The USS Wahoo came under new leadership while on their third war patrol at the beginning of 1943.
Marvin Kennedy, the sub’s commander, was relieved of duty by Lt. Commander Dudley Morton. Morton came to the USS Wahoo from the Asiatic Fleet.
Morton was from Kentucky and had graduated from the Naval Academy. He was a firm believer that many of the skippers needed to be far more aggressive to achieve victory.
He was also very eager to prove himself to the Navy. He attacked a Japanese Destroyer in New Guinea’s Wewak Harbor, firing five torpedoes. All five missed, so he changed tactics and charged at full speed.
He told the sailors to be calm, and once they were within 800-meters, he had the crew fire another torpedo. It was a direct hit.
They sank four more ships then headed back to Pearl Harbor, which was their home base. Morton and the Wahoo went on to take out nine merchant ships in the following two patrols.
One of them was a 15,000-ton seaplane tender. Morton was making his mark with his impressive numbers.
He went back to their base at Pearl Harbor to reload before heading back out. Then, the Wahoo sailed to the Sea of Japan.
In the first week of October, the Wahoo sank four more ships. Morton and the Wahoo’s grand total was brought up to 19 ships, an amazing feat.
On October 11th, the Wahoo was attacked by the Japanese. Depth charges and aerial bombs hit the Wahoo and causing critical damage.
The submarine sank by the La Perouse Strait. All who were on board the Wahoo perished. Morton was given the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross for his leadership on the USS Wahoo.
The USS Wahoo was located at 213 feet off the La Perouse Strait. A group of Russian divers found the submarine.