31 DEC 1942 – Morton takes Command

This moment from submarine history is brought to you by the USS Bremerton SSN 698 group sponsorship of The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.
The latest DONATION UPDATE as of 31 DEC 2019 is found at the end of the article

 

NEW YEARS EVE 1942 -Brisbane, Australia

MORTON TAKES COMMAND OF WAHOO

-from “Wahoo” by Richard H. O’Kane

We pickup the story with a brief excerpt right before Wahoo’s 3rd War Patrol.

USS Wahoo (SS-238) with the “Clean Sweep” broom atop the periscope returns triumphantly to Pearl Harbor in early 1943 after a history making 3rd war patrol, the story in this article is a small but critical part of the legend that came to be…(image source alchetron.com)

 

Late in the morning on the last day of 1942, without ceremony, Dudley W. Morton took command of Wahoo. Back at the apartment my new captain told of the PCO school he had attended just before coming to Pearl.

“Commander Patterson and Hensel were our underway instructors, and while I was on the scope calling angles on the bow, reading the telemeter scale for the range, giving orders to the steersman for rudder and speed, whirling the ISWAS, and checking plot for the new course, the instructors would be making entries in their notebooks. After the approach, they’d compare my actions that were recorded in the Quartermaster’s Notebook with their recommendations. Because they could concentrate solely on conning, they almost always arrived at better submarine maneuvers and more quickly.”

Captain Morton paused, but only long enough to bring over a bottle of ale, and then continued.

“Now you’re going to be my new co-approach officer, not my assistant. You’ll make all of the approach and attack periscope observations, or on the TBT if we’re on the surface. I’ll conn Wahoo to the best attack position, and then you’ll fire the torpedoes.”

He paused again, and his serious countenance changed to the usual engaging smile as he added, “This way I’ll never get scared.”

This opportunity and sharing of responsibility was new within our submarine forces.  I answered with a simple, “I appreciate your confidence, Captain,” and told him I was off to the Sperry to make a lazy susan for our ship models. I would need them to sharpen the ability to call angles on the bow quickly and accurately.

There’d be no fired oysters or tuna delight this evening, for we had all been invited to a New Year’s Eve party….

 

Under the command of Dudley “Mush” Morton (right) with his executive/co-approach officer, Richard “Dick” O’Kane, the the crew of the Wahoo embarked on their 3rd war patrol. They proceeded to engrave in the annals of submarine warfare an unprecedented and astonishing series of successful attacks against the enemy including the intrepid “down the throat” sinking of a destroyer and the destruction, within one day, of a four ship convoy. These actions set the precedent for other aggressive U.S. Navy submarine skippers to emulate. The tenacious and dominating offensive provided by the United States Navy’s submarine force deprived the Imperial Japanese war machine of essential naval and maritime assets, natural resources, supplies, equipment and personnel. The result: Allied victory and an earlier end to World War II. (image source: google).

 

Regarding the “down the throat” shot, Dick O’Kane writes of the moments surrounding the firing of the final torpedo in Wewak Harbor:

 

The destroyer continued her turn, completing three-quarters of a circle, and then headed down the still visible fan that had been left by our torpedo wakes. Their apex marked our firing position, and the enemy would know that a submarine could not have traveled far.

“That’s all right,” said the captain, “Keep your scope up and we’ll shoot that SOB down the throat.”

(a few edge-of-your-seat paragraphs later O’Kane writes)

… the wire was steady on. “Fire!” and we headed for the bottom, rigging for depth charge.

The range on firing had been 750, which was the best, especially since the time for our first torpedo hit had now gone by. The props of our last torpedo had been blanked out by those of the destroyer, which were now roaring through our hull. There was no other noise, only her screws now menacingly close. We were passing 80 feet, and men commenced bracing themselves for the coming depth charges; though still confident, I chose the spot between the scope and the TDC.

The first depth charge was severe, but only to our nerves, and we braced ourselves in earnest for the pattern that would follow. A mighty roar and cracking, as if we were in the very middle of a lightening storm, shook Wahoo. The great cracking became crackling, and every old salt aboard knew the sound – that of steam heating a bucket of water, but here amplified a million times. The destroyer’s boilers were belching steam into the sea.

“We hit the son of a bitch!” rang out in unison from the whole fire control party, and doubtless throughout the boat. Never could apprehension and despair have changed to elation more abruptly. Already, George had an up angle on the boat in anticipation of the captain’s order, and with speed to help, had Wahoo back at periscope depth.

-End Excerpts from “Wahoo” by Richard H. O’Kane

 

 

 

 

DONATION UPDATE  31 DEC 2019

We’ve Reached Our Goal!

Yes shipmates, we have reached our goal of $10,000 before the end of 2019

 

Every single contribution is sincerely appreciated in the effort of providing recognition for the Bremerton and support for the creation of The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.

We’ve secured something every alumni, their family, and friends can take pride and interest in.

We had a great range of support from alumni plus some corporate matching.

Based on the numbers that I have (and there may be more coming in by the end of the 31st) we are at $10,190 of completed donations and pledge commitments transacted through the museum.

A spot for USS BREMERTON on the Interior Campaign Donor Wall is secured honoring the campaign’s biggest supporters!

With one day left before the end of 2019, we’ve reached our amazing mutual goal. So let’s party!…

Wait – One

There is one piece of business that’s not yet resolved, at least not until the strike of midnight Hawaii time and that is, who will get the Angel’s Envy Award?

Currently, the Angel’s Envy Award will go to two shipmates (who have chosen to remain anonymous)  whose donation/pledge amounts are $3000 each. In order for someone take top spot for the prize, pledge a greater amount than $3050 by midnight or perhaps go for the gusto, another $15,000 more either individually or collaboratively and that will launch us to the next lofty donor level.

Hey, what can I to say, when there is still time left on the clock?!

 

CONGRATULATIONS SHIPMATES, WE MADE A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE $10K GOAL

RAISE AN ADULT BEVERAGE IN A TOAST TO:

 

OUR SHIPMATES

and

THOSE ON ETERNAL PATROL

 

 THE BREMERTON

and

THE SILENT SERVICE

 

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ADDITIONAL DONATIONS TO THE MUSEUM

For your convenience, your pledge may be paid in installments over a 5-year period.

All contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law and made directly to The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum via the Bowfin.org website.

TO DONATE GO TO THE WEBSITE BELOW:

https://www.bowfin.org/capital-campaign or click on the Bowfin 

 

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