50 in Pelham, NY. By all accounts their memorial service for Wahoo was a great success. They are working on getting images from the event on their website.

One of the interesting things Ken's group is doing is a local radio show on Mondays at 2:30 PM discussing veterans and active military issues. In relation to the Wahoo service, Ken's program interviewed Doug Morton for 15 minutes. You can listen to the interview here:

WVOX Doug Morton Interview on USS Wahoo Ceremony 10 16 08
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Still on Patrol

Sixty-five years ago today, the following men made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their coutnry while serving in USS Wahoo (SS-238):

Anders, F. MM3
Andrews, J. S. EM1
Bailey, R. E. SC3
Bair, A. I. TM3
Berg, J. C. MM3
Browning, C. E. MOMM2
Brown, D. R. LTJG
Bruce, C. L. MOMM1
Buckley, J. P. RM1
Burgan, W. W. LT
Campbell, J. S. ENS
Carr, W. J. CGMA
Carter, J. E. RM2
Davison, W. E. MOMM1
Deaton, L. N. TM1
Erdey, J. S. EM3
Fielder, E. F. LTJG
Finkelstein, O. TM3
Galli, W. O. TM3
Garmon, C. E. MOMM2
Garrett, G. C., Jr. MOMM2
Gerlacher, W. L. S2
Goss, R. P. MOMM1
Greene, H. M. LT
Hand, W. R. EM2
Hartman, L. M. MM3
Hayes, D. M. EM2
Henderson, R. N. LT
Holmes, W. H. EM1
House, V. A. S1
Howe, H. J. EM2
Jacobs, O. MOMM1
Jasa, R. L. MM3
Jayson, J. O. CK3
Johnson, K. B. TM1
Keeter, D. C. CMOMMA
Kemp, W. W. GM1
Kessock, P. F1
Krebs, P. H. S1
Kirk, E. T. S1
Lape, A. D. F1
Lindemann, C. A. S1
Logue, R. B. FC1
Lynch, W. L. F1
MacAlman, S. E. PHM1
MacGowen, T. J. MOMM1
Magyar, A. J. MM3
Manalisay, J. C. ST3
Mandjiak, P. A. MM3
Massa, E. E. S1
Maulding, E. C. SM3
Maulding, G. E. TM3
McGill, T. J. CMOMMA
McGilton, H. E. TM3
McSpadden, D. J. TM1
Mills, M. L. RT1
Misch, G. A. LTJG
Morton, D. W. CDR
Neel, P. TM2
O'Brien, F. L. EM1
O'Neal, R. L. EM3
Ostrander, E. E. MM3
Phillips, P. D. SC1
Rennels, J. L. SC2
Renno, H. S1
Seal, E. H. Jr. TM2
Simonetti, A. R. SM2
Skjonsby, V. L. LCDR
Smith, D. O. BM1
Stevens, G. V. MOMM2
Terrell, W. C. QM3
Thomas, W. S1
Tyler, R. O. TM3
Vidick, J. EM2
Wach, L. J. COX
Waldron, W. E. RM3
Ware, N. C. CEM
White, W. T. Y2
Whipp, K. L. MM2
Witting, R. L. MM3
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wahoo, Nebraska Memorial Update

SubVet Service to Honor Sailors, New Memorial

By Lisa Brichacek of wahoonewspaper.com

WAHOO, NB - Submarine veterans from across the state will once again be gathering in Wahoo this Sunday.

The annual memorial service sponsored by the Wahoo Chapter of World War II Submarine Veterans and the Nebraska Base of United States Submarine Veterans Inc. will be held at 1 p.m. on the lawn of the Saunders County Courthouse in Wahoo. Activities will once again take place near the Torpedo Monument of the USS Wahoo. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

This year's ceremony will include a special dedication of the new monument near the torpedo. This past spring, the torpedo and plaque were removed for refurbishing. They were put back into place in late summer looking polished and nearly new.

Last month, a memorial marker was placed near the monument. The engraved piece of granite honors all U.S. Navy submarine sailors. It also proclaims that it is "in memory of all submarines and crews on eternal patrol."

The approximately $10,000 bill for the new memorial as well as the monument refurbishing is being picked up primarily by the World War II Submarine Veterans. The Nebraska Base of United States Submarine Veterans has also lent some assistance to the project.

In addition to the dedication portion of Sunday's activities, ceremony will also include an address from Electronics Technician Senior Chief Monty C. Clawson. Clawson is the submarine communications subject mater expert at the United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base.

He is responsible for directing the efforts of Strategic Submarine communications and continuing evaluation program management. He has served on many submarines prior to coming to the air base near Omaha and has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other unit and service awards.

This is the 46th year for the submarine memorial service. The World War II Submarine Veterans started holding the ceremony in 1962 to recognize the ships and crew who served this country. The ceremony is always held as close as possible to Oct. 11, the date that the USS Wahoo went to her watery grave.

U.S.S. Wahoo is arguably the most famous of the Navy's World War II vessels. During her seven patrols, she is reported to have sunk a total of 20 ships totaling 60,038 tons. Wahoo was commissioned on May 15, 1942 and sunk in the La Perouse (Soya) Strait on Oct. 11. 1943.

On board that fateful day was a young man from Wahoo. Robert Lee Jasa was a Machinist's Mate, Third Class aboard the Wahoo. He and the 79 others serving on board went down with the Wahoo and remain on eternal patrol.

For many years, the exact resting place of the Wahoo was unknown. A group of Russian divers found the remains of a submarine in the waters between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin. In October of 2006, the U.S. Navy confirmed that it was in fact the wreckage of the Wahoo.

Following Sunday's ceremony, a lunch is planned at the Fifth Street Bar and Grill in downtown Wahoo.
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Mare Island Memorial on October 11

Ceremony Pays Tribute to Seven World War II Submarines Built at the Former Naval Base

By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 10/08/2008 08:33:23 AM PDT

Lost at sea, the crews on eternal patrol - this was the fate of seven Mare Island-built submarines and their crewmen who never made it home during World War II. On Saturday a tribute will be held for these "lost boats of Mare Island."

A flag raising takes place at 1 p.m. at Morton Field, and a wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Berth 6, where submarines were repaired during World War II.

Oakville resident Larry Maggini, a former shipyard worker who worked on modern submarines, will present a slide show and talk about the seven submarines, followed by a reception, from 2 to 4 p.m. at St. Peter's Chapel.
"The men on eternal patrol deserve our recognition and acknowledgment of the ultimate sacrifice that they made," said event organizer Myrna Hayes. Their 3,500 crewmen are on what surviving shipmates reverently call "eternal patrol," their final resting places, in some cases known only to God, Hayes said.

The submarines to be honored include: USS Pompano (SS-181), USS Swordfish (SS-193), USS Gudgeon (SS-211), USS Trigger (SS-237), USS Tullibee (SS-284), USS Tang (SS-306), and USS Wahoo (SS-238).

Maggini, who has devoted nearly 10 months researching the seven submarines, found the famous ones left a long trail of information, but others registered little publicity.

While the Wahoo was a "flamboyant character" that caught the public eye, some of the others did their duty and then faded into obscurity, he said.

Maggini said the event, and others like it, help preserve Mare Island's military legacy. "It's going to be forgotten eventually if someone doesn't do something to keep it alive," he said.

This year's submarine tribute follows last year's to the USS Wahoo, launched on Feb. 14, 1942. In 2006 a wreck found in the Soya Strait was confirmed as the Wahoo. Hayes said she agreed to stage a second tribute after former Navy chaplain John W. Berger of Vallejo secured a promise from her to organize another one.

Maggini compiled stories and photos about the submarines into the book "On Eternal Patrol - The Lost Boats of Mare Island." It will be available for sale in print and DVD version Saturday.

For more event details go to www.mareislandlostboats.org.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Update: Pelham, NY Wahoo Memorial Ceremony

Recevied the following update from Ken regarding the Pelham ceremony this weekend:

We appreciate everyone who has indicated they are planning to attend our ceremony on Saturday in Pelham honoring the USS Wahoo and its crew.

We are pleased to mention the US Navy Band based in Newport, RI will appear and provide an outdoor concert starting at 10 AM. The concert will be outdoors at the Gazebo park adjacent to the Daronco Town House, just north of the Pelham Train Station.

We are pleased that two US Navy submarine commanders will appear and offer remarks. A native of adjacent Mt. Vernon who attended St. Catharine's School in Pelham, Capt. Raymond Woolrich CO of the USS Trepang during the mid-1980s will offer perspective. The current CO of the USS Texas, CDR James Gray will provide comments.

We are pleased that Tom Conlon from the US Submarines Veterans will lead the "Tolling of the Boats" ceremony. Several local elected officials will be attending including Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

A former Pelham native and 27 year US Navy officer from WWII will be hosting Navy veterans at the lunch at the Villa Nova Restaurant following the ceremony. The location is walking distance from the Daronco Town House. An RSVP on lunch is appreciated so we can develop a count.

A good place will be on Harmon Avenue which borders the Gazebo park and is the second right turn after passing under the Train Station. You may see the Fire Dept setting up a large Flag between their trucks. Pelham's new 9-11 memorial is also on Harmon Avenue again near the Train Station which you might want to visit before the ceremony.

Please let me know any questions, we look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Pelham, NY Wahoo Memorial Ceremony Update

The following is a press release with the latest info on the Wahoo memorial service scheduled this Saturday, October 11 in Pelham, NY. This will mark the 65th anniversary of Wahoo's loss while exiting La Perouse Strait during her seventh war patrol.

Oct. 11th Pelham NY Event Will Remember WWII Submarine USS Wahoo and legendary CO “Mush” Morton
Local Native who became US Submarine Commander will be featured speaker, US Navy Band to perform
Pelham, N.Y.

On Saturday October 11th at 11 AM Pelham Post 50 of the American Legion and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 50 plan a ceremony to honor the memory of the most famous submarine of WWII, the USS Wahoo (SS 238) and its crew, on the 65th anniversary of its loss in battle off of the coast of Japan. The ceremony is planned for 11 AM at the Daronco Town House at 20 Fifth Avenue in Pelham New York just north of New York City. A concert preceding the ceremony scheduled for 10 AM will feature the US Navy Band based in Newport, RI.

Retired Pelham Memorial High School science instructor Jerry Mele, a WWII veteran of the USS Blackfin, related to Post 50 SAL 50 members the story of the Pelham connection to the famed WWII submarine USS Wahoo and its legendary commander Dudley “Mush” Morton. The Wahoo was famed in early 1943 for feats such as sinking an entire convoy of enemy ships in the Pacific War and returning to Pearl Harbor with a broom attached to its mast. This well publicized incident, portrayed on a mural at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC, provided a lift to the nation during the dark early years of WWII. Sadly the Wahoo was lost off the west coast of Japan on Oct. 11th 1943. After the war, CDR Morton’s widow remarried and the family moved to Pelham where his two children attended Pelham schools.

The US Naval Academy Alumni Association has supported the event which honors the memory of its 1930 graduate LCDR Dudley Morton, by nominating the speaker for the day, CAPT Raymond D. Woolrich, USN (RET.) a 1966 graduate of Annapolis who in 1983 was named Commanding Officer of the nuclear submarine USS Trepang SSN 674).

Capt. Woolrich is a native of Mt. Vernon NY who attended St. Catharine’s School in Pelham, Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, and Cornell University before entering Annapolis. Captain Woolrich currently works for Sonalysts Inc. as a Principal Analyst and as the Naval Advisor to the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton. He is also the President of the Nautilus Chapter of the Naval Submarine League and the Vice President of the Submarine Force Library and Museum Association.

Doug Morton, the son of CRD Dudley Morton and a 1957 graduate of PMHS, is traveling from Denver to participate. Members of the US Submarine Veterans Association are planning to participate. The ceremony will include a reading of the names of the 80 crewmembers of the Wahoo and contain a remembrance of the more than 50 American submarines lost in service.

A lunch will follow at the Villa Nova Restaurant in Pelham, for reservations please call John Chuhran at 914-380-4877

The 65th anniversary ceremony will be held at Pelham’s Daronco Town House adjacent to the Town Hall and Veteran’s Memorial Park. Pelham is located just north of New York City in Westchester County and is easily reached by I95, the Hutchinson River Parkway, or Metro North Train.
All interested veterans are invited to attend. Reservations are appreciated. Please email Ken Kraetzer at kgk914@aol.com or call 914-630-3457.

Updates about the event will be available on http://www.legionpost50ny.com/.

An excellent description of the Wahoo and the 2007 ceremony held in honor of its crew at Pearl Harbor, HA can be found on http://war-fish.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html
The American Legion, with 2.7 million members, is the world's largest veteran's association. The Department of New York is one of The American Legion’s largest state organizations with 1,003 local “Posts” and membership of more than 170,000 Legionnaires. Post 50 Pelham, N.Y., commanded in 2008-2009 by Frank Barbieri organizes Pelham's Memorial Day parade and has served as a New York City Fleet Week host the past six years.

Throughout the year, Post 50 conducts a variety of other projects to support veterans and the local community. In 2005, Post 50 initiated ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Italian Campaign of World War II at the American Battle Monument Commission maintained military cemeteries at Florence and Nettuno, Italy. In 2009 the Post and its SAL Squadron are planning a trip to Normandy France for the 65th Anniversary of D-Day. More information is available at http://www.legionpost50ny.com/.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

October 12th Memorial Service in Wahoo, Nebraska

On Sunday, October 12th, the Wahoo base of U.S. SubVets WWII will re-dedicate the USS Wahoo (SS-238) Memorial in Wahoo, Nebraska. The Ceremony will be at the Saunders County Courthouse and will begin at 1300 (1:00 PM). Wahoo is about 35 west of Omaha. Howard Mace, World War II Submarine Commander for the Wahoo Chapter, reports it will be the 46th year the Memorial has been in Wahoo.

The memorial display recently underwent refurbishment including removal of the torpedo for repair and painting. The display will be in place in time for the ceremony. Below are some images from the restoration:

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Ike Damage at Seawolf Park

After eleven days without power at our home due to hurricane Ike we were finally able to return home this week. As Houston returns to normal pictures of Ike's damage are starting to gather in my inbox. This is welcome since we were basically without visual media contact after the storm hit.

Two new images surfaced on the NavSource.org pages for Cavalla (SS-244) and Tautog (SSN-639) today. Both Cavalla and the sail of Tautog are on display at Seawolf Park in Galveston. The place is near and dear to my heart since I've been visiting since the early 1970's.

The first image was taken by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chris Hoffpauir and clearly shows the powerful of Ike's storm surge. Both Cavalla and the destroyer escort USS Stewart were lifted from their beds and partially refloated. Cavalla is now sitting much higher than usual as evidenced by the visible burial line along her saddle tanks and stern. Stewart is also much more exposed and listing.

Before the storm the sail of Tautog was mounted perpendicularly to Cavalla's bow. It has been twisted almost 90 degrees off her stand and now lies on her side.

This second shot is from chron.com and shows a bow view of the ships. You can really see the list imparted to both ships by the storm surge.

Obviously it's going to take some serious effort and funds to return the park to pre-storm conditions. If you would like to contribute to the restoration project send your pledge to:

Cavalla Historical Foundation
2504 Church St.
Galveston, TX 77550

Make your check out to Cavalla Historical Foundation. Donations are tax deductible. The Cavalla Historical Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization: EIN: 76-0617618. I am unaware of any online pledge interface.

When I was a boy I wrote a short story about the battleship USS Texas being blown from its moorings at San Jacinto State Park out to an uncharted island in Gulf of Mexico by a sudden hurricane. As an adult I've often chuckled at what I've considered the height of my youthful fantasy life. Looking at Seawolf Park now, I'm filled with awe at the power of great storms. And I have a little more respect for hurricanes as plot devices.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ike and USS Cavalla (SS-244)

Got an email this morning with an update from John McMichael, the curator of the exhibits at Seawolf Park, Galveston, Texas supplied by Jeffrey S. Nilsson. Having ridden through Hurricane Ike myself last weekend I was anxious to learn of any damage to the Cavalla and Stewart on display in the park.

"The storm tide was high and the water had the main deck of the Stewart awash. Both of the ships were lifted out of their earth enclosures and moved a bit. The Cavalla was buttoned up and suffered no internal damage or leakage and is in pretty good shape. The Stewart, was also well buttoned up, however, when the tide receded, the result was that she now has about a 15 degree list to starboard. The out buildings and container that they were using for storage are gone."

More information will be made available as it comes to light. The island is without power and they are not allowing anyone in at present. Below is a link to video of the park.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Suite 101 Articles

Have been recently writing naval history articles for the website suite101.com with a strong submarine bent. You can check them out here: http://www.suite101.com/writer_articles.cfm/paulc238.

Also, had a wonderful chat with Jim Allen by phone a few weeks ago. He regaled me with several interesting stories about Wahoo and her crew. I'm organizing my notes and fleshing them out. Should be able to post the excerpts soon.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

American Legion Post Hosts Wahoo Event

Ken Kraetzer of American Legion Post 50, and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 50, recently informed me of their plans for a 65th anniversary event remembering the loss of USS Wahoo on October 11, 1943.

The ceremony and reception will be held in Pelham, New York on October 11th, 2008 at 11:00 AM at the Veterans Memorial Park. During the past year they have gotten to know Doug Morton, who moved with his family to Pelham following the war. Doug and his sister graduated from Pelham Memorial High School. Ken anticipates Doug to be in attendance at the ceremony.

All members of the Navy and submarine service are welcome. The post will model the ceremony after their annual Memorial Day event which is very well done.

Pelham is located just 25 minutes north of New York City and can be easily reached by Metro North train with the ceremony being held a short walk from the train station. More information can be found on their website: www.legionpost50ny.com.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

"Henry Was A Talker" Part III

I caught up with Wahoo and Glinski at Pearl at the end of that third patrol and there he was: still talking. But this time he was being loaded into an ambulance with one foot in a giant size bandage. First chance I got I visited him at the Aiea Heights Naval Hospital and got the details of what happened.

Wahoo had sunk a five ship convoy. One of the ships was a loaded troop transport that went down slow enough so that many of the Jap soldiers got off. Captain Morton decided to surface and inspect the debris. All guns were manned, including Henry's 20mm, and when they closed the area the Japs started shooting at them. So the Captain ordered, "Commence firing."

Henry said it was pure bedlam because not only were there Tommy guns, hand guns, and BARs, there was also the 4" deck gun blazing away. And of course, wouldn't you know it, the 20mm jammed and they couldn't get the thing cleared.

The barrel changer, wearing huge asbestos gloves, removed the barrel with the jammed live shell in one end, so he could put in a fresh barrel. Instead of putting the hot barrel into a tube full of sea water located on the side of the bridge, in the confusion the barrel changer dropped the damn thing on the deck. He was installing a new barrel when it happened: the jammed shell exploded! It sent shrapnel flying in every direction and it was Henry's right foot that got hit, tearing it up.

They got Henry below where the Pharmacist Mate Lindhe had to cut off a couple of toes using electricians' wire cutters. Lindhe kept Henry doped up so he didn't feel like talking for a while.

But at the Naval Hospital he made up for lost time because he was lucky enough to be in a ward with a bunch of Marines that had been shot up on Guadalcanal. Henry told them all about the Wahoo and when he got to the part about sinking a Jap sub in the Solomons they all cheered saying it was probably the bastard that had been shelling them at night keeping them awake. The shelling had suddenly stopped. The Marines figured that Wahoo had sunk the Jap so that made Henry their hero.

I saw Henry one more time when he got back to Pearl after a thirty day stateside leave. By this time I was on USS Silversides and on my way out. We had a couple of brews and he told me that the medical people didn't know what to do with him because he would always walk with a slight limp but he still qualified for submarine duty. He said, "If they would only give me a chance to talk to them we could get this all straightened out."

I never heard of Henry after that.


Our thanks to Jim Allen for premission to reprint his article from "Polaris".
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Henry Was A Talker" Part II

More of the story of Henry Glinski by Jim Allen as excerpted from his Polaris article....

We got underway starting Wahoo's second patrol, and headed for the Solomon Islands; our area was off the NE coast of Bougainville, near a little island called Buka. We sank a large loaded freighter that was probably headed for Guadalcanal. A Jap destroyer worked us over pretty good. A little later we sank a Jap submarine.

One day in the crew's mess, Henry told Paul Phillips the baker he had worked in a bakery in Chicago and he could show Phillips how to bake better bread. He kept talking until finally Phillips said, "I think you're full of it, Glinski. But tonight you can bake the bread. That way the whole crew can enjoy your expertise."

Henry assembled the ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, shortening. And he asked for some yeast. Phillip handed him a one pound block. This is where Henry's memory and expertise fell apart; he put the whole pound into the mix. And poured the dough into a wash tub so it could rise.

Well, it rose alright. In fact, Henry was up most of the night punching the dough down trying to keep it in the tub. To Phillips and the crew this was like watching a Buster Keaton movie. The finished product had so many air holes it looked like mice had tunneled through it. It wasn't bad tasting but it gave everybody intestinal gas. But Henry just kept talking.

We ran submerged the next day, and when it came time to surface I heard the OD say to the Quartermaster, "Be careful when you crack the hatch. The pressure in the boat is as high as I've ever seen it."

We pulled into Brisbane for our overhaul and after two weeks at a downtown hotel we were ready to go out again. Pappy Rau told me the new skipper, Lt Cmdr. Dudley Morton, said no more hot bunking. Since I was low man on the totem pole, F3/C, I was transferred to the relief crew on board the USS Sperry.

Next time JIm recounts Glinski's wounding during Wahoo's third war patrol
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jim Allen Remembers Henry Glinski

One of the highlights of my trip to Hawaii was getting to meeting Jim Allen, who served in Wahoo during her second war patrol. On the bus to Pearl Harbor he told me about his friend and fellow shipmate Henry Glinski. Jim mentioned he had written an article about him for Polaris, the official SubVets of WWII magazine. He graciously forwarded me a copy so I could share it with you:

"Henry Was A Talker"

By Jim Allen
Polaris/August 2005

I met Henry Glinski at the Pearl Harbor Sub Base in 1942, when we were assigned to the USS Wahoo. Henry was a transfer from the USS Hornet, where he was a Gunner in a 20mm gun crew that had been badly shot up, and he volunteered for Sub duty "to get away from the guns." Henry was 19 years old and I was 18, and we were both 6 foot 3 inches tall and skinny as rails. I was a recent graduate from the Sub School at New London having arrived at Pearl on board the Lurline, a luxury liner converted to haul troops. Henry was a talker; he could talk about anything and everything. We got along because I was a good listener.

The COB, Pappy Rau, assigned our bunks and put us to work. He sent me to John Rowls, the cook, who was delighted as he showed me a mountain of dirty pots, pans, and dishes. I was up to my armpits when Yeoman Forest Sterling came down the ladder to the crews mess, reporting on board, to the pleasure of the Exec., Lt. Richard O'Kane because there was no Yeoman aboard for the previous patrol. Years later, Sterling wrote the book "Wake of the Wahoo" and he mentioned seeing "Jim Allen washing dishes."

Late one afternoon, Henry and I went ashore to the sub base beer garden and of course Henry never stopped talking. I didn't think it was possible, but a few beers made him talk even more. When we got back to Wahoo, it was dark and the Gunner's Mate Bill Carr was working on top of the storage locker in the Conning Tower trying to assemble a large gun; he had rigged a lamp overhead and was clearly agitated. He was grease up to his elbows, trying to turn pages on a manual, but the pages were sticking.

Henry recognized the 20mm gun pieces and had to ask if he could help. I could tell the Gunner was thinking about throwing Henry overboard but he said, "Okay, wise guy, can you put this thing together?"

Henry waded right in -- click-click-push-pull -- and there it was all assembled. Carr said, "Wait a minute. Do that again but slower." Henry took it down and re-assembled it at a slower pace and Carr was amazed, delighted and grateful all at the same time saying, "Glinski, you're my gunner in this crew."

Henry replied, "No way, I volunteered for sub duty to get away from all guns."

The next morning, Pappy Rau told Henry he was the gunner in the 20mm gun crew and that was that. I wondered if Henry had learned to keep his mouth shut but it didn't take long before I found out he couldn't keep his mouth shut...

To be continued.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

"War Fish" Story

One of the anecdotes described by George Grider in "War Fish" that stayed with me through the years was his exploration of Wahoo's bow buoyancy tank with Roger Paine during their first war patrol. While at the SubRon5 event at Batfish I had the chance to do a little investigating to get a better feel for their experience.

You may recall from the book that after a torpedo was accidentally misfired with the muzzle door closed, Wahoo began having difficulty operating her bow buoyancy tank vent valves during dives. Ultimately they failed to operate altogether. Captain Kennedy ordered his engineering officer, Grider, and torpedo specialist, Paine, to open up the manhole on the top of the tank and check out the valve operating mechanism from the inside. They did this while surfaced at night in Japanese waters.

With the ability to slip past the ropes on Batfish, I ventured out to her bow buoyancy tank. It is located over the torpedo tubes in the extreme forward end of the boat and is open to the sea at the bottom through a row of half-round flood holes. On the upper deck are two grated vents which open from the inside to allow air to escape during a dive and to trap the air in the tank when it is blow dry for surfacing. Due to its location the tank helped get the boat heading down and pointing up at the appropriate times.

On deck I found the vents and the manhole cover of the type Grider used to gain access to Wahoo's tank. It was oval shaped, secured with a series of bolts around its perimeter. On Batfish these bolts had been removed and the cover loosely set on top of the studs. The cover itself looked roughly a foot and a half wide and two and a half feet in length. A tight squeeze even for athletic young men in their late twenties and early thirties.

I picked it up and looked inside. The manhole was situated over a ladder mounted to the aft bulkhead of the tank. To port were actuating rods that ran from the bottom of the tank up to the valve mechanisms themselves. The rods went down through the bottom of the tank and were presumably damaged by the misfire in Wahoo's tube 1. There were no baffles in the tank on Batfish only a large space open at the bottom through the flood holes.

Grider describe it as being slick and slimy with an antifoul coating. And dark seawater would have swirled around their feet through the floods. The real threat was being surprised by the Japanese on the surface. In that event they both knew Kennedy would take Wahoo down and they would be on their own.

Making light of the situation, Grider reminded Paine he was senior and entitled to leave the tank first. Paine pointed out that it would never vent, and the boat would fail to dive, with Grider's fat behind stuck in the manhole trying to get out. Now I know how right he was.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sun N Fun 2008

Over the July Fourth weekend I got to spend some time with my model submarine running buddies of SubRon5 at our annual get together. This year it was held at Batfish Park in Muskogee, Oklahoma, home of the museum boat USS Batfish (S-310).

Our arrangement with the park was mutual. We would demonstrate our models in a pond constructed next to the submarine in order to help draw interest to the park. At the end of the day, we were allowed to spend the night aboard the boat with free reign --a submarine buff's dream.

It made for a long night. Member Tom Kisler crafted a fast cruise program with submarine trivia, Jeopardy style, and a submarine qualification scavenger hunt. It was fascinating and fun. None of us wanted it to end.

The following morning we climbed all over the exterior of the boat before the crowds arrived. We got tons of images and went everywhere our curiosity led us. From the periscope shears to the ammunition magazine, with stops in the conning tower (usually off limits) along the way.

Hats off to Don Baker for setting the event up, and park manager Rick for welcoming us in. By all accounts attendance increased greatly over the weekend and we had a blast.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wahoo Video Commentary Part III

The following is the conclusion of Chuck Thompson's summary of the wreck footage. Legends wishes to thank Chuck for his permission to share his summary which is the result of long hours pouring over the video. It picks up following the shots of the damage to the conning tower fairwater with the camera diver moving forward up the port side of the CTF:

At 13:00 the port side radio transmitter insulator is visible.

At 13:02 a close up of the radio insulator is presented. No damage visible.

At 13:07, the video shifts to dark footage swimming forward along the port side of the CTF forward of the damaged area. The forward 20mm platform is coming into view.

At 13:16 video shift to different footage swimming along the port side of the CTF, forward of the damage.

At 13:23 the diver is approaching the forward 20mm platform. The ready service locker and 20 mm mount become visible when,

At 13:24 new video looking forward from the port side of the CTF, below the bridge. The fwd 20mm platform and 20 mm mount are visible, along with the 4” deck gun and much of the fore deck. The 20 mm mount is out of alignment (it should be fore and aft) from its normal stowed position. Possibly fishing net (Post war trawl) damage after loss?? Wood on the fwd cigarette deck and ready service locker are visible. All railing is gone.

At 13:26 different video, swimming forward to port of CTF. 20 mm mount is in the center of the photo.

At 13:28 a close up of the fwd 20mm platform ready service locker, and

At 13:29 close up of the 20 mm mount.

At 13:32 different footage of the fwd 20 mm mount.

At 13:32 different footage of the fwd 20 mm mount, looking aft toward the bridge. With the exception of the 20mm mount being rotated approximately 90 degrees (probably the result of fishing nets), no damage is visible.

At 13:46 more different footage of the 20 mm mount, looking aft and up

At 13:47 image fades to where we left off at 13:27, close up of ready service locker and fwd 20mm platform. Film continues forward toward the bow, over the 4” deck gun.

At 13:57 camera is looking under the 4” deck gun, pans to starboard as the forward lower part of the CTF comes into view on the right, and a diver is in the background. While there is marine growth on deck, no damage is visible.

At 14:08 camera swimming over the fore deck, 4” barrel visible to right, sonar to left. Only the port side of the deck is clear.

At 14:16 the deck access (escape trunk) hole (rectangular opening in the deck) is visible. The fwd escape hatch is just forward of this hole, but is buried under marine growth. It appears to be closed.

At 14:19 the fwd port diving plane is somewhat visible.

At 14:29 video changes, and the fwd port diving plane is more visible.

At 14:36 footage shifts to the bow. The fwd capstan is visible. Some metal decking is missing aft of the capstan. This should be in place.

At 14:48 fwd of the capstan is another missing piece of plate or cover which should be in place.

At 15:02 the bull nose comes into view.

At 15:12 the video shifts to the bull nose from forward and to port, moving aft. The fwd port diving plane is barely visible, appears to be level.

At 15:21 camera is moving aft along the deck along the port side deck edge.

At 15:51 one can possibly see the fwd escape hatch to the left. It should be there, but is covered with marine growth. Appears to be closed.

At 15:56 shift to fwd of 4” deck gun moving aft at deck lever, slightly to starboard.

At 16:00 more footage of the 4” deck gun.

At 16:17 the fwd 20mm platform is visible over the 4” deck gun.

At 16:27 video shifts to moving aft over the 4” deck gun slightly to port. The bridge superstructure is clear. Unknown debris seen earlier from astern is visible protruding from the superstructure at the level of the starboard lookout platform.

At 16:27, back to the 4” deck gun. Gun is in proper fore/aft alignment.

At 16:35 different footage of the 4” deck gun looking fwd to starboard, from aft of the gun.

At 16:43 more different footage of the 4” deck gun, this time swimming aft slightly to starboard.

At 16:46 the periscope sheers, covered in line.

At 16:50 different footage of the sheers, looking up from the starboard bridge area. SJ antenna to right, trained to port.

At 16:57 video shifts to looking directly at the sheers from starboard to port. SJ antenna is visible to right; periscopes are wrapped in fishing lines. No damage visible.

At 17:09 video shifts to the lower sheers, again looking from starboard to port. Lower SJ support is visible along with the #1 periscope sheer. Camera pans aft to the SD mast. A new flagstaff near SD, installed during last overhaul, is visible, wrapped in fishing lines. No damage other than natural corrosion is visible.

At 17:09 the rectangular D/F loop mounted on the starboard side of the sheers is visible.

At 17:14 video shifts to both periscopes, apparently fully raised, wrapped in trawl lines.

At 17:26 video shifts to more distant footage of the starboard sheers.

At 17:32 image fades and shifts almost 180 degrees, and is now looking at the port side of the sheers, moving aft. This is neatly done, and one hardly notices the shift of 180o.

At 17:48 camera now moving aft along the port side of the CTF, fwd of battle damaged area, just above the level of the cigarette deck.

At 17:55 camera moves past the aft end of the bridge, above the damaged area. The free standing aft end of the CTF is visible.

At 17:57 what appears to be the engine exhaust induction is visible just forward of the free standing aft end of the CTF. The area of heavy damage below is not visible. The divers “down line” is visible.

At 18:17 the camera has moved past the free standing aft end of the CTF and is continuing to move toward the stern.

At 18:29, moving aft along the deck, the deck turns from teak to steel.

At 18:35 there is missing deck plating to port.

At 18:40 there is significant missing deck plating. Support structure appears undamaged.

At 18:55 there is another missing deck plate to port. The deck is in pretty good shape from here aft.

At 19:06 there is another smaller missing deck plate to port.

At 19:10 the camera is approaching the stern. The closed chock is visible, as is the capstan. The after torpedo room hatch is covered with sea growth, but appears to be closed.

From 19:20 through 19:30 the diver swims around the stern closed chock, and moves forward along the starboard side.

At 19:25 there is plating missing to port and below the after closed chock.

At 19:34 the camera is looking forward from starboard over the after capstan.

At 19:35 the camera is moving forward along the starboard side. The After Torpedo Room (ATR) hatch or the ATR torpedo loading hatch is visible but covered in marine growth.

At 20:07 the damage deck plating damage visible at 18:45 is seen from starboard. This much missing plating cannot be natural. Again the supporting structure appears undamaged. There are lots of fish above the missing deck plating (as would be expected.).

At 20:25 another missing deck plate to starboard is visible.

At 20:30 the after deck 20mm mount comes into view.

At 20:32 the conning tower fairwater (CTF) is visible from aft.

At 20:50 the starboard bomb damage is visible but not clear. Approaching the fairwater from astern and starboard.

At 20:53 video shifts to moving aft at the after (tapered) end of the conning tower fairwater. Moving from starboard, the diver swims around the aft end of the CTF. The CTF plating is badly deteriorated.

At 20:57 the diver is swimming forward along the port side from the aft taper of the CTF, moving forward at deck level.

At 21:02 the teak deck to port of the CTF is visible.

At 21:04 the shaft of the DF loop is clearly visible, blown forward. The after conning tower bulkhead should be a few feet forward. The CTF appears to be missing aft from the port and starboard fairwater access.

At 21:05 the camera pans upward to the after end of the lookout platform, looking from aft and port.

At 21:08 seen shifts to looking at the CTF from aft at the level of the lookout platform, looking directly forward. We’ve seen this sequence before. This sequence is also running backwards as, upon close examination, the fish are swimming backwards.

21:15 pan to looking down on the lookout platform from aft – drifting upward. Wahoo fading out.

21:21 Good view of damaged area from above – damaged area just a black hole.

21:24 End of video.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Wahoo Video Commentary Part II

Here is the second installment of Chuck Thompson's assessment of the Russian Iskra Team video. He begins with an interpretation of Wahoo's loss based on known facts and review of the wreck footage. He then follows with a detailed description of the footage itself.


Based on the examination of the available video of the wreck of the USS Wahoo, the following sequence of events is proposed.

Wahoo was in the process of transiting La Perouse Strait when she was detected by a Japanese aircraft looking for a submarine exiting the Sea of Japan. Wahoo was at periscope depth and had both scopes raise. During the first aerial attack, at least one of the bombs or depth charges scored a nearly direct hit to starboard at near main deck level in the area of the Control Room/After Battery Room bulkhead (frame 59). The result of this attack was severe damage to the main ballast tank 2C and fuel ballast tank 3A (hence the oil observed), and the conning tower fairwater. The pressure hull was ruptured on the starboard side near the junction of the Control Room/After Battery bulkhead, and possibly the conning tower (if not ruptured, the conning tower would have flooded through open lower conning tower hatch). The boat would have rolled severely to port, and experienced severe hull flexures which seem to travel along the hull and back again.

All personnel in the after battery room, control room and conning tower would have been incapacitated, and by the time they could recover, these spaces would have been flooded except for small air pockets and the top of the conning tower. The fact that the stern planes and probably the bow planes appear straight and level indicates that no attempt was made to surface. If the door to the forward battery room and forward engine room were open, they may also have flooded. It is probable that damage beyond these spaces was extensive, as there is no indication that any attempt was made by the surviving crew to escape from the forward or after spaces. Subsequent attacks and depth charging may have prevented the crew from trying to escape, and resulted in superficial superstructure damage, resulting in the superstructure damage visible today.

(all times are from the video player, with time 0 at the beginning of the video)

The video begins with a brief Wahoo history, and information on the Russian dive team.

Eight (8) minutes into the tape, video of the wreck begins. The diver approaches the wreck from the starboard side, just aft of the conning tower fairwater (CTF), and the wreck is silhouetted. As the image comes into focus, extensive damage is apparent amidships as a break in the CTF silhouette and a dark area of the hull below the break in the CTF, extending downward around the hull.

At 08:10, as the diver approaches the wreck, a large chunk of debris is visible on the bottom, alongside the hull, immediately forward of the damaged area below the bridge. No detail is visible. The approach to Wahoo appears to be more zooming in than the diver getting closer to the hull, as detail does not improve.

At 08:25 image fades into swimming alongside the hull, mid level on ballast tanks, location unknown, possibly starboard side moving aft. The bilge keel is visible. No damage is visible.

At 08:36 film shifts to a different location, still swimming along the hull slightly higher. We are led by following sequence to believe this is starboard side moving aft. At the top of the ballast tanks, vertical superstructure is visible, with Government type limber holes. No damage is visible.

At 08:53 video shifts again, this time swimming along the starboard side, approaching the stern. The starboard propeller and shaft are visible. Footage continues around the stern, showing starboard (first) then both stern diving planes, and the rudder. Both planes are close to straight and level. The rudder is amidships. No damage is visible.

At 09:46 the diver is moving forward, and swims under the port stern plane and past the propeller. No damage is visible.

At 10:09 the diver continues to swim forward along the port side. Government type limber holes are visible. The hull appears to be in good shape, with many areas’s clear of marine growth. This is apparently the up current side, so there is less marine growth. No visible damage.

At 01:26 the port aft engine exhaust hole comes into view.

At 10:33 the port forward engine exhaust hole comes into view. Also the first of the “missing” superstructure is visible forward and aft of the exhaust. This appears to be corrosion damage, as the surrounding superstructure and supports do not appear damaged.

At 10:42, shift to new film sequence. Diver aft of the CTF, moving forward along the port side, at the top of the ballast tanks, looking athwartship through the superstructure. Most of the vertical superstructure is missing, apparently from corrosion. The supports for the superstructure are in place and not distorted. The top of the pressure hull is frequently visible, with external hull reinforcements (ribs), along with other hull components/piping located below the aft deck. Sometimes you can see all the way through to the starboard side.

At 11:23 an intact section of vertical superstructure, with Government style limber hole, is visible. Superstructure fore and aft is missing, again because of corrosion?

At 11:47 the CTF comes into view from port aft, at deck level. The aft (tapered) end of the superstructure is visible, with side plating rusted out.

At 11:52 fade into diver swimming forward from aft of the CTF. Diver is to starboard and just above the level of the cigarette deck. As the diver approaches the CTF, the extensive damage becomes visible. The diver swims over the aft end of the cigarette deck, and the missing area becomes clear, although details are difficult to distinguish. It is apparent that much of the cigarette deck superstructure, as well as port and starboard deck are missing.

At 11:58 shift back to footage we left at 11:51, swimming forward along the port side just below deck level, with CTF coming into view. Aft end of CTF is in the foreground, bridge and sheers in background. Damage difficult to see.

At 12:02 shift to close up of the free standing aft end of the CTF. Plating is rusted out, although support structure is in place, and does not appear damaged.

At 12:05 camera pans to the left, and is looking at deck level, up the port side, alongside the CTF (to right). The missing port deck and center section of CTF is clearly visible. The forward edge of the missing deck appears to be a fairly sharp break, with teak decking visible. As the camera moves forward, the vertical CTF superstructure, including supports, is completely missing. The forward ballast tanks are not visible.

At 12:12 the camera is approaching the missing area of the CTF. Before any details of the damage can become clear, the image fades out.

At 12:14 video moves back to same sequence ended at 11:57, looking forward from above aft of the CTF. The sharp, clean break of the bridge deck (fwd part of cigarette deck) is visible. The D/F loop is in the center of the photo. Radio antenna supports, port & starboard are visible. A large piece of unknown debris sticks out to starboard at the level of the lookout platforms.

At 12:17 the bridge structure (from aft looking fwd) is visible, the lower sheers rising in the center of the superstructure from the cigarette deck to the lookout platforms. Immediately to the right of the lower sheers appear to be several large areas of marine growth blocking access to starboard. This does not appear to be ready service lockers.

At 12:18 video fades to looking forward along the port side. CTF fills right half of the photo. We are apparently immediately above the main damaged area, to port. The broken end of the D/F loop shaft is visible to the right. The camera pans to the right until both the port and starboard vertical sides of the CTF are visible. The camera is pointed directly at the aft end of the conning tower (could this be the cigarette deck pushed down and forward, covering the aft end of the conning tower?). The forward edge of the broken deck to port of the CTF is visible at left. While this is a good shot of the damaged area aft of the CTF, details are hard to distinguish.

At 12:20 what may be the bottom edge of the conning tower (or the aft end of the cigarette deck blown downward) is visible at the bottom of the picture. This appears as a sharp, horizontal but ragged edge. If this is the conning tower, it should be rounded. The absence of the starboard decking and superstructure is obvious – it is completely missing.

At 12:22 the camera is looking down and to starboard, right into the damaged area. It is obvious that all decking and supports are missing. The area shown would have been in the area of the starboard CTF manway. The damaged area visible must include the pressure hull.

At 12:25 the video shifts to looking at the primary area of damage. The video is looking aft, just forward from the main damage area, at the main deck level (stbd side), looking along the fore/aft axis of the fairwater. The location of this video is not discernible until the end of this sequence (12:43), when the ragged edge at the end of the conning tower (identifiable at 12:20), comes into view, at the lower right side of the video (this took me a very long time to understand). Close examination of this sequence does not answer any questions concerning loss, as the pressure hull is visible below the array of damaged structure,

At 12:32 a hand illustration of the damaged area, from starboard, comes into the picture, obscuring much of the picture. This is unfortunate as there is much to be seen. Although the hand illustration is a broadside view from starboard, nothing in the video can be correlated as being from that area.

12:35 A note at the bottom of the video states that except for the rupture, the hull looks almost whole.

12:39 Same ragged edge visible at 12:20 comes into view, lower right hand corner of the picture, as the view shifts from aft to port.

At 12:43 the hand drawing fades away. It is not possible to identify anything in the photo, although the pressure hull and port deck edge must be there.

At 12:44 different video of the damaged area, this time looking from starboard to port, with the CTF superstructure at right and the missing deck superstructure at center. The forward and aft ends of the port deck are visible, the area in between missing due to damage. The camera backs up, and the ragged bottom edge of the conning tower (?) and the broken edge of the D/F loop shaft are visible. (the footage at this point is actually being run backwards, as the debris in the water is moving backwards, and the fish are swimming backwards.) The structure across the bottom of the picture must be the pressure hull.

At 12:53 camera shift to the same footage that faded out at 12:22. The camera is looking at the area under the cigarette deck with the ragged bottom of the conning tower visible across the bottom (same footage as before, even the same fish). The camera pans to port and up.

And by 12:58 we are looking at the port side of the CTF, forward of the damaged area, swimming forward.

Still images captured from the video are available on Legends of the Deep.
Part III coming soon...
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Wahoo Video Commentary

Legends recently received this thorough commentary by Wahoo aficionado Chuck Thompson on the Kartashev video made during the Russian dives on Wahoo in July 2006. It gives a good breakdown on content of the video and the findings to be made through watching it. As it is lengthy, I will post it in segments. Thanks, Chuck!

C. A. Thompson

The following is a commentary on the video taken by Russian divers on the wreck of the USS Wahoo (SS-238).


1. The Wahoo sits upright on the bottom, with little if any list, at a reported depth of approximately 230 feet of seawater (fsw)

2. Visibility in the water, although a little dark, is good, approximately 40+ feet. There is considerable small, organic marine debris in the water, flowing with the current.

3. The current appears to be from the Port Quarter.

4. Rudder is amidships, bow and stern planes appear to be “straight and level”.

5. Limber holes are visible from aft of amidships to the stern, both Port and Starboard. They are “Government” pattern limber holes.

6. Marine growth covers most of the hull shown. Some of the “up current” side (port) is clear of marine growth, and corrosion in these clean area’s is minimum, except where entire panels are missing or there is obvious damage (To be discussed later).

7. The video is obviously edited. It jumps around, and in some spots leaves a sequence, only to pick the same sequence up again later.

8. Much expected video is missing. There is no video of the hull forward of the CTF, only the deck and bow plating (bullnose). There is no video of the area inside the bridge area, except from a distance and directly astern, and only darkness is seen. While there is close up video of the damaged area, it is difficult to interpret without easily identifiable reference points. The view of the area of primary damage is obstructed by a drawing of the damaged area.

9. While there is significant video of the periscope shears, there is no good video of the bridge.

10. Both periscopes appear to be fully raised. According to O’Kane (WAHOO), this was standard procedure in Wahoo’s conning tower when on the hunt for ships.

11. The SJ radar is facing directly to Port.

12. Missing decking and superstructure plating. There are several areas, mostly aft of the CTF, where decking/deck panels and vertical superstructure side plating is missing. This is particularly evident: (1) aft of the after deck 20mm mount (over the engine rooms), and (2) superstructure plating above ballast tanks on the port side, aft of the CTF damage. Some adjacent plating shows no indication of damage, and little evidence of corrosion. In all cases (except for the area of major damage amidships), supporting structure/frames are visible, and show no damage.

13. All visible hatches appear to be closed. While none of the hatches is clearly seen because of marine growth, none are in the fully open position, and all appear to be closed. The only hatch that is not visible in some video is the upper conning tower hatch. The closed hatches are substantial proof that none of the crew made any attempt to escape after the loss. This is puzzling as Wahoo is in only 230 fsw.


1. The most obvious damage is in the area at the control room/after battery room bulkhead (frame 58), primarily on the starboard side.

a. A large section of the conning tower fairwater is missing, it appears to be from the two (port & starboard) fairwater access manways located just aft of the DF antenna, to about 5-8 feet from the end of the fairwater.

b. A small section of the aft end of the fairwater, though badly corroded, is still free standing.

c. On the starboard side, the major damage extends to the deck, the superstructure plating adjacent to the fairwater, and the ballast tanks, possibly all the way to at least the bilge keel (the lower hull in this area is visible only in the opening footage, and not very clearly).

d. On the port side, a section of decking and superstructure is missing, but the ballast tanks cannot be seen in any of the video provided.

e. It is probable that much of the superstructure/tank plating may have been damaged and distorted, but in place, immediately after Wahoo’s loss, but 60 years of storms and corrosion has caused it to fall away (metal which has been exposed to bending, such as an explosion, suffers minute cracking, loss of paint, and is easily corroded).

f. Damage to the pressure hull amidships, below the fairwater, is difficult to interpreted from the video provided. Examination of this area shows a jumble of debris. The Russian drawing seems to indicate that a large section of the pressure hull is missing, but the fact that debris is visible indicates that the pressure hull must still be there. This is not to say the pressure hull is not ruptured, as it most probably is, but that it is not completely destroyed, as the sketch seems to imply. All of the video showing this area has identifiable debris, so location can be established, but no actual penetrations of the pressure hull are identifiable.

g. Examining the damaged open end of the fairwater looking forward, one would expect to see the after end of the conning tower. While there is clear footage of this area, the after conning tower bulkhead cannot be distinguished. What is visible, extending atwartship from port to starboard, is what appears to be a ragged edge of plate just above the pressure hull. It is possible that the cigarette deck was blown (or collapsed) downward, and now covers the aft conning tower bulkhead.

i. There is no visible damage to the periscope shears, and this area is extensively photographed. The SJ antenna is intact, and the SD antenna shows only damage consistent with the fishing trawls covering the periscopes.

j. At the bridge (lookout) level, in a number of views, appears a large piece of wreckage which extends away from the bridge to starboard. No clear footage of this debris is available and it cannot be identified.

2. In the video provided, no significant damage is visible to the forward part of the boat. However, available footage shows only the main deck. Only a couple of deck plates, and possibly a tank manway cover are missing. The 4” gun is trained fore and aft, as it should be. The forward 20mm mount has been rotated, but this is likely the result of fishing trawls. There is no video of the hull forward of the conning tower, and as a result, any damage cannot be seen. There is no distortion in the forward deck to indicate that there may be serious damage to the hull.

3. There is lots of video of the hull aft of the conning tower fairwater. The hull, including propellers and shafts, both diving planes and the rudder, appear undamaged. However there is noticeable minor damage to the aft deck and superstructure in the form of missing deck plates and superstructure panels. One area immediately aft of the after 20mm mount (over the forward engine room) is missing deck plates from port to starboard, and adjacent vertical superstructure plating. However, the supporting framework for this decking/superstructure is visible and appears undamaged. There is also a significant section of vertical superstructure missing on the port side above the ballast tanks, extending from the damaged/missing area of the CTF, aft. In this area all the superstructure plating is corroded away, with the support structure visible and apparently undamaged. It is possible that the missing deck plates and hull panels are the result of the depth charging that Wahoo endured after she was sunk. Close depth charging may not cause rupture of the hull, or destroy deck and superstructure, but it can flex/bend plate and cause loss of paint, both of which would result in more rapid corrosion, and after 60+ years, these areas probably deteriorated (rusted) and fell away. This is illustrated in the vertical side and fairwater plating which shows just the corroded edges of plate, with most of the plate missing.

Part II will address sinking scenarios.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Might Have Been

Got a reminder from Jeff Porteous of a long ago boyhood dream: my first submarine command. Remember this ad on the back of your favorite comic book?

My buddies and I spent hours in our knocked together clubhouse (made from a door propped over the fence beside David MacDougald's garage) dreaming about the exciting adventures we'd have in our very own submarine. I scrounged an old electric drill to drive the propeller. We even dug a hole in the ground in David's back yard where we could dock our boat when not in use.

Like most things, all it took was money. Unfortunately, $6.98 was an insurmountable sum without an allowance or employment. Besides, candy was cheap and comic books were $0.15. What little we could scrape together usually fell victim to those overpowering temptations.

And so we never got a sub. The years rolled by and I wasn't too scarred from the loss. Until Jeff sent me this:

Now, I don't know who the young lad at the helm is, but he sure looks happy. This was apparently taken days after the initial shock of receiving a cardboard submarine wore off. It's funny, I poured over that ad for hours but the note about the boat being "sturdily constructed of 200 lb. test fiberboard" never sank in. The power of the image, and the promise of "hours and hours of adventure", were just too overwhelming I suppose.

Looking at the genuine article I have to admit it had possibilities. It would have fit right over the hole we'd dug in the ground for it. And while our first generation fantasies would have been sent straight to Davey Jones, I'm sure the gang and I could have logged significant adventure time stretching the test depth afforded by 200 lb. fiberboard construction.

Ah, what might have been...
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Monday, June 09, 2008

Hollywood What If?

In talking to DaCapo Press about Alex Kershaw's new book about USS Tang's fifth and final war patrol, "Escape From the Deep", the subject of Hollywood came up. While no details were given and no production deals were imminent, at least from what I gathered, the word is they are interested in shopping the film rights. The book is certainly written with a cinematic flair.

So, what if a production company options the book and a script gets written? Who, as an imaginary, all powerful Hollywood producer, would you cast as 33 year old Dick O'Kane?
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Monday, June 02, 2008

Doug Morton Memorial Day Article

Kenneth G. Kraetzer of http://www.legionpost50ny.com recently sent me this very interesting article on Doug Morton. This past Memorial Day he also told Wahoo's story to a radio station. Keep up the great work, Ken!

May 25, 2008

Ex-Westchester resident comes to terms with hero father's death

Phil Reisman
Journal News columnist

Doug Morton has a personal memorial day that he observes every year without ritual.
"It's the day the Wahoo went down," he said from his home in Englewood, Colo.
The USS Wahoo was the legendary World War II submarine commanded by Morton's father, Cmdr. Dudley W. Morton, that was sunk in the Soya (La Perouse) Strait between Hokkaido, Japan, and Sakhalin, Russia, on Oct. 11, 1943.

Morton was a genuine hero in the darkest days of the war when heroes were sorely needed to bolster morale on the home front. Over the course of four patrols covering 11 months, the Wahoo, under Morton's command, was credited with sinking 19 Japanese ships totaling 55,500 tons. In one 23-hour period, the sub destroyed an entire enemy convoy.

Known as a "daredevil skipper" and an "undersea ace," Morton was awarded four Navy Crosses, the fourth posthumously.

Morton looked and acted the part of a hero. He was a strapping 6-footer, a wrestling champ at the U.S. Naval Academy.

People sought his autograph. His exploits were splashed on the front pages of newspapers all over the country. He did radio interviews and gave talks at schools.
When he died, he was only in his mid-30s, and the sad, undeniable fact is that at the time of his death the public knew "Mush" Morton better than his own son did.
"When he was lost, I was 4," said Doug Morton, who is 68 now and has only a single, dim memory of his father.

"It's just absolutely the vaguest," he said. "He was on a coast-to-coast radio program, and I think I remember sitting in this auditorium and he was up there being interviewed. But you know that may be stretching it."

Morton's picture of his father is mostly painted in broad strokes from the stories and memories given to him over the years by his mother, uncles and grandmother. There's a scrapbook, too. And at least two or three books about the Wahoo have helped fill in some of the blanks.

One time a man, who had served under his father, came up to Morton and said, "Just looking at you, I know who you are." So he has that as well - his dad's looks.
But Doug Morton's grown son bears an even uncannier resemblance to the submarine skipper. Named Dudley after his grandfather, he is about the same age his grandfather was when the Wahoo embarked on its last mission.

It's an astonishing fact that more than a million American fathers served in World War II. More astonishing is that 183,000 children were left fatherless, according to the American WWII Orphans Network, or AWON.

Children from that era are often referred to as members of the so-called "Silent Generation." But those whose fathers never came home comprise a poignant subgroup - the silent sufferers.

There were no support groups for them, no process of intervention to soothe the pain of grief.

"You didn't talk about it," Morton said. "My mother didn't talk about it."
In 1944, the widowed Harriet Morton moved from Los Angeles to Eastchester to live near her sister. Five years later, she married Bob Bradford, an Army veteran who had fought in the Philippines and periodically suffered from the symptoms of malaria. The family moved to Pelham, where Doug Morton and his sister attended public schools.
Morton loved his stepfather, who died in 1960, but he never got over the loss of the father he never knew. It gnawed at him day and night. He would dream of his father and sometimes wake up crying.

Worse, he would go through dark periods that began around September in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the Wahoo's sinking.

"I didn't know why," he recalled. "I'd just blow. It lasted my whole life."
Therapy helped him understand what was going in inside his head, but it didn't lighten an enormous burden of grief. It was especially difficult for him to talk about his father and his service on the Wahoo.

Once he gave a talk to a service group and barely got through it. Afterward, a man came up to him and told him he hadn't even been born when his father was killed on Okinawa.

"He said he never told anyone before, but he felt he could talk to me," Morton said.
Then an amazing thing happened. You could even call it a miracle. The wreckage of the long lost Wahoo was found lying in 213 feet of water. Japanese fishermen knew where it was and reported snagging their nets in the hulk, but the sub wasn't officially discovered until a Russian dive team photographed it in July 2006.

The Wahoo will remain in its final resting place in keeping with Navy tradition for sailors lost at sea. It is a fitting grave for Morton's father and the 77 other men who served aboard the sub.

But what's more important to Doug Morton is this: Last year, on Oct. 11, a special memorial service was held in Pearl Harbor to honor the sailors of the Wahoo.
Morton said the service calmed him down in a way he never expected. It brought closure. In the past, he couldn't give interviews about his father without paying a psychic price for it afterward. That is no longer the case.

"It really got me past all that grief, a lifetime of grief," he said. "That ceremony did it. It really did it."

Morton said he has always been a supporter of the military.

"But whenever I see people getting killed, I don't care who they are, bad guys, good guys or whatever, I immediately think about the kids who are left behind."

Morton was left behind on Oct. 11, 1943. Only now is he beginning to catch up.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Wahoo Remembered

This Memorial Day I had a chance to pay tribute to the men of Wahoo in a special way due to the efforts of good friend Jeff Porteous. Last week he forwarded a special flag he had made to honor Wahoo. It is a replica of her battle flag with the boat's name, hull number and date of loss. It really is striking. We've hung it outside our home for Memorial Day and will return it to Jeff when we meet for our r/c modeling group's annual summer fun run. Thanks, Jeff!

The War Fish Blog encourages all its readers to have a wonderful day, tempered with honor and respect for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. For a list of those lost aboard Wahoo, click here: http://www.warfish.com/sl-patrol7.html.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Escape From The Deep" Review

One week from today, Alex Kershaw's new book "Escape From The Deep" will be officially released -- just in time for Memorial Day. And a fitting tribute it is for the men who fought and died so bravely aboard the subject of the book, USS Tang (SS-306).

Taking a refreshingly different tack from previous work such as "Unrestricted Warfare", "The Bravest Man" and Tang skipper Richard O'Kane's classic memoir "Clear The Bridge!", Kershaw spends little time on the first four war patrols of the US Navy's most successful WWII submarine. Instead, he jump starts the story at the end of her fourth patrol. What follows is an almost cinematic retelling of fifth patrol action, her tragic loss at the hand of her own malfunctioning torpedo, the daring escape by crew members trapped 180 feet below the surface, and their brutal imprisonment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp for the remaining nine months of the war.

For those looking for a meticulous depiction of battle tactics, they will have to continue to rely on previous works. Little new is learned about Tang's actions. Kershaw's focus is not on rudder orders and galley menus but the emotional ride experienced in one of the most famous of all war patrols. The human element is stressed in the personal stories of the central players and their interrelationships. Though the narrative is relatively short in length, a bit over two hundred pages, Kershaw brings an entirely new depth to the understanding of these well known events.

Naturally, the figure in the center of everything is Medal of Honor recipient Dick O'Kane. And though his death in 1992 prevented Kershaw from interviewing him personally, his research, in particular the time he spent with the late Rear Admiral's family, coupled with his consummate writing skill, enabled him to bring O'Kane fully to life. Details of his childhood, marriage, and family relationships round out a "proud yankee" known principally for fearless heroics and consummate devotion to duty.

Kershaw's attention to detail does not overlook the rest of the crew either. The personalities, backgrounds, and personal relationships between crewmen are firmly established. They are then studiously revisited during the terrible hours of Tang's sinking when close friendships, such as Clayton Decker's and George Zofcin's, were torn apart by death. And those who escaped, like Bill Leibold and Floyd Caverly, forged new bonds in order to survive.

It is in his depiction of the desperate fight for survival aboard the sunken Tang that Kershaw's prose shines brightest. The chaos and struggle is brought vividly to life as the trapped crew fights their way to the only working escape trunk in the forward torpedo room. Again, Kershaw's focused research brings a richness of personal detail from first hand accounts. This plants the reader firmly in the action and into the survivor's heads as they await their chance to escape, endure the excruciating pressure of the escape trunk, and slowly make their way from the inky depths to the surface.

Their reward, of course, was captivity. And again Kershaw brings a personal focus to the beatings, interrogations and privations that previous works have lacked. I was surprised to learn that O'Kane advised his men to tell the Japanese what they knew and not to lie, while refusing to divulge the secrets he carried himself. However, the rest of the Tang men strayed from their skipper's orders on this occasion and did their best to confuse their captors.

At war's end all nine Tang survivors remained alive in varying degrees of health. O'Kane had suffered the most and was very near death. His choice to recuperate in Hawaii before presenting himself to his family varied with the eager desire of the rest of the men to return home. Again Kershaw gives fresh insight into the postwar lives of each man, their faithfulness to each other through the years, and to the friends they left behind. The book ends with O'Kane, in the midst of his final struggle with Alzheimer's, pulling his daughter towards the ocean repeating, "We have to go save them." A poignant image of a captain who never forgot, and never got over, his crew.

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About Me

The first 'grown up' book Paul Crozier ever read was "War Fish" by George Grider. Since then he has spent most of his life researching the U.S. Submarine Force in WWII and USS Wahoo (SS-238) in particular.


This blog is dedicated to all who have served in the U.S. Submarine Force. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Admiral Chester Nimitz

"We shall never forget it was our submarines that held the line against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."

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