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Bow of World War II submarine discovered off the coast of the Aleutian Islands


August 05, 2019
Monday PM

(SitNews) - The bow of WWII Submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) has been discovered in 2700 feet of water off the Aleutian Islands, Alaska by a team pioneering robotic ocean exploration.

The finding of the lost bow section of the USS Grunion completes a vital missing part of the puzzle and answers the questions posed on many expeditions undertaken 13 years ago by John, Bruce and Brad Abele, sons of the USS Grunions captain, Mannert L. Abele, USNA class of 1926. Taylor states, "I am honored to add to the discovery that was accomplished by the Abele bothers."

USS Grunion newly discovered bow section
Courtesy the Lost 52 Project   

USS Grunion was a Gato-class submarine commissioned on April 11, 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele. On her way through the Caribbean to her first posting in Pearl Harbor, she rescued 16 survivors from USAT Jack, which had been torpedoed by a U-boat. Her first war patrol was, unfortunately, her last. Sent to the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, she operated off Kiska, Alaska, where she sank two Japanese patrol boats. Ordered back to the naval operating base in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on July 30th, the submarine was never heard from again. She was declared overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands-on October 5th, 1942.

The USS Grunion is the final resting place for 70 Sailors.

She wasn't seen again until the sons of the Grunion's commanding officer began searching for it and found the wreckage in 2007 off the coast of the Aleutian Islands.

What REALLY Happened To The USS Grunion Submarine?
Presenatation By John Abele at TEDxBeaconStreet 

In October 2018, the Lost 52 Project team returned to the site of the main wreck and found that the ship's bow had slid down a steep volcanic embankment, Taylor said. The announcement of the discovery was made by the Lost 52 Project last week.

The Lost 52 Project team put together a 3D scan of the bow and presented it to the family of USS Grunion's Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Mannert L. Abele.

The historic discovery was made utilizing a combination of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV's) and advanced photogrammetry imaging. These ground breaking new technologies and methods are at the forefront of underwater business technology and forging a new frontier in subsea exploration.

The ongoing WWII submarine discoveries lead by ocean explorer Tim Taylor are applying comprehensive 3D imaging pioneering a new frontier in ocean exploration.

The USS Grunion was reported lost on August 16, 1942, after reporting firing on an enemy destroyer, sinking three destroyer-type vessels and attacking unidentified enemy ships during her first war patrol, according to the US Navy.

The project is taking the large data sets collected on their discoveries and having them processed into amazing 3D archaeological photogrammetry models. This scientific approach extracts geometric information from equipment that is already integrated in most of the modern underwater remote filming systems, advancing imagery collection into high-quality 3D data sets that will be used in archaeological research, historical archives, virtual and augmented reality, and educational programs and applications.

"This goes so far past video or still imagery, it truly is the future of recording historical underwater discoveries. Spending minimal time on site collecting a comprehensive 3D historical baseline model allows archaeologists and historians to spend months back home performing detailed research," states Taylor. who coordinates his discoveries with the Naval History and Heritage Command.

"Our mission at the Naval History and Heritage Command is to make certain the memory of our Sailors' service will always be remembered, honored and valued. As Tim Taylor, and others like him, discover the final resting place for our lost Sailors, they help to carry out that mission," said Robert S. Neyland, Naval History and Heritage Command's Underwater Archaeology Branch Head. "We are grateful for the respectful, non-intrusive work he performs and the closure he brings to their families, their shipmates, and to the Navy."

The Navy says 52 US Pacific Fleet submarines were lost during World War II, and more than 3,500 submariners remain on "eternal patrol."

The USS Grunion expedition is part of the ongoing "Lost 52 Project" supported in part by STEP Ventures and has been recognized by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) as the first and most comprehensive offshore underwater archaeological expedition in Japanese waters.

Taylor proudly states that the "Lost 52 Project honors the men, their memory and their mission". The USS Grunion expedition marks the fourth WWII Submarine discovery by Tim Taylor, CEO of Tiburon Subsea - founder of Ocean Outreach, Inc. based in New York City.

Also recently discovered was the final resting place for the 49 Sailors of the U.S. submarine S-28 (SS-133) off Oahu, Hawaii. The U.S. Navy recently validated the identity of the wreck, which Taylor located in 2017.

The keel of USS S-28 (SS-133) was laid down in April of 1919, just months after the end of the First World War. Commissioned on December 13, 1923, the S-Class submarine spent 16 years taking part in various Navy exercises in the Caribbean and eventually the Pacific.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th she was being overhauled at Mare Island Naval Shipyard outside of San Francisco, California. She was one of several S-boats put into service in World War II and was initially sent to Alaska to defend the Aleutians against a possible Japanese invasion. By mid-November, S-28 arrived in Pearl Harbor and for the next seven months trained in the waters around the island.

On July 3, 1944, S-28 embarked on an antisubmarine warfare training exercise off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. During the training, communication became sporadic and the boat sent her last communication to the Coast Guard cutter Reliance the evening of July 4th. Navy's search of the area did not reveal the location of the submarine and two days later, a diesel oil slick appeared in the area. Later, a Navy Court of Inquiry could not determine the cause of the loss. During her service during WWII, she completed six war patrols and earned one battle star.

"We're thankful for the care and attention Tim and his team took in locating the wreck. Because of their efforts, we now know the final resting place of our shipmates. This discovery helps to ensure their service will always be remembered, honored and valued and we hope provides some measure of closure to their families," continued Cox.

U.S. submarine S-28 (SS-133) rests in approximately 8,700 feet of water off Oahu, Hawaii.

After such an initial discovery, archeologists conduct exhaustive research to ensure its identity. In the case of S-28 the location at which it was discovered offered a key clue to its identity.

Following World War II, the U.S. tested ordnance and scuttled U.S. and Japanese ships in the vicinity of the S-28 wreck site.  Records indicated that her sister ship, USS S-35, had been scuttled in that same area.  Finding the subtle differences between the two series of S-class submarines demanded some technical expertise and analysis. Through Taylor's research, paired with historical archives, the Naval History and Heritage team were able to positively identify the wreck comparing design differences. Records revealed the hulls had uniquely different cowling covers on the forward bow planes. 



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Lost 52 Project



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