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
Harriet Bradford of Denver, Widow of Dudley "Mush" Morton, Comdr. of the
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
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.
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.
arriving that day was Harriet, Chrissy, Mr. George Logue, and Tom Logue
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
THE MONUMENT :
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
In memory of the Japanese ships and people sunken by USS Wahoo in sea
of Japan and
the Sailors of USS Wahoo who were Sunken by the Japanese Naval Aircraft
and Ships in
On October 11, 1943, the Japanese Navy sank the American Submarine
Wahoo SS238 in
a Five hour air and sea attack. Wahoo was leaving the Sea of Japan
after having sunk
several ships in a two week raid. When the Wahoo was lost it was
the highest scoring
submarine in the US Navy. Eighty Americans sleep in the Soya Strait
12 miles north-east
of here. Many Japanese sleep in the Sea of Japan from Wahoo attacks.
This monument was erected by the members of the Japanese Attack
Group and relatives of
Also is the Wahoo Emblem and the list of the 5 ships sunk by her.
Americans lying in Wahoo. Old enemies met as brothers to dedicate
that our countries will
have lasting peace and war will never again destroy the friendship
we now enjoy today.
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.
Back to Wahoo