Woodrow Wilson Wert

Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Wert, TMC(SS) USN (Ret) was born April 24, 1916 in San Mateo, CA,  He enlisted in the US Navy in October 3, 1938, being inducted and entering boot camp at the US Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA. 

Following boot camp, Chief Wert served on the minelayer, USS Preble, until June, 1940, when he was accepted to the Submarine Training School at New London, CT.  He graduated in January, 1941, having qualified on the USS Bass (SS-164).  He served briefly on the USS Barracuda (SS-163) and obtained the rate of Torpedoman 3rd class (TM3).  In September, 1941, he was transferred to the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, RI, for advanced torpedo training.  On December 10, 1941, his training was completed, and in January, 1942, Chief Wert was assigned to the USS Greenling (SS-213).

Chief Wert made one war patrol aboard the Greenling, during which he earned the rate of TM2 and for which he was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.  In August, 1942, he was transferred to Manitowoc, WI, to become a member of the original crew of the USS Peto (SS-265), the first of the “freshwater submarines”.  He made three war patrols aboard the Peto.  During the second war patrol, Chief Wert was in charge of the forward torpedo room, still only having the rate of TM2.  Prior to the third war patrol, he was advanced to TM1.

On February 29, 1944, Chief Wert became a member of the original crew of the, USS Cavalla (SS-244), aboard which he made six war patrols.  The Cavalla’s very first war patrol (June 1944) was the most notable: they supplied vital information regarding the movement of a Japanese task force that led to the spectacular American victory during the Battle of the Philippine Sea; and, they sank the Japanese carrier, Shōkaku, which had been involved in the attack on Pear Harbor.  The crew of the Cavalla consequently received a Presidential Unit Citation.  In addition, He received a Letter of Commendation ribbon for his “excellent service as Torpedoman in charge of forward torpedo room” during the action.  Also during his service aboard the Cavalla, he was promoted to Chief Torpedoman (TMC).  Chief Wert was present on the Cavalla in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, when the formal documents of surrender were signed, ending World War II.  Sadly, he was also present for Cavalla’s decommissioning ceremony.

Chief Wert’s Woody’s post-war service included: 

   USS Dace (SS-247; 03/46–02/47)

  USS Sea Leopard (SS-483; 12/47–01/48) 

   U-2513 (01/48)

  USS Sea Leopard (SS-483; 01/48–09/49)

During this period, Chief Wert was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard awaiting completion of the sub’s Guppy II modernization. 

 Advance Underwater Weapons School (09/49–03/50), successfully completed.

   USS Sea Leopard (SS-483; 06/50–06/51), including an extended deployment to the Mediterranean. 

   USS Bowfin (SS-287; 06/51–04/54), for which he participated in its commissioning, fitting out, and decommissioning.  (He was a “re-planker”.) 

   USS Tilefish (SS-307; 06/54–07/54), during which Chief Wert attended and successfully completed one phase of instructor training.

   USS Pargo (SS-264; 07/45–10/56)

During this assignment, he served as an instructor and received a commendation for his part in Reserve Submarine Division 13-7 achieving outstanding results in national competition.  By the end of the assignment, Chief Wert was awarded the designation of “Qualified Instructor”. 

   USS Tiru (SS-416; 06/57–09/58) 

Chief Wert served as Gunnery Department ordnance petty officer and Chief-of-the-Boat (COB), during Tiru’s sixth and seventh surveillance patrols. For his “outstanding performance of duty” including “professional skill, leadership, and industry” during and after the boat’s extended deployment to the Far East, he was officially and publically commended before a  Commanding Officer’s Meritorious Mast .  He also received a commendation for his “leadership and spirit of cooperation”, during the boat’s shipyard overhaul.

   USS Catfish (SS-339; 09/58–06/59), during which he received a commendation from the Commanding Officer for “ouststanding performance of duty... in keeping with the finest traditions of the Naval Service...”

  USS Mapiro (SS-376; 06/59–06/60), which was his final assignment.

   Chief Wert served as COB and was instrumental in preparing the Mapiro for transfer to the Turkish Navy.

Chief Wert transferred to Fleet Reserve and inactive duty on 06/05/60.

Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Wert, TMC(SS) USN (Ret) died June 8, 2008, at the Veterans Home of California at Yountville.


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