Dalton Keeter's Wahoo Diary

During the Wahoo's extraordinary Fourth Patrol (February 23 to April 6, 1943), Chief Machinist's Mate Dalton Keeter kept a private diary.  During this patrol, the Wahoo sunk 9 ships which was only bested by the Tang's third patrol of 10 ships sunk later in the war. Officially, such private diaries were not permitted; however, 57+ years hence, a portion survives written  between February 23 and March 19, 1943. Other such diaries existed on other boats such as the one heavily quoted in Eugene Fluckey's Thunder Below.  As commander of the Barb, had he known, Fluckey could not have permitted a crewman to keep such a diary but is thankful that one did. Mush Morton would have had a similar dilemma with Keeter's diary but like Fluckey, we are grateful that there is one. You can see here the frustration that the crew has with sanpans and inactivity.

Dalton Keeter went down the the Wahoo on the seventh patrol. His daughter, Elena Carignan, kindly granted the MacKinnon Organization permission to publish these on this web site.
Feb. 23, 1943
At 1300 we threw the lines off for our 4th Patrol. Our Chief Engineer, Lt. George Grider was transferred and we all hated to see him standing on the dock. Our old C.M.M. Lenox & Ch. P.M. Lindhe went back to the States on leave.

Feb. 27, 1943
We arrived in Midway 0900 this morning for F.O. I saw some of my old ship mates that I hadn't seen in years. At 1430, we left Midway & headed for the yellow sea. That is supposed to be a hot area and we're looking forward to great things.

March 9, 1943 
The trip has been very rough but without event until tonight. The auxiliary man Clary MM 1/C looking through the periscope sighted a ship. We dove & investigated. It was made out to be a 50 ton trawler. We made preparations to surface and blast him with our guns but it got awful dark & we lost him. We have a group of fellows organized to board vessels. We call them the Wahoo Commando's and they certainly do take a ragging. We are going to raise hell with 
san pans & fishing vessels. We have a few Molotov Cocktails on board to burn some of those wooden craft.

March 11, 1943
We made first all day dive today. We are headed out to get on the [illegible] & Formosa route. We have one hell of a time dodging san pans.

March 12, 1943
We are headed for a point 6 miles off sais shuto (Quel Part 20) again. We had a heck of a time dodging san pans. We will scatter them when we start out of here. We had battle stations tonight but it turned out to be a 50 ton trawler.

March 13
We've headed to a point 5 miles S.E. of Kokkigan? to(Kakyoto). We had battle stations at 0800 this morning which lasted until about 1130, it turned out to be a 1500 ton fishing trawler. Later we had battle stations for the same trawler, fired #7 tube and missed. Everyone is beginning to feel rather disappointed in this area.
March 14
No target as yet & still dodging san pans.

March 16
The captain broke his word today for we're in  another harbor or channel. We were drove down by some sort of patrol vessel at 0330 this morning. We're about 30 miles up this channel in about 100 feet of water. Maibutsu channel. San Pans are everywhere. We started out of there tonight 2 M.E.

March 17 
We stayed down most of today after we were driven down by 3 planes this morning. I believe these san pans & junks are look outs for the japs and we ought to blast hell out of a few of them. We are still looking for the shipping lane of Shouting.

March 19
We are off Dairen _______ today and in about 100 feet of water. 0400 we had a contact. We bent on four main engines FULL POWER to chase the target. 0530 we made ready 3 & 4 tubes & shortly after we fired #3 tube hitting

At this point, the the diary stops but obviously the original diary continued. No doubt it would have been exciting reading because two ships were sunk this day starting the nine ship run.


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