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.
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.
No target as yet & still dodging san pans.
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.
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.
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
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.
BACK TO HOME Editor: Bryan MacKinnon