Sunken WW2 submarine discovered off the coast of Japan after 75 years

Sunken WW2 submarine discovered off the coast of Japan after 75 years
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Sunken WW2 submarine discovered off the coast of Japan after 75 years

The USS Grayback has been missing with 80 mariners aboard for 75 years. Finally, the mystery of where it has gone down, an organization searching for the sunken world War 2 submarines.

A plaque on the front of the wreckage identifies the submarine as the USS Grayback
A plaque on the front of the wreckage identifies the submarine as the USS Grayback

The undersea explorer Tim Taylor and his team from the Lost 52 project announced on Sunday that they had found the long-lost submarine in Okinawa, Japan, on June 5th, around 1,427 feet below shore.

Along with the use of new drone technology, the recovered military documents meant the team could correctly locate the submarine, which was 1,400ft (430m) down.
Along with the use of new drone technology, the recovered military documents meant the team could correctly locate the submarine, which was 1,400ft (430m) down.

Researcher Yutaka Iwasaki found last year that the navy originally committed a mistake in the translation of the Japanese war documents detailing where the Grayback probably sank. All this time, the Navy’s historical records had listed an incorrect longitude for the submarine’s location.

Armed with that information, as well as newly discovered and translated Japanese mission logs, Taylor told BBC that his team set out on an expedition to search for the Grayback, this time searching in the area southwest of Okinawa.

With the help of autonomous underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicles and advanced imaging technology, the team discovered the Grayback about 100 miles from the area where it was originally thought to have gone down.

The discovery was officially confirmed by the Navy, Robert S. Neyland, the head of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, said in a news release.

The Grayback went missing in 1944

The USS Grayback first launched in 1941 and travelled to Australia as well as Japan
The USS Grayback first launched in 1941 and travelled to Australia as well as Japan

On January 28, 1944, the Grayback set sail from Pearl Harbor for the East China Sea for its 10th combat patrol.

About a month later, the submarine reported sinking two Japanese cargo ships on February 19. But the attack left the Grayback with only two torpedoes, and it was ordered a home from patrol.

Though the Grayback was scheduled to arrive in Midway on March 7, more than three weeks passed without sight of the submarine. And on March 30, 1944, the Grayback, one of the most successful submarines of World War II, was reported lost.

Families will finally get closure

Gloria Hurney, whose uncle Raymond Parks died on the Grayback, said that she wasn’t sure that the Grayback would ever be recovered.

So when she first learned of the discovery, she felt a mixture of shock, disbelief, sadness, and grief. Eventually, though, those feelings turned into relief, comfort, and peace.

“The discovery brings closure to the questions that surrounded the Grayback as far as its sinking and location,” Hurney said in a statement to BBC. “I believe it will allow healing as relatives of crew members come together to share their stories.”

The Navy echoed that sentiment.

“Each discovery of a sunken craft is an opportunity to remember and honor the service of our Sailors,” Neyland said in a statement.

“Knowing their final resting place brings closure, in some part, to their families and shipmates as well as enables our team to better understand the circumstances in which the boat was lost.”


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John Smith has been with Histecho since 2017, A Senior Editor & Writer for Histecho. his work has been featured in outlets such as Scientific American, The Washington Post, NBC News, and Fox News. John grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York.