USS Dorado Book

“We knew we were going to have a rough time with this submarine from the beginning.”

Those words were written by Don Wheeler, a former USS DORADO (SS-248) crewmember, in a letter to the author. Mr. Wheeler left the boat after her shakedown cruises and was not aboard that fateful maiden cruise in which all seven officers and 70 crewmembers lost their lives.

DORADO was a U.S. Gato-class submarine, launched on May 23, 1943, set sail for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal on October 6, and was lost with all hands somewhere in the Caribbean Sea six days later

This book is quite possibly about one of the worst “friendly fire” incidents in U.S. military history. It is the story of a U.S. submarine attacked on a moonlit but stormy night by a patrol-bomber aircraft attached to Patrol Squadron 210 (VP-210) out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Within these pages you will read the formal Court of Inquiry that concluded, incorrectly, that the aircrew probably bombed a U-boat that was known to be in the area. Included in this book is the U-214 logbook, obtained after World War II, which shows that they were the U-boat in the area and not only did they witness the bombing of DORADO, but hours later fired upon the very same aircraft.

In this book is also the story of the author's search for the submarine over a 20+ year period. This book is more than 600 pages of military history of which more than 200 pages, covering 12 Appendices, includes a look at all the officers and crew of DORADO, the continuing mystery of what happened to DORADO’s bell, and a compelling argument as to why the men of USS DORADO deserve the Purple Heart medal.

The book is now available at (search “USS DORADO” as it shows up as the main selection). It will soon be available on, Barnes & Noble and can be ordered from any bookstore around the world. If you need the ISBN it is 978-1-257-95155-0.




Douglas E. Campbell




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