Friday, August 18, 2006

August 2006: Probable location of the Wahoo

USS Bowfin Museum Press Release
Contact: Charles Hinman, (808) 423-1341

The Search for USS Wahoo (SS-238)
Energy Company confirms research team’s position
Russian Divers prove site as submarine

The search project for the World War II United States submarine USS Wahoo (SS–238), taken to a new level with the assistance of major energy contractors and Russian Authorities, has confirmed what the USS Wahoo Project Group believes may be the final resting place of America’s most famous WWII submarine.

The Project Group was given a substantial lift when Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. provided immense support in the form of offshore electronic surveys of sites previously indicated to the Russian authorities by the USS Wahoo Project Group, headed by the MacKinnon Organization (Japan) and the Ocean Wilderness Group, (Australia). The surveys confirm a side scan anomaly, which may possibly be the submarine USS Wahoo. The energy company, aware of the historic and humanitarian operation, selflessly offered its support, which coincided with its own offshore surveys.

A sub-sea survey conducted by Russian divers out of Vladivostok, utilizing the Project Group’s information, confirmed the findings as a submarine at the end of July.

The USS Wahoo Project Group received U S Navy approval for their South China Sea Project, the search for five lost US WW II submarines and several other vessels in 2003 after their approach to the US Secretary of the Navy, following many years of development. The Project Group has received continual support and assistance from Russian and Japanese authorities, sponsors, veterans and researchers form several countries. The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, the project’s scrutineers, research custodians and project curators, will be the official recipient of the project on behalf of those who were lost, their families, and their comrades. The Museum will work closely with the USS Wahoo Project Group and US Navy, Russian, and Japanese authorities in the correct approach management of the confirmation identification project. Specialist Archaeologists and Anthropologists have been appointed to oversee the identification project, and work with Ocean Wilderness Group divers to document the site.

The project, which has been an epic of research and beauracratic negotiation, has brought together several nations, individuals, private organizations and companies in support of veterans and families of the lost from previously opposing nations. The generation of goodwill and the prospect for closure, historic documentation of the site and the commemoration of the brave by the United States, Japanese and Russian governments is remarkable. The support of the Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Department, and the assistance provided to the Project Group by the Russian Federation Embassy to Australia has been exceptional.

Managed by Bryan MacKinnon, grandnephew of Wahoo Commander Dudley “Mush” Morton, the Project Group, now preparing a complete, non- intrusive sub-sea survey, has a thorough understanding of their responsibilities with regard to the USS Wahoo site and other sites. The group has no intention of either releasing the location of, or interfering in any way, with the site. Their primary aim is to verify, document, and to provide record of the USS Wahoo and her resting place as the tomb of eighty brave souls, entrusting all gathered materials to the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and the appropriate authorities for historic and commemorative purposes, and to close another mystery in the chapter of events known as World War II.

This effort follows up the June 2006 final identification of the USS Lagarto (SS-371) located in the Gulf of Siam in the summer of 2005. These two identifications are the first in as series that may result in several identifications of submarines lost in World War II and provide closure to relatives and loved ones. Critical is ensuring that the locations, while identified, remain undisturbed as fitting resting places for these World War II submarine heroes. The identifications are made possible through improved search technologies that use remote search techniques and computer analysis. The Project Wahoo Group has also offered its assistance to the government of the Russian Federation in the location and documentation of the USSR L-19 submarine lost in the final stages of WWII.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Wahoo Search Newsletter #7 -March 9, 2005

Project Status

First of all, I wish to thank all of you for your patience since the last time we issued a Wahoo update project. The project is very much alive . Since the last update, there has been work going on behind the scenes with the logistics being rounded out and refined. More details will be provided as we can. As the first and greatest of all Wahoo searchers, George Logue, has noted, he has been searching for the Wahoo since just after WWII and as long as the project stays alive, she will be found.

The Wahoo lies within a few miles of a contentious international border between Russia and Japan . In the area there are also abundant natural resources in the region. And this is the war grave of a famous American warship. All three create a dynamic that we must be respectful of.

A final word about one of the 21 st century's most troubling problems: SPAM. Some people may have not been able to contact me since I was forced to employ some rather aggressive anti-spam techniques (that is, some of the Wahoo email accounts were suspended). Although SPAM is still very much still with us, some newer technology is helping me to at least keep it under control.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Wahoo Search Newsletter #6 - August 13, 2003

Project Status

The project team appreciates the patience of everyone who has been waiting for the next Wahoo project update. Given the amount of email we've been receiving inquiring of the status, it's reassuring of the keen interest there is.

While we were targeting 2003 (the 60th anniversary of the Wahoo's lose) as the search year, the recent political and economic environment put this year just beyond reach. The world financial and business climate reduced the input from sponsors and therefore added to the delay. This situation is rapidly changing again and will hopefully allow the project to move to the next level. Unfortunately due to climatic conditions, that will be 2004 at this stage.

SPAM takes aim at the Wahoo Project

When one plans for a project of this type, communication resources are always budgeted for as a matter of course. One used to never anticipate that the amount of SPAM email would adversely impact that. However, that was then and this is now. One common mechanism for SPAMers is to search through web sites looking for email addresses. The Wahoo web pages have been so victimized forcing me to remove almost all text email addresses. This is unfortunate since it makes it more inconvenient for readers to send email. However, until truly effective means are developed to combat SPAM, this will be the reality.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Wahoo Search Newsletter #5 - December 15, 2002


  • Winter in Soya, Wakkanai, and Sakhalin
  • Conditional Russian Permission
  • popularity
  • Season's greetings to one and all

Though the project went into "Dry-dock" in August as the weather window closed for the year, much has been going on below deck. So we conclude the year 2002 with Wahoo Newsletter #5.

Winter in Soya, Wakkanai, and Sakhalin.

Though the editor of this newsletter has been an active user of the World Wide Web since its inception in the early 1990's, it never ceases to amaze. When looking for winter photos of Wakkanai, a quick Google search yielded dozens. And when the temperatures were required, a few dozen keystrokes later, and they were there to see. The photos included in this edition were taken by Frank Bergin in the early 1960's. Mr. Bergin was stationed at Wakkanai with the USAF's 6986th RSM - a cold place to be during the cold war. After his recent retirement, he spends some of his time working on the web site from whence I obtained these photos (

The average January temperature in Wakkanai is -5.5 °C (22 °F). The maximum snowfall during this time averages 73 cm (28 inches). Across the strait, the southern tip of Sakhalin is similar (we don't even want to think about how cold it is in the northern section of the island).

Conditional Russian Permission!

The Wahoo Project Team is pleased to report that the Government of the Russian Federation has officially and positively responded to our request for permission to search in their waters. But there are some requirements that the Russians are asking of us. The Wahoo lies in a sensitive area of the world and we will honor all diplomatic requirements asked of us. The Russian Government clearly understands that this is not a routine project and is just as concerned as we are about a successful and safe execution. We will keep you up to date as this progresses.

Hit count

If the web sites at are any indication, there remains a continued interest in the Wahoo. Since January 1, 2002, there have been about 4800 visits to the web pages here. That works about to about 13 people per day. Not enough to knock the socks off an e-commerce site but respectable nonetheless.

Season's greetings to one and all

Fifty-nine years since the Wahoo and the Russian L-19 were lost, the winter waters of the Soya Strait are cold, dark and swift as 2002 draws to a close. In spite of the uncertainties with us today, we are mindful of the better world for which men from all sides sacrificed their lives six decades ago. We wish one and all the Season's greetings and a prosperous and happy new year.

Be sure to stay informed by visiting

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Wahoo Search Newsletter #4 - August 13, 2002

Project Dry Dock

Although the heat of the summer is long from waning in Tokyo, the U. S. and much of the Northern Hemisphere, our project is window rapidly coming to a close in the Soya Strait for the year 2002. The rainfall almost triples from 90 mm (3.5 inches) in August to 231 mm (9.3 inches) in September. The water temperature begins to decrease and the environment generally grows more inhospitable as autumn approaches. What does this mean for the project? Considering all the factors, we determined to move the project into dry dock for the year and begin planning for spring of 2003. Although tough for the project team which was nearly in a peak state of readiness, this will give us more time to reconsider the scope of the project and consider things that we did not have the time or resources to before.

So stay tuned. You will hear more from us before the next spring as we continue to prepare. The focus for the foreseeable future will be:

  • Continue to work with our Russian friends as to the best time and way to search in their waters.
  • Consider different technologies that we did not have the time or resources to consider before.
  • Working with project sponsors.

Be sure to stay informed by visiting

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Wahoo Search Newsletter #3 - July 10, 2002


  • Planning Status
  • Who has interest in the Wahoo
  • Project sponsorship
  • Why do we need permission anyway?
  • Clive Cussler in Japan


  • Planning Status
  • Who has interest in the Wahoo
  • Project sponsorship
  • Why do we need permission anyway?
  • Clive Cussler in Japan

Planning Status

We've entered what may be considered the quiet phase of the project. The high level project planning is complete and we await word from the Russian Government which hopefully will be a "Thumb's Up" for searching in their waters. Not to say we've been idle as there is still much work to do.

Some key items we've been addressing:

  • Investigating project vessel options in Wakkanai.
  • Notifying the American Consulate in Vladivostok
  • Seeking advice from the American Business Center in Sakhalin.
  • Working with project sponsors.
  • Considering equipment options.

Who has interest in the Wahoo?

Wahoo newsletter #1 was sent out in early April to list of about 40 people. It was mainly to people who've been communicating together over the years who share a common interest (shall we say passion) for World War II submarines from any nation. This edition of the newsletter will go to about 150 people. A quick break down of these people ranges from submarine veterans, book authors and publishers, history buffs, and friends and relatives of Wahoo crew members At least seven countries are represented including the United States, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom. If I'm missing a country in this list, please let me know.

Working with project sponsors

NUMA is almost entirely a volunteer organization. And it does not have a huge pot of gold or fat bank account funding its projects. Hence, over the years it has honed an effective but relatively low cost way to fulfill its mission. However, "Relatively low cost" does not mean cheap or inexpensive. Time is money and many people donate their time. And searching for and diving on sunken ships and planes takes resources. To this end, NUMA has been blessed with organizations and companies who share our view of the worthiness of our projects and sponsor equipment and other resources. Cases in point are various diving equipment companies. NUMA Australia director Wayne Sampey has a productive many companies and some have agreed to be equipment sponsors for the Wahoo project. Another one is JAL (Japan Airlines). The Wahoo project is a multinational effort and JAL has kindly agreed to provide assistance in getting the project team to the search site. Last, but not least, is the man himself, George Logue. George is going above and beyond his work outlined in the Wahoo Search Letter #2 by providing direct sponsorship.

Without such sponsorship, projects like the WAHOO would not be possible. As one can expect, we have to lay out details of the project including our 60+ page project plan and they've had to be assured of the validity of the project. It's not easy work but it's worth it.

Why do we need permission anyway?

The Wahoo is believed to rest in Soya (La Perouse) Strait, just inside Russian waters from Japan. In 1943, when the Wahoo was sunk, these waters were securely under Japanese control. Being on the border between two countries that have been at war with each other twice in the last century, it's a more sensitive area than, say, 10 miles off of Miami, Florida or even Tokyo. We all like to live interesting lives but none of us wish to push our luck in this area of the world. So, we've been working with our Russian friends to obtain clear permission to search in their waters. After all, if this were easy, it would have been done before!

Clive Cussler in Japan

Clive Cussler has a large and active readership in Japan and most if not all his titles have been published here. NUMA Japan is looking to get the word out as much as possible about the Wahoo project but being rank amateurs in the publicity area, we needed to engage professionals. Such popularity that Clive-san has opens doors and in our case, a door was opened to his Japanese agent, Miyo Kai of Tuttle-Mori Agency, Inc. Japanese love to read and Tuttle-Mori's offices are located in the Mecca for book stores in Japan, an area called Jinbocho. Their offices are packed full of the latest books in Japan including the translations of Clive-san's latest books. Miyo-san in turn introduced us to Clive-san's publisher in Japan, Shinchosha.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Wahoo Search Newsletter #2 - May 21, 2002


  • Planning Status
  • A who's who in the search for the Wahoo
  • Dive Training

Planning Status

While not quite as complex as a moon shot, searching for a boat that is located where the Wahoo is, well, not a weekend trip to the beach either. The project base of Wakkanai is 340 km (210 miles) from the nearest major city of Sapporo. With a population 40,000, it is the northern frontier of Japan and is located on the same latitude as Minneapolis (meaning pleasant summers and cold and snowy winters). Normal facilities are of course available. However, extraordinary missions require exceptional equipment and advanced planning. Much of the planning is for securing equipment that is not normally available in such a location.

Some of the key milestones in the past several weeks include:

  1. Formal petitioning of the Russian Embassies in Australia and Japan for permission to search in their waters. We have received endorsement from the Russian Ambassador to Austrlia who has passed the request on to Moscow for final approval. This follows a lengthy dialog between NUMA Australia and the Russian Embassy in Canberra. We've are awaiting their reply so keep your fingers crossed.
  2. Detailed project planning including detailed description, search profile, project logistics, and risk assessments.
  3. Deep Water Wreck Training (see below).

A who's who in the search for the Wahoo

In this newsletter, we highlight a few of the key contributors in the search of the Wahoo. Much of what we know of the Wahoo's fate is due to the dedication of a handful of people who were on opposing sides during the war but joined together today with a common goal to solve a mystery.

It might be said that this search for the Wahoo began 55 years ago in 1947 by George Logue who lost his brother Robert on the Wahoo. George writes:

I first started looking for Wahoo in 1947 while a college student. With no money all I could afford was stamps and an occasional phone call. I called the National Geographic Society and got maps, etc. I also contacted a Navy Capt. Pineau who was of little help. Further research led to Colonel Nishiru of the Japanese Diet library. Many years later met Marty Schaffer (USN Retired) who had great interest in WWII submarines. He had traveled extensively overseas as a retired submariner and I asked him to go to Wakannai, if I paid his expenses, which he did. From there on things really happened with the complete help of the Japanese veterans and mostly Satoru Saga as well as others. In spite of all the horrors of WWII, the association has been excellent and I have the greatest admiration for the Japanese people I have met.

Saga-san is currently a resident of Wakkanai, Hokkaido and is therefore uniquely situated. But it was not always that way. During the closing days of the Second World War, he was in the Imperial Japanese Navy commanding a midget submarine and awaiting the impending American invasion. As fellow midget submariner Yasuhiro "Tommy" Tamagawa describes, their assignment as a kind of suicide mission (more about Tommy-san in a future newsletter). They were stationed in the Japanese inland sea to fend off the anticipated American invasion in 1945. Fortunately for us all, the invasion never came. Somewhat to the surprise of his friends, Saga-san found himself in Wakkanai after the war. He had worked for the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency and when his boat entered Wakkanai Port, he was caught by his future wife and succeeded her father in his company Kitami-shokai. He's a successful businessman and was the key organizer in Japan for the Wahoo Memorial dedication in 1995.

Another fellow retired submariner of Saga-san is Vice Admiral Kazuo Ueda (JMSDF, Ret). If there is one person who is responsible more than any other of what we know of the Wahoo's fate, it is probably Ueda-san. He has devoted many years of research into the Japanese archives. During the closing days of WWII, he too was a crewman aboard a 5 man midget submarine.

Before we finish, note that George Logue is not just a gentleman with a passion for submarines. He's a resident of central Pennsylvania and founder of Logue Industries ( Lest you think that the this photo to the left is misplaced, this is George's famous Antique Machinery Collection. Read more about it at:

Dive Training

Dive Training Phases

NUMA has developed a four phased approach to training for the Wahoo project. Diving into water 50 to 70 meters deep is serious business and safety is the number one priority. Phases one and two (see Vanuatu Report below) are complete with phases three and four in the planning.
  • Phase 1: Equipment Familiarization
  • Phase 2: Deep Water Wreck Training
  • Phase 3: Ocean Current Training
  • Phase 4: Cold Water Training

Phase 2 training report: Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu

NUMA Australia just returned from Vanuatu in the South Pacific (see map) after a very successful expedition with a pleasant surprise. NUMA Australia Director Wayne Sampey reports:

We have just completed an absolutely brilliantly successful series of training dives and lead in protocols for the Wahoo dives.

Everything was as good as it gets for the purpose, deep water, mixed visibility, mixed currents, maximum depths to 70 meters most dives to 58-60 meters, good video and still photography, no diving difficulties and brilliant sponsor response.

We completed a series of ten dives per diver with in the depth structure with both extended and compressed decompression scenarios used, all with great results.

We also found an unknown, unidentified aircraft wreck and now have some almost pin point accuracy on we believe a Japanese I Class submarine and a Japanese Mini Submarine one deep and the other shallow. We believe there are 60 Japanese servicemen lost in the I class.

We will go back later this year to look, hopefully following the Wahoo project.