Wahoo Peace Memorial Dedication notes



These are some notes I made while I attended the Wahoo Peace Memorial Dedication in Wakkanai, Hokkaido, Saturday, September 9. 1995.  Though intended for those familiar with the people involved, others might find it interesting.


  • Harriet Bradford of Denver, Widow of Dudley "Mush" Morton, Comdr. of the USS Wahoo.
  • Chrissy Morton, of Denver Granddaughter of Mush Morton.
  • George Logue of Williamsport, PA, principle American Organizer and brother of Robert Logue who was lost on the Wahoo.
  • Tom Logue, Lt. Comdr. USNR, nuclear sub vet, nephew of George and Robert Logue.
  • George Hendricks, Capt. USNR,  undersea warfare authority.
  • Marty Schaffer, WWII sub vet and a hell of an energetic guy.
  • Dr. Larry Hagen, Baptist Missionary and resident of Wakkanai for 32 years. Instrumental in

  • handling affairs between the Americans and Japanese.
  • Vice Adm. Gomi, JSDS Navy, chief of all naval operations north of Tokyo
  • Mr. Uchida: Japanese Pilot who attacked the Wahoo.
  • Mr. Tsuruga, Wakkanai Mayor
  • Satoru Saga, Wakkanai Businessman and Chairman of Peace Committee
  • Mr. Mori: survivor of one of the ships sunk by the Wahoo.
  • ? Woodman, Capt. USN, chief of staff, Command for Japan
  • Mr. Shibata: sailor who first  saw the Wahoo passing under his ship
  • Mr. Tamagawa, Master of Ceremonies
  • Tsuneo Tanaka, Comdr. JSDS Navy, Commanding officer of the of the JDS Yuugumo
  • Glen Irvine, Comdr. USN, Commanding Officer of the USS Patriot.
  • ? Linsey, Capt., USN, Chief of staff for Pacific operations?
  • Mark Davidson, Representing the American Government from the Sapporo Consulate.
  • Ayami Saga, Daughter of Saga-san and important interpreter.
  • Bryan MacKinnon, by virtue of being born grand nephew of Mush Morton, I got treated as  a VIP for a weekend.




    Arrived in Wakkanai and was met by Dr Hagen and Mr. Saga a local businessman.  Also
    arriving that day was Harriet, Chrissy, Mr. George Logue, and Tom Logue (Lt. Comdr.,
    USNR). Dr and Mrs. Hagen put is up for the night. During the evening, Logue gave out
    copies of the recently translated Japanese battle reports complete with diagrams.


    Dr  Hagen gave us a tour of Wakkanai including the Japanese Naval Radar Station from the hilltop over the city. The view of the surrounding area was magnificent including the area where the battle took place and Sakhalin Island. The Japanese Naval officer who was leading us around stated that this is the best weather he's seen in the 1.5 years since he's been stationed there. He also pointed out the place where the Korean AL flight hit the ocean south of Sakhalin when it was shot down.  This tragedy occurred around 3:00 AM and no one had visual site of it.  But the Japanese had it tracked on radar until it hit the ocean. Debris from it washed ashore on area beaches for sometime after that.  It seems that this area has been strategic for some time.

    We moved to the Zinninku Hotel in the afternoon and the most rest of the participants arrived.  Met the mayor of Wakkanai later in the day. We attended an  "informal" dinner Friday night with speeches by Japanese and Americans including Harriet. Harriet's basic thesis was without forgiveness, there can be no peace.

    After dinner, we returned to the hotel where George Hendricks gave a detailed account of what is currently known of the Wahoo to Harriet, Chrissy, George Logue, Tom Logue, me, and Mark Davidson.

    Chrissy and Harriet retired but the rest of us stayed in the lobby. Joining us later was Adm. Gomi who was impressed by the about of info Hendricks had. I was quite fascinated to watch as Hendricks laid out the damage control procedures for the Wahoo. Gomi was impressed by the detailed Japanese battle reports that Hendricks and Logue had been given by Gomi's predecessor, Adm. Ueda.  This dialog was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

    Notes on the Wahoo's final mission

    It's worth mentioning at this point that the theory proposed by O'Kane in his book [Okane1987] about the Wahoo's destruction could not have happened exactly as he put forth. This is no fault of his own, just that more information has come to light since then.   Had a torpedo circled around and hit the Wahoo, the Wahoo would have been blown apart and sunk rapidly; this actually happened to O'Kane later when he was captaining the Tang.

    Things to consider:

  • The Wahoo was leaving its patrol area 10 days ahead of schedule and crossing a shallow ocean area  in clear weather during the day.   The most likely reason is that either it was out of torpedoes, damaged in some significant way, or perhaps cornered with her only escape through the sea to the open sea. Daylight crossings were made through the strait later in the war but it was on the surface at full throttle in hopes that the enemy would be caught off guard; in the case of the Bowfin (SS-287), their hopes were justified [Sumrall1999 p. 32]. However, in the case of the Wahoo, a submerged crossing indicates damage before entering the strait.
  • Since the Wahoo had sunk at least 4 ships in the Japan sea in the previous two weeks, the Japanese were on alert for any submarines escaping through the strait.
  • The day before, the USS Sawfish (SS-276) had went through the same way and was unsuccessfully attacked before escaping. The Japanese in fact thought they were attacking the same submarine two days in a row.  At no time did the Wahoo and Sawfish ever encounter each other.
  • The Wahoo was first sighted by a shore battery which fired upon the Wahoo. The Wahoo immediately submerged. Later, a Japanese patrol plane noticed an oil slick on the surface. This could come either from some damage such as the cannon fire or mines or from a fatigued sailor evacuating waste oil into the ocean instead of into waste oil bins.
  • After the attack was concluded five hours later, bubbles of oil continued to surface away from the last know sighting of the Wahoo, indicating that the Wahoo was still alive and slowing trying to escape from the scene.
  • Fishermen have over the years reported catching their nets on something about 10 miles from the last known location of the Wahoo.  It's worth noting that a Russian submarine was also lost in this area during the final days of the war in the area after probably hitting a mine.

  • So a theory proposed by George Logue after reviewing the reports and speaking with Captain Hendricks is that the Wahoo was still alive after the fatigued Japanese called off the attack. It limped along the bottom for some 10 miles before finally dying, unable to surface.



    We toured the Japanese and American ships in the harbor.  Had coffee with the Comdr. of the USS Patriot.  We were shown the Combat Info Center in the JDS Yuugumo, a Japanese sub destroyer, which is usually not permitted.  Noticing that the sea charts were out, Hendricks and Logue made measurements as to the precise location of the battle and probable wreck. The irony was not lost on me; here was an American naval officer was on board a Japanese submarine destroyer pinpointing the location of the sinking of an American submarine by Japanese naval forces.

    The memorial dedication ceremony began at Cape Soya at 3:00 and lasted an hour. The site of Japanese and American Naval officers sitting together in their formal dress whites was impressive. More impressive where the old foes, arm in arm, unveiling the memorial, laying wreathes, and voicing the strong desire for peace between our two countries.

    Maybe 15 or 20 members of the press were on hand taking photos and videos. Later they were interviewing Harriet, Logue, Saga and other Japanese.

    In the evening, we attended the "formal" dinner which was more informal than the informal dinner the night before. Among the were attendees dignitaries, family, veterans, townspeople, and enlisted men  from both ships.  The Japanese and American enlisted men were busy getting their photos taking together and toasting each other.  A number of excellent speeches were given.  The emphasis was, however, as much on the details of the battle as it was for calls for peace.  I guess this happens when you have old warriors
    together swapping stories.


    It is two meters high and made of polished granite.  A truncated gray pyramid supports a
    burnt orange sphere representing the sun.  Between the base of the sun and the top of the
    pyramid, one can look through a gap to the ocean battle site.

    Inscription on the base (in English and Japanese):

    Inscription on the accompanying stainless steel plaque (English  and Japanese): Also is the Wahoo Emblem and the list of the 5 ships sunk by her.


    The night before, Adm. Gomi told Harriet me that NHK TV was broadcasting the report of the ceremony on its evening news.  We mentioned that we'd like to see it and he replied that he'll see what he can do. Sunday morning, a Japanese Naval officer came to the hotel and presented us with two video tapes. I watched mine when I got home.  It was two reports, each a few minutes long. Harriet, Logue, and several Japanese were prominently featured. Chrissy and I even got in there for a few seconds. I had someone at work translate what was said.

    Harriet, Chrissy, Tom and George Logue, and George Hendricks went to the area islands. I returned to Tokyo.


    I expected a good ceremony but it exceeded all my expectations.  It came off splendidly. For the Americans, it was good to experience real Japanese hospitality. I can honestly say I'll never forget this event.

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