Skip to comments.Chinese naval fleet seen off northern Japan
Posted on 07/14/2013 7:07:46 PM PDT by robowombat
Chinese naval fleet seen off northern Japan
NATIONAL JUL. 15, 2013 - 06:54AM JST ( 19 )TOKYO
A Chinese naval fleet was Sunday spotted sailing for the first time through an international strait between northern Japan and Russias far east, the Japanese defense ministry said.
The two missile destroyers, two frigates and a supply ship passed through the Soya Strait from the Sea of Japan to the Sea of Okhotsk early Sunday, the ministry said.
The channel, also known as La Perouse, separates the Russian island of Sakhalin and Hokkaido.
The five ships took part in joint naval exercises with Russia from July 5-12 off Vladivostok.
Two other Chinese naval ships which also took part in the drills were seen moving into the East China Sea on Saturday.
The purpose of the Chinese fleets passage through the Soya Strait is not known, Kyodo news agency quoted a ministry official as saying.
On Saturday, a fleet of 16 Russian naval ships was seen moving through the Soya Strait into the Sea of Okhotsk, the ministry said.
China and Russia held the joint naval exercisestheir second such drillamid regional concerns about Chinas growing maritime power.
Tensions have been growing over Chinas island disputes with Japan and other neighbors.
Chinese government surveillance ships have frequently approached the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by China as the Diaoyus, since Japan nationalised some of them last September.
Chinese army chief of general staff General Fang Fenghui earlier said the joint drills were not targeting any third party, according to the official Chinese Xinhua news agency.
Navy Says Wreck Found Off Japan is Legendary Sub USS Wahoo
Story Number: NNS061031-15Release Date: 10/31/2006 7:01:00 PM A A A Email this story to a friend Print this story
From Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) — Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet declared Oct. 31 that the sunken submarine recently discovered by divers in the Western Pacific is, indeed, the World War II submarine USS Wahoo (SS 238).
“After reviewing the records and information, we are certain USS Wahoo has been located,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. “We are grateful for the support of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and appreciate greatly the underwater video footage of the submarine provided by our Russian navy colleagues, which allowed us to make this determination. This brings closure to the families of the men of Wahoo - one of the greatest fighting submarines in the history of the U.S. Navy.”
In July, the Russian dive team “Iskra” photographed wreckage lying in about 213 feet (65 meters) of water in the La Perouse (Soya) Strait between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin. The divers were working with The Wahoo Project Group, an international team of experts coordinated by Bryan MacKinnon, a relative of Wahoo’s famed skipper, Cmdr. Dudley W. “Mush” Morton.
“I am very pleased to be part of an effort where old adversaries have joined together as friends to find the Wahoo,” said MacKinnon.
Wahoo was last heard from Sept. 13, 1943, as the Gato-class submarine departed the island of Midway en route to the “dangerous, yet important,” Sea of Japan. Under strict radio silence, Morton and his crew proceeded as ordered. Radio contact was expected to be regained with Midway in late October upon Wahoo’s departure from the Sea of Japan through the Kurile Island chain. No such contact was made. Following an aerial search of the area, Wahoo was officially reported missing Nov. 9, 1943.
At the time, the loss of Wahoo was believed due to mines or a faulty torpedo. But Japanese reports later stated that one of its planes had spotted an American submarine in the La Perouse Strait Oct. 11, 1943. These reports indicate a multi-hour combined sea and air attack involving depth charges and aerial bombs finally sunk Wahoo.
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force retired Vice Adm. Kazuo Ueda assisted the group with providing historical records from the Imperial Japanese Navy that identified the location where Wahoo was sunk.
“We, the families of Wahoo, recognize the historical scholarship and support provided by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. We would also like to send our thanks to the U.S. Navy for their diligence in finding and identifying the USS Wahoo,” said Doug Morton, son of Dudley Walker Morton.
“The Morton family is thrilled that there will be closure to the loss of our father,” added Morton, who also spoke on behalf of his sister, Edwina Thirsher and her family. “The loss of a famous submariner who was loved by his family and crew has been very difficult.”
During Wahoo’s rare foray in the Sea of Japan, Morton reportedly sunk at least four Japanese ships. For the patrol, Morton was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross - his fourth.
Morton is credited with sinking 19 ships totaling nearly 55,000 tons during his four patrols in command of Wahoo; his total was second only to his own executive officer, Richard H. O’Kane. Retired Rear Adm. O’Kane went on to command USS Tang (SS 306) and to receive the Medal of Honor.
Noted naval historian Theodore Roscoe described Morton as “an undersea ace” in his book “Submarine Operations in World War II.”
“Few skippers equaled Morton’s initiative, and none had a larger reserve of nerve,” Roscoe wrote. “Combining capability with dynamic aggressiveness, Morton feared nothing on or under the sea.”
The discovery of Wahoo is the culmination of more than a decade of work by an international team dedicated to finding the ill-fated submarine. In 2004, electronic surveys sponsored by a major international energy company (The Sakhalin Energy Investment Corporation) identified the likely site.
The Bowfin Museum in Hawaii worked with the team as an independent “scrutineer” to ensure the project was done correctly and will serve as a central repository for all the Wahoo Project’s findings, according to museum executive director, submariner, and retired Navy Capt. Jerry Hofwolt.
“This is the right thing to do for the families,” Hofwolt said. “We want to be able to tell people that this is where your loved ones are and to be a clearinghouse for all of the information about this and other lost submarines.”
Hofwolt said the museum is making plans to host a memorial ceremony to honor the crew members, most likely in October 2007.
Officials with the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force reviewed analysis and photos provided by the Bowfin Museum and agreed the wreck is Wahoo. The wreck had several characteristics consistent with Wahoo, and the submarine was found very near those reported in Imperial Japanese Navy records. Photographs are available at warfish.com and oneternalpatrol.com. General information about the USS Wahoo Project is available at usswahoo.org.
Wahoo is believed to be near the site of the Russian submarine L-19, possibly sunk by mines in late August 1945 after Japan had surrendered. Based on the information made available to them by The Wahoo Project Group, the Russian team wished to confirm the site was Wahoo and not the L-19. According to The Wahoo Project Group Web site, the group has offered continued assistance to the Russian government in finding that submarine as well.
In addition to the ceremony to be held in Pearl Harbor, U.S. Navy officials are planning an at-sea, wreath-laying service sometime next year to pay tribute to Wahoo. If it can be arranged, a combined service with the Russians and Japanese to honor Wahoo and the Russian submarine L-19, as well as the respective Japanese losses, is also a possibility.
The Navy has no plans to salvage or enter the Wahoo wreck. Naval tradition has long held that the sea is a fitting final resting place for Sailors lost at sea. The Sunken Military Craft Act protects military wrecks, such as Wahoo, from unauthorized disturbance.
Wahoo’s discovery comes on the heels of a similar discovery of USS Lagarto (SS 371), which the Navy confirmed was found in the Gulf of Thailand in June.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave men on Wahoo and to all of our WWII submariners who performed so magnificently during the war. Much of our submarine force heritage, and many of our traditions, can be traced back to their legacy.” said Rear Adm. Jay Donnelly, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “One of my favorite quotes is from Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz who, after the war, said: ‘We salute those gallant officers and men of our submarines who lost their lives in that long struggle. We shall never forget our submariners that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds.’”
According to Pacific Fleet submarine history, the submarine force remained intact following the attack on Pearl Harbor. It became clear at that time the submarine fleet would take the fight to the enemy. By war’s end, submarines had supported all major fleet operations and made more than 1,600 war patrols. Pacific Fleet submarines, like Wahoo, accounted for 54 percent of all enemy shipping sunk during the war. Success was costly. Fifty-two submarines were lost, and nearly 3,600 submariners remain on “Eternal Patrol.”
Photos of what appears to be the USS Wahoo:
Agreed. As it is Obama's last term, I would think that the Russians and Red Chinese would want to team up to, suddenly, one day, challenge Mr Gay-boy president, before he vanishes into the bath-houses forever. Obama will get the 3 am phone call, freeze, and the second Pearl Harbor will be over. This time, I think it will involve nuclear weapons. Our nobel peace prize, nucs-hating wimp, will NOT retaliate.
I hadn't even been aware that Wahoo had been discovered. I am grateful for the reply because the story of Wahoo, its captain and crew has always stayed with me. Every-time I had looked at a map of the Soya Strait I've constantly wondered if this was really the final resting place of Mush and his crew-now I know the answer-thank you.
You’ve touched on something that has crossed my mind more than once. It is the best chance for a nuclear strike to destroy the United States with that weak, pansy Obama sitting on his throne.
I think Wash DC, among several other US cities, will be destroyed in a surprise nuclear attack, and likely Obama with it. God’s judgement.
You may already have read this one, if not I highly recommend it:
Wake of the Wahoo: The Heroic Story of America’s Most Daring WWII Submarine, USS Wahoo [Paperback]
Forest J. Sterling (Author)
From Pearl Harbor to her last and fatal voyage, the heroic story of America’s most daring World War II submarine, as told by the only surviving member of her crew Forest J. Sterling. USS Wahoo (SS-238) was the most successful American submarine in the World War II Pacific Fleet. She was the first to penetrate an enemy harbor and sink a Japanese ship. And was the first to wipe-out an entire convoy single-handedly. In her 11 short months of life, Wahoo managed an incredible 21 kills, totaling over 60,000 tons of ships. Then, just 45 minutes before leaving Midway (island) for what would be her last and fatal patrol, Yeoman Forest Sterling was suddenly transferred to other duty. The result is this book; Wake of the Wahoo, Sterling’s fantastic yet completely authentic account of a remarkable crew, captain and the ship they lived and died for. Wahoo’s captain the aggressive and brave Lieutenant Commander Dudley ‘Mush’ Morton was the pride of the submarine fleet. He would earn the Navy Cross at the helm of Wahoo. The sub’s executive officer the daring Lieutenant Richard H. ‘Dick’ O’Kane. O’Kane would later receive the Medal of Honor in command of the submarine USS Tang (SS-306. Forest Sterling tells the story as no one else could Wake of the Wahoo is a true account of American submarine warfare from a man who lived it ... and live to tell about it.
About the Author
Born in Trenton, Missouri in 1911, Forest J. Sterling was just 3 years old when his family moved to Henryetta, Oklahoma. After graduating from high school in Ordway, Colorado, Sterling joined the U.S. Navy in 1930. Seven years later he left the Navy, and after traveling the country, settled in Los Angeles (CA.). When war broke out in 1941, Sterling re-enlisted in the Navy and requested duty in submarines. One year later, Forest Sterling reported aboard USS Wahoo (SS-238) as her new Yeoman. Home on leave in the summer of 1943, Forest married his wife Marie. With Wahoo, Sterling became sensitive to a growing feeling among his shipmates that the submarine would not survive the war. He tried to laugh it off by telling everyone that, since he was going to see the year 2000, they had nothing to worry about as long as he was on board. Then it happened: Just minutes before she sailed on her ill-fated war patrol Sterling was miraculously transferred and the Wahoo was lost.
After attending stenography school in San Diego, CA., Sterling eventually returned to the Pacific before the end of World War II. In 1956, he retired from the U.S. Navy as a Chief Petty Officer. Following retirement, Sterling spent two years attending Ventura College (CA.) earning an Associate of Arts degree. He then wrote “Wake Of The Wahoo” in 1960. When asked why he wrote the book, Sterling said; “I just wanted to tell about the fine officers and enlisted men who went to their deaths in that sub, so folks could learn what life in a sub is like, particularly during combat.” “Wake Of The Wahoo” was the first book on the submarine service written by an enlisted man. In 1963, the United States Naval Institute chose Sterling’s “Wake Of The Wahoo” as one of the three best books written by an enlisted man from World War II. Since that time, “Wake Of The Wahoo” has become a submarine classic. Living in Gulfport, Mississippi, Forest Sterling passed away in May of 2002 from congestive heart failure just six days after celebrating his 91st birthday.
Paperback: 221 pages
Publisher: R.A. Cline Publishing; 4 edition (October 1, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.6 inches
What a delight to find this book finally back in print after over thirty years! It’s an all-time favorite, a true classic of naval lore and one of two late-’50s/early-’60s seminal works on U.S. fleet submarines in World War II which, as a boy, helped create for me a lifelong interest in subs in general and American WWII boats in particular. The difference between this book and others like it is that, in general, those others have tended to either take a stuffier historical position, or be written from a colder, more distant command perspective: the Captain’s privileged and/or technical remembrances.
Sterling’s account, on the other hand, is completely his own: a totally down-to-earth first person retelling of all his adventures and experiences as an enlisted man aboard Wahoo, the pride of the fleet at the time. It’s all in there: the boring monotony of days of fruitless patrolling on station and the long treks back and forth across the
Pacific; the infectious and overwhelming excitement of battle and the utter terror wrought by Japanese depth charge counterattacks; even the good-natured fun and camaraderie of between-patrols R&R at Brisbane, Midway and Pearl. And it’s told from a definitely Everyman point of view, very approachable and easily satisfying in its day-to-day recounting.
And Wahoo herself? Her name, and that of her daring late skipper, Dudley W. “Mush” Morton, remain legendary among our submarine force. Under his command she became, arguably, America’s most famous WWII sub: first to successfully penetrate an enemy harbor and torpedo a ship therein; first to successfully execute the “down the throat” torpedo shot; certainly first to wipe out an entire convoy one-by-one in a string of stirring attacks. It’s a uniquely compelling story — with Sterling on hand for all of it — and it reads like a good novel. Indeed, many good books are currently available about life aboard U.S. subs in WWII. But if you’re going to read only one on the subject, this is the book to dive into.