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Old 10-12-2021, 03:58 PM   #1
Bubblehead1980
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Florida USA
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Default Just discovered one of Wahoo's crew lost was from my hometown..article with photos.

Jay, Florida is a rural farming community in Northwest Florida, about 45 minutes from Pensacola , FL (where I am from originally). Turns out, one of Wahoo's men who made all seven war patrols and was lost with her in October 1943 was from Jay. I was not aware of this until today, thought I would share. Interesting enough, I know some Ware's from the area, I will have to inquire about relation.

This is from a Pensacola History Facebook group, which often mentions locals lost on certain days in WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. Sharing as I was unaware of the local link and it is of course, important to keep their memories alive.


Jay's October Loss 10-11-1943 WWII

US Navy Chief Electrician's Mate Norman Conna Ware was born in Milton, Florida on August 17, 1917, the son of George Washington Ware (1877-1931) and Nancy Carmilla Cotton (1881-1964). His father supported his family as a general farmer, but luckily, they owned their home on the Milton-Pollard Road in Allentown. Sadly, Norman would lose his father in 1931, before he finished high school in 1935. He and his siblings supported their mother as best they could, given the economy of the Great Depression. With war already raging across Europe, Norman enlisted in the US Navy on April 30, 1940 in Washington, D.C. Originally assigned to the USS Thresher in 1940, Norman transferred to the USS Wahoo on June 1, 1942.
The Wahoo was launched on February 14, 1942 and commissioned three months later. On December 31, 1942, Lt. Commander Dudley Walker "Mush" Morton took command of the Wahoo where he and his submarine would earn their legendary fame. With him was Norman Ware who took part in all seven of her successful patrols. On June 1, 1943, he was promoted to Chief Electrician's Mate, a position of vital importance aboard a submarine given the amount of electrical equipment that can easily determine life and death. When Mush took over the Wahoo, he told the crew, "we are not going to sit around. We are going to go out and kill 'em. And in so doing, you might be killed." Based on these words, Morton offered his crew the option of reassignment, no questions asked. Not one person left the boat! The sub's exploits became so great that the U.S. Navy, breaking with their usual wartime secrecy, allowed newspaper stories to be published about the Wahoo's exploits.

The Wahoo would leave Pearl Harbor for her last patrol heading for the Sea of Japan by the captain's personal request. He topped off his fuel at Midway on September 13 before sailing for his final destination. During her patrol she engaged and sank five enemy cargo/transport vessels including the Konron Maru, killing 544 of the enemy, which included two Japanese Congressmen from their House of Representatives. The loss of their dignitaries infuriated the Japanese government who ordered an "all out" mission to find and destroy the Wahoo.
When her patrol ended, the submarine was ordered to return to Pearl Harbor for refitting. However, the young Milton sailor and the Wahoo were never heard from again! Norman's mother and his new wife Catherine Blondell Gaston were soon notified that he was missing in action. But every submariner knew what that meant and prepared for the worst! Catherine would remain a civil servant with the Navy, living at 1325 Wisteria Avenue. She would marry Freeman Lamar Seale (1911-2006) in September 1946, himself a veteran of WWII with the US Army. Both are buried in the Bayview Cemetery. Catherine passed away in 1995 and was buried in the Bayview Cemetery. After the war, Japanese records reflected that on October 11, 1943 the Wahoo was passing submerged through the La Perouse Strait when a Japanese anti-submarine aircraft sighted her wake and an oil slick. The enemy began a combined air and sea attack using depth charges and aerial bombs that lasted all day. The Wahoo was finally mortally damaged and sank with all hands.

Sixty-three years later in 2006, underwater detection equipment found what appeared to be a U.S. submarine wreck in the La Perouse Strait. On October 31, 2006, the images confirmed that Norman and the Wahoo had be found. The wreck is lying at 213 feet and was sunk by a direct hit from an aerial bomb near the conning tower. Photographs of the wreck are available at warfish.com and oneternalpatrol.com. As is custom with the US Navy, they have no plans to either salvage or try to enter the final resting site of the Wahoo and her crew. Naval tradition has long held that the sea is a fitting resting place for sailors lost at sea. Santa Rosa County's Chief Norman Conna Ware should be remembered and honored along with four other submariners from Pensacola who forever remain on "Eternal Patrol." The Wahoo and her crew remain legendary among America's submariners today.




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