Dudley Morton was born on July 17, 1907, in Owensboro, Kentucky. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1926, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in June 1930. His first assignment was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) in 1930, and then aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) from 1930 to 1933. After completing Submarine School at Submarine Base New London, Connecticut, Lt Morton served aboard the submarine tender USS Canopus (AS-9) from 1933 to 1935, and then aboard the submarine USS S-37 (SS-142) from 1936 to 1937. He served at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1937 to 1939, followed by service aboard the destroyer USS Fairfax (DD-93) from 1939 to 1940. LCDR Morton served as Commanding Officer of the submarine USS R-5 (SS-82) from August 1940 to April 1942, and he then joined Submarine Squadron 4 at Pearl Harbor as a Prospective Commanding Officer, during which time he briefly commanded the submarine USS Dolphin (SS-169) from July to November 1942. He served aboard the submarine USS Wahoo (SS-238) as an observer and Prospective Commanding Officer from November to December 1942, and then took command of Wahoo on December 31, 1942, in Brisbane, Australia. From January to October 1942, LCDR Morton made 5 more war patrols aboard the USS Wahoo, and was credited with sinking 19 Japanese ships totaling about 55,000 tons, making him the 3rd most successful submarine commander during World War II. He was killed in action when the USS Wahoo was sunk while exiting the Sea of Japan on October 11, 1943. The destroyer USS Morton (DD-948) was named in his honor. On October 31, 2006, the U.S. Navy confirmed that a sunken submarine in the Soya Strait between northern Japan and Russia is the World War II submarine USS Wahoo (SS-238).
His 4th Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. WAHOO (SS-238), on the SEVENTH War Patrol of that submarine during the period 9 September 1943 to 11 October 1943, in action against enemy vessels in the Sea of Japan. With the utmost skill and daring, Commander Morton conducted three highly successful war patrols in Japanese-controlled waters, inflicting heavy losses on enemy shipping, and, courageously entering dangerous, confined and shallow waters on a subsequent vital mission, accomplished the complete destruction of at least one important hostile ship. Commander Morton's brilliant tactical ability and inspiring leadership throughout these extremely hazardous operations reflect great credit upon himself, his command and the Unites States Naval Service.