The USS Wahoo
(SS 238) was a submarine that served in the Pacific
Theater during World War II
. The Wahoo's namesake is Wahoo, Nebraska where the USS Wahoo memorial is located.
The keel of USS Wahoo (SS-238) was laid 28 June 1941 at the Navy Yard in Mare Island, California. She was launched 14 February 1942 and commissioned 15 May 1942 with LCDR Marvin G. Kennedy as her first Commanding Officer.
Wahoo made seven war patrols, the first two under the command of LCDR Kennedy and the others with LCDR Dudley W. (Mush) Morton as skipper. The unusual skill and daring of these men allowed Wahoo to sink a total of 20 ships totaling 60,038 tons in the short time of seven patrols, just over a year of hunting. She was the first submarine to sink an entire Japanese convoy single-handedly. Upon returning from this patrol the Wahoo displayed a broom tied to the top of the periscope mast, indicating a "clean sweep" of a convoy. The broom on the mast became the signal of a clean sweep for the entire submarine fleet.
Wahoo was lost in action during her seventh patrol, probably in the Sea of Japan, late in 1943. Morton was returning home through a narrow straight after causing serious damage to Japanese shipping in the Sea of Japan. Details are scetchy, but shore batteries opened fire forcing Wahoo to dive. Aircraft later spotted oil on the surface (this has been confirmed through recovered photographs). The ASW aircraft attacked the Wahoo. She was later listed as overdue and presumed lost. It is also possilbe that Wahoo sustained damage due to a mine.
Wahoo and her crew were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her third war patrol.
See also Dudley Morton for a very cool war story and a look into who the man was and how he did battle.
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