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SMN Wesley Lawrence Gerlacher

SMN Wesley Lawrence Gerlacher

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 11 Oct 1943 (aged 20)
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 28090950 · View Source
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Seaman, Second Class
Purple Heart
From:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The USS Wahoo (SS-238), a 1525-ton Gato class submarine was commissioned in May 1942.

In September 1943, the Wahoo returned to the Sea of Japan to begin her seventh war patrol in the Soya (La Perouse) Strait, between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin.

Beginning October 5th, 1943, the Wahoo sank 5 ships of about 13,000 tons. On October 11, 1943, the date the Wahoo was to leave the La Perouse Strait, a Japanese anti-submarine aircraft sited a wake and an oil slick from a submerged submarine. The Japanese Navy started a combined air and sea attack using depth charges throughout the day.

The Wahoo was mortally damaged and sank with all hands. She was declared overdue on December 2, 1943 and was stricken from the books on December 6, 1943. All further missions into the Sea of Japan were stopped and did not continue till June of 1945, when special mine detecting became available.

The USS Wahoo sank 20 enemy ships at a time when the submarine force was using unreliable torpedoes.

Beginning in 1995, the Wahoo Project Group started the search for her location based on available evidence. In 2005 electronic surveys showed what turned out to be a US Gato class submarine in the strait. On October 31, 2006 the US Navy confirmed the wreckage of the Wahoo in 213 feet of water in the La Perouse Strait.

On July 8, 2007, the US Navy held a wreath laying ceremony at the confirmed site of the sinking of the Wahoo. On October 11, 2007, the US Navy held an official remembrance ceremony for the crew of the Wahoo. The ceremony was conducted at the USS Bowfin Museum and Submarine Park at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.





  • Created by: Lionel Alva, Jr.
  • Added: 6 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28090950
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SMN Wesley Lawrence Gerlacher (27 Jan 1923–11 Oct 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28090950, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Lionel Alva, Jr. (contributor 46609834) .