Olin Jacobs, Service Nubmer 295 50 32, was born on 26 September 1917 in Bennettsville, South Carolina, the son of Walter Jacobs and Jackey Ellen “Winnie” Jacobs. Husband of Dorothy Belle White. He served on the U.S.S. Wahoo (SS-238).

The U.S>S. Wahoo returned to Pearl Harbor from her sixth war patrol on 29 August 1943 with the dejected air peculiar to a highly successful submarine who suddenly could not make her torpedoes run true. In twenty-eight days away from port, seven of them spent in her assigned area in the Sea of Japan, Wahoo had expended ten torpedoes in nine attacks without inflicting any damage on the enemy. Her Skipper, Commander D. W. Morton, returned to port to have the torpedoes changed or checked, and requested that Wahoo be sent back to the Japan Sea for her seventh patrol.

On 9 September, Wahoo again departed Pearl. She topped off with fuel at Midway and left there on 13 September heading for the dangerous but important Japan Sea. Shortly afterwards, Sawfish left Midway and also headed for this area. Wahoo was to pass through Etorofu Strait, in the Kurile Islands, and La Perouse Strait, between Hokkaido and Karafuto, and enter the Japan Sea about 20 September. She was to head south and remain below 43 degrees north after 23 September, and below 40 degrees north after 26 September. Sawfish was to follow Wahoo, entering the Japan Sea about 23 September and patrolling the area north of Wahoo.

No transmission was received from Wahoo, either by any shore station or by Sawfish, nor was she sighted by Sawfish after she left Midway. She had orders to clear her area not later than sunset 21 October 1943, and to report by radio after passing through the Kurile Island chain enroute to Midway. This report was expected about 23 October, but Midway waited in vain. By 30 October, apprehension was felt for Wahoo’s safety and an aircraft search along her expected course was arranged. When this revealed nothing, Wahoo was reported missing on 9 November 1943.

Although no transmission was received from Wahoo after her departure on patrol, the results of one of her attacks became known to the world via a Tokyo broadcast. Domei was quoted as reporting that on 5 October, a “steamer” was sunk by an American submarine off the west coast of Honshu near the Straits of Tsushima. It was said that the ship sank “after several seconds” with 544 people losing their lives. The submarine could have been none other than Wahoo: none other was operating in that area.

Photo courtesy of his widow via Charles Lipford.  Information courtesy of Paul W. Wittmer.

He has a memorial stone in the Nave Cemetery. This cemetery is in the Siam Community of Carter County.

  • Rank: Motor Machinist's Mate First Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 26 September 1917
  • Date of death: 13 September 1943
  • County: Carter
  • Hometown: Elizabethton
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS Wahoo (SS-238)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VII, Middle Panel
  • Sponsored by: David Jacobs

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