US Marines Escort Japanese Prisoner of War from a Submarine

US Marines escort a blindfolded prisoner off of a US Navy submarine. Japanese prisoners were taken off of fishing trawlers and freighters (marus) that were sunk in combat, and at least once Japanese aviators were rescued at sea. Submarine captains had wide discretion about rescuing prisoners. Some Japanese would resist capture, indoctrinated in the belief that becoming a prisoner of war was failure to serve the Emperor. Americans would sometimes shoot Japanese would resisted capture. At least one US Navy submarine captain, Commander Dudley Walker Morton, (July 17, 1907 – October 11, 1943) commander of the USS Wahoo (SS-238), was decorated for attacking Japanese troops whose transport was sunk. During Wahoo's third war patrol, Morton was responsible for an incident in which survivors of Buyo Maru were killed by machine gun fire while in the water. Wahoo fired at the survivors and when they shot back, Morton ordered open fire with every gun on board. At the time, Morton believed he was firing on Japanese marines, but many of the survivors were actually Indian Prisoners of War. Controversy still surrounds the incident. 87 Japanese and 195 Indians were lost out of 1,195 men aboard Buyo Maru. The Japanese rescue ships made more of an effort to find the Japanese than the Indians; the total number of all persons killed by Wahoo is not known. Morton was killed in combat before a full investigation of the incident, but Lieutenant Commander Richard O'Kane, his former Executive Officer, believes Morton was denied the Medal of Honor because of this incident.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, May 1, 1945
Unknown; possibly Guam or Midway