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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

Wahoo (SS-238)
Keel Laying - Launching


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War Patrols
Loss & Memorium
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Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Presidential Unit Citation
Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 28 June 1941, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 14 February 1942; Commissioned USS Wahoo (SS-238), 15 May 1942; Final Disposition, sunk on seventh patrol by Japanese aircraft in LaPerouse Strait, 11 October 1943, all hands lost; Struck from the Naval Register, 6 December 1943. Wahoo earned six battle stars for World War II service in addition to being awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her third patrol.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 15' 2"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Maximum Operating Depth, 300 ft; Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts; Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gal.; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 dual purpose deck gun, two .50 cal machine guns, two .30 cal machine guns; Propulsion, four GM diesel, 5,400hp, electric reduction gear with four main GE generator engines, 2,740shp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.
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Wahoo 44k Wahoo (SS-238) under construction on 14 June 1941 at Mare Island. Courtesy of Leeward Publications Ships Data #4, USS Bowfin, submitted by Aryeh (Lee) Wetherhorn.
Wahoo 42k Wahoo (SS-238) under construction on 14 June 1941 at Mare Island. Courtesy of Leeward Publications Ships Data #4, USS Bowfin,submitted by Aryeh (Lee) Wetherhorn.
Wahoo 988k Photo of ways 3 and 4 at Mare Island on 30 June 1941. To the left of the staging is a hull section for the Wahoo (SS-238). USN photo # MINSY 8412-6-41, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo & Whale 96k View of the Ballard's (AVD-10) after portion, taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 5 January 1942. Note motor launch stowed above the main deck between the smokestack and the after deckhouse, with life rafts nearby; 3"/50 dual-purpose gun atop the after deckhouse; large propeller guards at her stern. Two submarines under construction in the background are probably Wahoo (SS-238) and Whale (SS-239).
Photograph # 19-N-26638 from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Wahoo, Whale & Tinosa 489k The Wahoo (SS-238) is ready for launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 14 February 1942. The Whale (SS-239) is on the building ways on the left and a hull section for Tinosa (SS-283) is just visible on the lower left corner of the photo. Her keel would be laid on the same ways on 21 February 1942.
The large building in the rear of the photo is the Naval Hospital.
Note: RADM Richard O'Kane has autographed the photo in the upper left corner.
USN photo # 764-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo & Whale 169k The Wahoo (SS-238) is ready for her launching at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. The Whale (SS-239) is on the building ways to the right. USN photo # 771-42,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo & Whale 256k The Wahoo (SS-238) is ready for her launching at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. The Whale (SS-239) is on the building ways to the right.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Wahoo 175k The Wahoo (SS-238) is at the end of the building ways during her launching at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo & Whale 451k The stern of Wahoo (SS-238) is entering the water during her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 14 February 1942. The Whale (SS-239) is on the building ways on the left. USN photo # 772-42,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 120k The Wahoo (SS-238) is seen immediately after her launching at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. USN photo # 779-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 61k Wahoo (SS-238) is waterborne following her launching. US Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Wahoo 92k The Wahoo (SS-238) is seen in mid channel after her launching at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. USN photo # 780-42,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 156k Mrs. A. F. Huntington (Matron of Honor) left and Mrs. William C. Barker (Sponsor) pictured after the launching of the Wahoo (SS-238) at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. USN photo # 787-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 111k Mrs. William C. Barker (Sponsor) pictured after the launching of the Wahoo (SS-238) at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. USN photo # 789-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 176k Distinguished guest of the launching of the Wahoo (SS-238) at Mare Island on 14 February 1942. From left to right are: Col. Maurice E. Shearer, Mayor John Stewart, Mrs. A. F. Huntington (Matron of Honor), RADM Wilhelm L. Friedell (Shipyard Commandant), Mrs. William C. Barker (Sponsor), RADM Hugo W. Osterhaus, USN (Ret), Mrs. W. L. Friedell, RADM A, F, Huntington, Mrs. A. D. Denney, Capt. A. D. Denney, Mrs. John Stewart, Mrs. C. B. Lipman, Dean C. B. Lipman, Capt. F. G. Crisp. USN photo # 793-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 377k Boardside view of the Wahoo (SS-238) after her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 14 February 1942. Note: RADM Richard O'Kane has autographed the photo in the upper left corner. USN photo # 781-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 120k Postal cover marking the launching of the Wahoo (SS-238) on 14 February 1942 at Mare Island. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 150k Wahoo (SS-238) at sea on 19 June 1942. USN photo # MI-3397-42 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo added 12/25/12.
Wahoo 101k This and the next 3 photos appear either to be at San Diego or in Alameda in early August 1942. By 10 August 1942 the aft portion of her conning tower had been cut down (See bottom photo, #082304). She returned to Mare Island on the 3rd of August & put into dry dock #3 on the 4th and removed from dock the same day. She finally departed the yard on 10 August 1942. Photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 158k Linehandlers aboard the Wahoo (SS-238) make ready to secure the boat to the dock in early August 1942. Photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org. Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 47k The Wahoo (SS-238) dockside in early August 1942. Photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Wahoo 47k Bow view of the Wahoo (SS-238) at Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., possibly circa August 1942. Photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Wahoo 46k The Wahoo (SS-238) departs Mare Island for San Diego for work-ups for joining the fleet on 10 August 1942. USN photo # 4771-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. The photo is off a negative from the Vallejo Naval Historic Museum.
Wahoo 78k Wahoo (SS-238), off Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., 10 August 1942.
The ship behind Wahoo is the Shasta (AE-6), loading ammunition at the Naval Ammunition Depot Mare Island.
US Navy photo # 19-N-33836, from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the US National Archives, courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Wahoo 87k Wahoo (SS-238), view from astern, taken off Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., 10 August 1942. US Navy photo # 19-N-33837, from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the US National Archives, courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.
Wahoo 101k Wahoo (SS-238), at Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., 10 August 1942. Circles and associated text mark recent alterations to the submarine. The lighter YF-239 is alongside the submarines in the right background. Note the antenna for an SJ radar mounted on the light mast in front of Wahoo's periscope shears. US Navy photo # 19-N-33839, from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the US National Archives, courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.
Wahoo 108k Wahoo (SS-238), at Mare Island Navy Yard, CA., 10 August 1942. Circles and associated text mark recent alterations to the submarine. Note: Target bearing transmitter on the after bridge deck; antennas for SD radar (mounted atop the after mast on the periscope shears) and SJ radar (in front of the shears). US Navy photo # 19-N-33840, from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the US National Archives, courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.

View the Wahoo (SS-238)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Sailors cheering aboard USS Wahoo at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Sailors and officers aboard USS Wahoo which is approaching the submarine base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
On Eternal Patrol
History of Wahoo by David Laing
Legends of the Deep
ComSubPac Report of loss of USS WAHOO (SS 238) October 11, 1943 - 80 Men Lost
Sonar and photographic images from 1994 - Present
MacKinnon Organization / USS Wahoo Home Page
A WWII Submarine Finally Comes Home
Ships and Tonnage Sunk or Damaged in WW II by U.S. Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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