DUDLEY “MUSH” MORTON
Dudley Walker Morton was born in Owensboro, Kentucky on 17 July 1907. Morton attended the Naval Academy and graduated in 1930. While there he received the nickname “Mushmouth,” after a character in the cartoon strip Moon Mullins, whose large square jaw and prominent mouth resembled Morton's. The nickname was later shortened to “Mush.”
Morton took command of USS Wahoo (SS-236) on 31 December 1942, after her second war patrol. He aggressively conducted the boat and her crew through her next five patrols, compiling the best record of the war to that point. While exiting the Sea of Japan through the narrow La Perouse Strait on her seventh patrol, Wahoo was sunk with all hands by Japanese air and naval forces on 11 October 1943.
Admiral Charles Lockwood wrote, “When a natural leader and born daredevil such as Mush Morton is given command of a submarine, the result can only be a fighting ship of the highest order, with officers and men who would follow their skipper to the Gates of Hell…. And they did.” Lockwood added, “Morton lined up an impressive number of ‘firsts’ during the short ten months that he commanded Wahoo: first to penetrate an enemy harbor and sink a ship therein; first to use successfully a down the throat shot; and first to wipe out an entire convoy single-handed.”
Morton’s boat, USS Wahoo, was found on 28 July 2006, in the La Perouse Strait by a team of Russian divers led by Vladimir Kartashev. The vessel is at a depth of 213 feet. A memorial ceremony for her officers and men was hosted by USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park on 11 October 2007. Over two hundred family members and friends of the Wahoo crew attended the event.