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Japanese super-battleship "Musashi" wreck found!

Microsoft co-founder, billionaire Paul Allen has discovered the Japanese battleship "Musashi." One of just two super battleships built by the Japanese during World War II, Musashi, sister to the Yamato were the largest most powerful warships ever built. Displacing 72,800 tons, Musashi was 862 feet long with nine 18.1 inch guns, more powerful than even the American Iowa-class battleships. During the battle for Leyte Gulf on October 24, 1944, Musashi was attacked by over 30 American aircraft in Sibuyan Sea. The vessel was eventually sunk but not until she had taken an estimated 19 torpedo and 17 bomb hits. Over half of her crew were rescued but 1,023 men were lost. The wreck has been discovered at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea at a depth of 1.6 miles.

A new website name, new look and low-cost flat-rate shipping

July 2011: R.A. Cline Publishing is changing, expanding and improving. We will soon be moving our domain name from SubmarineBooks.com to AllNavyBooks.com. With the new name comes a major product expansion to include more than submarine books to all navy books. As always, R.A. Cline Publishing offers you the opportunity to see each and every book "before" you buy it. Another great improvement comes with a new flat-rate, one-charge shipping cost (USA only / ground service). Purchase as many titles as you wish and the shipping charge remains at just $4.99 per order. Shipping costs to Alaska, Hawaii and outside the United States are higher and not included in this low price offer.

Italian battleship Roma has been found

June 2012: The Italian battleship Roma, sunk during World War II on September 9, 1943 has been found. At the time of her loss Roma was the flagship of the Italian fleet. The vessel was sunk following an attack by a German Dornier Do 217 twin-engine bomber—Admiral Carlo Bergamini and 1,352 crewmen died when the battleship was lost. There were only 622 survivors. Launched in 1940, and displacing 40,000 tons, Roma made just 20 sorties between bases during its short life. Due to severe fuel shortages the dreadnought was not involved in any naval action. The wreck was discovered in June 2012 by using an underwater robot named Pluto Palla. The once mighty battleship is now resting on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea about 30 kilometers off the northern coast of the Italian island of Sardinia at a depth of around 3,300 feet. 

USS Wahoo lost in 1943 has been found!

Above photo: A close-up of Wahoo's forward mounted 4-inch deck gun. Behind it the conning tower. photo courtesy: Vladimir Kartashev.

July 2006: A team of Russian divers have reported finding the American submarine USS Wahoo (SS-238). Using information obtained from outside sources Russian divers found the wreck of Wahoo. Lost with all hands in October 1943, Wahoo was the pride of the U.S. Pacific submarine fleet. Under the command of Dudley "Mush" Morton, Wahoo became the most famous American submarine in World War II. Sinking 19 Japanese ships, Morton quickly rose to the top in the U.S. sub fleet. Returning from her successful seventh war patrol in the Sea of Japan, Wahoo was attacked and sunk in the narrow La Perouse Strait on October 11, 1943; all 79 men aboard the submarine died, including Commander Dudley Morton. Yeoman Forest J. Sterling was the last man off Wahoo and later wrote the book "Wake of the Wahoo." Of Wahoo's loss, Navy Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, Jr. wrote in his book "Sink 'Em All"; "It just didn't seem possible that Morton and his fighting crew could be lost. I'd never have believed the Japs could be smart enough to get him."

   Diving from the sailboat Iskra, the Russian's, from the Far Eastern State Technological University combed the dark depths and found the famous sub resting up-right on the bottom of the La Perouse Strait at a shallow depth of just 185 feet.

Above photo: A view of Wahoo's stern, showing her screws, rudder and aft diving planes. Aft torpedo tubes are just visible at the top of the photo. photo courtesy: Vladimir Kartashev.

Above photo: Wahoo's stern prior to launch in 1942. Screws, rudder, diving planes and torpedo tubes are all visible.


Above: A map of the La Perouse Strait where Wahoo was sunk in October 1943.

Missing World War II sub found with 42 entombed sailors

Key West, Florida, May 24, 2011 / PRNewswire: An exploration team led by Tim Taylor aboard the expedition vessel "RV Tiburon" has located and documented the wreck of the World War II submarine USS R-12 (SS-89). The R-12 was lost on June 12,1943 in 600 feet of water, sinking in less than 15 seconds. She sank nearly 70 years ago taking 42 US servicemen to their deaths off the coast of the Florida Keys, USA. The reason for her loss remains unknown. R-12 began its career as a World War I era sub that was re-commissioned for service in World War II. At the time of the sinking R-12 was engaged in war time patrol operations near Key West. Only two officers and 3 enlisted men survived the disaster that claimed 42 lives. In making the discovery, the team deployed a state of the art autonomous underwater robot which collected first ever imagery of the remains of R-12. They are collaborating and sharing their findings with the US Navy. RV Tiburon is launching an expedition in the Spring of 2012 to further investigate the possible causes of the sinking, and collect detailed archeological baseline data.

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Christine Dennison

Sunken American World War II submarine USS Perch found by accident near Java

Above photo courtesy Kevin Denlay

By Gregg K. Kakesako - Honolulu Star-Bulletin

January 21, 2007: The wreck of a World War II submarine was discovered by accident near Java on Thanksgiving Day 2006, according to officials of the "USS Bowfin Submarine Museum." Charles Hinman, the museum's education director, said the 300-foot diesel submarine USS Perch (SS-176) was discovered in 190 feet of water in the Java Sea by an international team of divers and photographers who were hoping to photograph the wreck of the British cruiser Exeter. The news of the discovery was welcome news to Robert Lents, who was a 20-year-old torpedoman when the Perch was sunk on March 3, 1942. "I got $35 still in my locker," said Lents, 85, who now lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas. "The only thing I grabbed when I left the ship was my toothbrush and the Japanese took that away." U.S. Navy records show that the Perch, after a shakedown cruise in the North Atlantic, reported to the Pacific Fleet in November 1937.

   On March 1, 1942, the Perch was on the surface 30 miles northwest of Soerabaja, Java, when it was attacked by an enemy convoy that was landing troops west of Soerabaja. Two Japanese destroyers forced the Perch to the bottom with depth charges, damaging the submarine's starboard engines. Two days later the Perch, while on the surface and unable to dive because of extensive damages, was attacked by two Japanese cruiser and three destroyers. At that point, David Hurt, commander of the submarine, ordered the Perch to be scuttled. The crew of 54 sailors and five officers was taken prisoner by the Japanese. Six later died in prison camps of malnutrition. Lents spent 3 1/2 years in two Japanese prison camps and was released on September 18, 1945. He recalls that one of the camps housed nearly 600 sailors from the Exeter. He had only been on the Perch for six months when it was sunk. "There are only five of us left now." Lents said in a telephone interview last week.

   Hinman said a team of divers led by Vidar Skoglie, who owns and operates the vessel MV Empress, found the wreck north of Surbaya City, Java. It was first discovered by the ship's sonar. Dive team members Kevin Denlay, Dieter Kops, Mike Gadd and Craig Challen discovered a plaque, (see photograph above) covered with more than half a century of marine growth, that read "USS Perch Submarine." Hinman said Denlay contacted him and Navy officials in early December and sent the museum photographs and a DVD of the dive. Hinman said the wreck, like all Navy warships sunk at sea, is protected from salvage operations by U.S. and international laws. Commander Mike Brown, spokesman for "Pacific Fleet Submarine Forces," said the information he's seen indicates that the vessel looks like the Perch. "However, official confirmation will have to come from higher headquarters."

   The discovery of the Porpoise-class submarine follows other announcements last year of the location of three other submarines lost in World War II: the USS Wahoo north of Hokkaido in 1943, the USS Grunion near the Aleutian chain in 1942, and the USS Lagarto, which was sunk 62 years ago by a Japanese minelayer in the Gulf of Thailand. More than 3,500 submariners lost their lives aboard 52 submarines that were destroyed during World War II, which is about the number of nuclear attack submarines that now make up the Navy fleet. Hinman said the museum has played a crucial role in the attempts to find the Lagarto, Wahoo, Grunion and Perch. "In the Wahoo and Perch discoveries, we were the people who contacted the Naval Historical Center and the local Naval commands, and provided them with the dive photos and historical material. We assisted with the Navy with the identification of Lagarto and Wahoo, and will be the site of the memorial ceremony for the Wahoo families this October."

American carrier USS Oriskany scuttled off Florida coast

Above photo: U.S. Navy: / PH2 (AW/NAC) Jeffrey P. Kraus

May 18, 2006: American aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) has been scuttled 24 miles off the south coast of Pensacola, Florida. The largest ship ever intentionally sunk as an artificial reef the "Big O" needed about 500 pounds of explosives to rip a large hole in the vessel's hull sending the 888-foot carrier to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With hundreds of veterans watching from a safe distance, Oriskany (oh-RISK'-uh-nee) slipped beneath the sea in 37 minutes, going down stern first in approximately 212 feet of water.

   Launched October 1945, due to the end of World War II, construction on Oriskany was suspended in August 1947. Later modernized, the carrier was finally commissioned in September 1950. The 32,000-ton Oriskany made one Korean War combat cruise before being placed out of commission from January 1957 until March 1959. During that time a second up-date included a new angled flight deck, steam catapults and many other improvements. The Navy sent Oriskany into the Vietnam War in 1965. Tragedy struck the vessel on October 26, 1966, during her second Vietnam War deployment, when fire ravaged her forward compartments, killing 44 crew members. Following repairs Oriskany returned to the war zone in mid-1967. Senator John McCain, (R-Arizona) was shot-down and taken prisoner in North Vietnam following his flight which originated from the ship in 1967. The Korean War movie "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" was filmed on board Oriskany. After 26 years of service the vessel was decommissioned in September 1976, and sold for scrap in 1994. However, when the ship was never broken-up she was repossessed in 1997.

USS Petrof Bay World War II fighter plane has been found!

An FM-2 Wildcat now under restoration (see photo above) was recently discovered to be one of the veteran fighter planes formerly attached to Composite Squadron VC-93. During World War II, the battle scared fighter saw action from the tiny deck of the escort carrier USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80). In late March 1945, the FM-2 was placed aboard the carrier before it sailed for the invasion of Okinawa. During the bloody battle, the fighter flew countless sorties over the enemy held island. When the planes' serial numbers were uncovered from the official Petrof Bay log book, its World War II history was confirmed. Following World War II, the plane hit a low point in its career, placed on a children's playground in a Seattle, Washington suburb. The Wildcat remained on the playground for 10-years before it was removed around 1970, as a safety hazard. Over the next 25-years there were several failed attempts to restore the battered FM-2. Finally in 1998, Milt James at the Seattle Museum of Flight in Everett, Washington received the go ahead to bring the fighter back to its original combat condition. During the project, the fighters' serial numbers (# 74512) were traced back to the Petrof Bay.

Author Forest Sterling passes away at 91

By Jeff Porteous 

So Long, Yeo.
   Retired Chief Yeoman Forest James Sterling, author of the nonfiction World War II submarine classic Wake of the Wahoo, succumbed to congestive heart failure in a Gulfport, Mississippi hospital in the early hours of Thursday, May 23, 2002just six days after celebrating his 91st birthday.

   Sterling, for years a resident of the nearby U.S. Naval Home, had been suffering from poor circulation and steadily declining health in recent months. He spent his last few weeks in the Home's "Sick Bay" before being transferred to the hospital, where he soon slipped into a coma and passed away. Memorial services were held at the Biloxi National Cemetery on Tuesday, May 28, where he was laid to rest.

   Long known to shipmates and friends as "Yeo," the career Navy yeoman gained national recognition when his Wake of the Wahoo
an autobiographical account of his duty aboard the renowned USS Wahoo, perhaps the most successful U.S. fleet submarine of W.W.IIwas first published in 1960. Wahoo, under the command of daredevil Dudley W. "Mush" Morton, became famous for a number of tactical firsts, including entering an enemy harbor to torpedo a ship, and wiping out an entire convoy single-handedly. Sterling's reporting on these and other events is nearly unique in the submarine canon: the unassuming viewpoint of an ordinary enlisted sailor, rather than the more commonly published privileged or technical perspective of command. This has made his book not only thrilling but also accessible to both layman and "old salt" alike. Another indicator of Wake's acceptance and notoriety: it's periodically assigned reading for incoming cadets at the Naval Academy. Forest narrowly survived the October, 1943 wartime loss of the Wahoo through an unexpected last-moment transfer off the sub by order of his C.O., Morton, in order to allow him to further his Navy schooling back in the States. Sterling then went on to serve on several other subs and ships, not only surviving World War II, but enjoying a long and successful postwar naval career as well. He retired from the Navy a Chief Petty Officer in 1956, and thereafter took college writing courses in Ventura, California to prepare for his Wahoo memoir. Since then, Sterling had also been active with the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II organization, belonging to and helping to found local chapters in Southern California, for example. 

   Forest Sterling was predeceased by his wife Marie, the "one great love of his life," in the 1980s, and is now survived by only a handful of distant, scattered relatives in California, Oregon, Oklahoma and Arizona. With Wake of the Wahoo just recently returning to print after a nearly forty year absence, the book now becomes a legacy; a truly fitting tribute to the man whose famous World War II skipper often referred to him as "The best damned yeoman in the Navy!" 

Above photo: Mr. and Mrs. Forest J. Sterling seen here in a rare U.S. Navy photo taken in 1949. Photo courtesy of Holly Hayes

Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, daring World War II submarine skipper, dies at 93

By Richard Goldstein - the New York Times

Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, one of America’s most daring submarine commanders of World War II and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, died Thursday (June 28, 2007) in Annapolis, Md. He was 93. The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter, Barbara Bove, said.

   Fluckey (photo above), the skipper of the submarine USS Barb (SS-220) in the Pacific from April 1944 to August 1945, Commander Fluckey was known for innovative tactics. He was the only American submarine skipper to fire rockets at Japanese targets on shore and he oversaw a sabotage raid in which sailors from his submarine blew up a Japanese train. In addition to receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded four Navy Crosses, his service’s second-highest decoration. The Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee, which provided final, official tallies for World War II submarine attacks, credited him with destroying 95,360 tons of Japanese shipping, the highest total for any American submarine commander. According to his own findings, based on his 10 years of post-war research, the Barb sank about 145,000 tons under his command during five extended periods at sea. He was credited by military authorities with sinking 16 Japanese ships and taking part with two other skippers in a 17th sinking, the fourth-highest total among America’s World War II submarine commanders. By his own accounting, he sank 28 ships and took part in a 29th sinking. In September 1944, the Barb sank the 20,000-ton Japanese aircraft carrier Unyo together with an 11,000-ton Japanese tanker in the same torpedo salvo.

   Richard O’Kane (USS Tang), also a Medal of Honor recipient, ranked No. 1 in sinkings, with 24, but No. 2 behind Commander Fluckey in tonnage destroyed, according to the joint assessment unit, whose post-war findings generally differed from submarine commanders’ reports filed in the aftermath of combat. Telling of the Barb’s attacks on Japanese shipping early in 1945, Clay Blair Jr. wrote in the book “Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan” that when Commander Fluckey brought his submarine back to Pearl Harbor, “he was greeted with a red carpet." "His endorsements were ecstatic. One stated, ‘The Barb is one of the finest fighting submarines this war has ever known.’ ” Eugene Bennett Fluckey was born in Washington on October 5, 1913. When he was 10, he was impressed with a radio speech by President Calvin Coolidge stressing persistence as a prime ingredient for success. He named his dog Calvin Coolidge, and inspired by the admonition to excel, he finished high school at age 15. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935 and served on the submarine Bonita in the early years of World War II before commanding the Barb and taking as his motto “we don’t have problems, just solutions.” He was awarded the Medal of Honor for the Barb’s attacks on Japanese ships between December 1944 and February 1945 in waters off the eastern coast of occupied China and was cited specifically for the events in the predawn hours of January 23, 1945. The Barb, riding above the surface in shallow, uncharted, mined and rock-obstructed waters, sneaked into a harbor some 250 miles south of Shanghai and scored direct hits on six of the more than 30 Japanese ships there. A large ammunition ship was blown up in the attack, according to the citation. “Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the Barb through to safety, and four days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement,” the citation said.

   In the summer of 1945, the Barb became the first American submarine armed with rockets, and it used them to strike a Japanese air station and several factories. On July 23, 1945, the Barb embarked on a sabotage mission. With the submarine standing 950 yards offshore, eight volunteers, aboard a pair of rubber boats, paddled onto Japanese soil on the southern half of Sakhalin Island under cover of night and planted explosive charges on railroad tracks 400 yards inland. Commander Fluckey had considered giving the crewmen a terse Hollywood-style sendoff, but as he told The New York Times afterward, all he could think of was: “Boys, if you get stuck, head for Siberia, 130 miles north. Following the mountain ranges. Good luck.” The crewmen did not get stuck, and as they paddled back to the Barb, a 16-car train came by, triggering the explosives. The wreckage flew 200 feet in the air. Soon after the war ended, Commander Fluckey became an aide to Navy Secretary James Forrestal and to the chief of naval operations, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, soon after the war’s end. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1960. He commanded American submarine forces in the Pacific and was the director of naval intelligence in the 1960s. He retired from military service in 1972. In addition to his daughter, of Summerfield, Fla., and Annapolis, he is survived by his wife, Margaret; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His first wife, Marjorie, died in 1979. For all his exploits, Admiral Fluckey said he was most proud of one thing. As he put it in his memoir, “Thunder Below!” (1992): “No one who ever served under my command was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded or killed, and all of us brought our Barb back safe and sound.”

Johnny Lipes, famous World War II submarine 'surgeon' dies at age 84

April 2005: Wheeler Bryson "Johnny" Lipes, the Navy pharmacist's mate who during World War II performed the first emergency appendectomy ever done aboard a submerged submarine, died of pancreatic cancer in April 2005—he was 84.

   His historic surgery was one of the most famous lifesaving acts of World War II and took place aboard the submarine USS Seadragon (SS-191) on September 11, 1942. His patient was 19 year old Seaman 1c, Darrell Dean Rector. Lipes was not a doctor, and of course had no prior experience in surgery. To that date there had never been an appendectomy performed aboard an American submarine. The surgery took place at a depth of 120 feet and lasted two-hours-and-36-minutes. By the end of the patrol young Rector was back on duty. Upon the American press hearing of the appendectomy, Wheeler Lipes became a war hero. Lipes' operation was later memorialized in the classic films: "Destination Tokyo" (1943) and "Run Silent, Run Deep" (1958). In February 2005, Wheeler B. Lipes belatedly received a Navy Commendation Medal at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for his historic World War II appendectomy. At the Navy ceremony, Lipes downplayed his role, saying only, "I did what I had to do to save a man's life. Darrell Rector was the brave one."

   Sadly, Darrell D. Rector did not survive the war. Two years later in October of 1944, Rector was a gunners mate aboard the submarine USS Tang (SS-306). The 21 year old was among the 77 men lost when Tang was struck and sunk by her own circle-run torpedo.




World War II submarine, USS Flier, sunk in 1944, found

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

February 2010: On the night of August 13, 1944, Ensign Al Jacobson was topside on the USS Flier (SS-250) as the submarine raced to intercept a Japanese convoy reported to be off Palawan in the Philippines. Jacobson, then 22, was taken by the beauty that surrounded him. "He said it was actually one of the prettiest moments of his life. There were mountains all around and the sunset and just extraordinary beauty," his son, Nelson, recalled his father saying. It was a moment of tranquility that was suddenly replaced by the hellish reality of war. The 311-foot sub sank in 30 seconds when a hole was torn in the hull by what survivors and historians believe was a mine. Only 14 men made it out. Just eight of those, including Jacobson, made it to safety.

   The U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force yesterday (February 1, 2010) confirmed that a sunken sub found in the Balabac Strait in 330 feet of water is the USS Flier. "I am honored to announce that, with video evidence and information provided by a team from YAP Films and assistance from the Naval History and Heritage Command, USS Flier has been located," said Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny, commander of the Pacific submarine force. "We hope this announcement will provide some closure to the families of the 78 crewmen lost when Flier struck a mine in 1944." Flier is the fifth sunken World War II U.S. submarine to be found since 2005. The Flier's sinking highlights the danger faced by Pacific Fleet submariners during World War II. According to the United States Navy, of the 288 submarines deployed in the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II, 52 were lost, with 48 destroyed in the Pacific war zones.

   Jacobson was the last of the Flier survivors when he died in 2008. He had gathered as much information as he could about the Flier's demise and location to fully understand what happened, his family said. They carried on the quest after he died. In spring 2009, with the aid of the Jacobson family, a team from Toronto-based YAP Films located the wreckage of the Flier. The Navy said father-and-son divers Mike and Warren Fletcher of the television show "Dive Detectives" captured the first footage of the rusting submarine since it went down, and provided the imagery to the Naval History and Heritage Command to confirm the identification. "It's an emotional and exciting time for us, and obviously it's not just my father's sub, it's the whole crew, and the whole idea that we're sort of bringing closure to this extraordinary story," said Nelson Jacobson, who lives in Michigan. His father was "very blessed later in life with a successful career, and he was an engineer and problem solver and wanted to really understand what happened that evening," he added.

Above photo: USS Flier in 1944

   The Flier had left Pearl Harbor in January 1944 but ran aground at Midway Island. After repairs in California, the Flier again left Pearl in May of that year and attacked several Japanese ships. The night of the sinking, as the 1,525-ton Gato-class submarine made 18 knots, nine men were on deck on lookout. Jacobson was sitting in the gunner's seat of the aft gun when the sub exploded and started going down, his son said. "All he could think about were those great big brass propellers churning right past him," Nelson Jacobson said. The explosion came at 10 p.m. In the darkness, the survivors treaded water until the moonrise provided some light, and at about 4 a.m. the men began to make their way toward a silhouette of land, said Michael Sturma in his book, "The USS Flier, Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine."  By then, some of the men had disappeared. The remaining men clung to palm trunks and swam landward. For the next five days the survivors swam and used makeshift rafts to hop from one coral outcropping to another, surviving on coconuts, before they were aided by Filipinos. Clad only in underwear, the Flier survivors were severely sunburned, and their feet were gashed and bleeding from walking across sharp coral, Sturma said. Sturma said the eight Flier sailors were the first Americans of the Pacific war to survive a submarine sinking and make it back to the United States.

Now in stock: "EIGHT SURVIVED" The Harrowing Story of the USS Flier and the Only Downed World War II Submariners to Survive and Evade Capture.

World War II battleship USS Iowa arrives in San Pedro, Ca.

   The battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) arrived off the coast of San Pedro, while it undergoes a routine cleaning of its hull before being brought to its permanent home, Berth 87, at the Port of Los Angeles. The 887-foot battleship was towed out of a Northern California port and powered by tug boats for a four-day trip to Los Angeles. The 58,000-ton ship—nicknamed "The Big Stick" because of its long, slender hull— will open on July 7 (2012) as an interactive Naval museum and is now property of the Pacific Battleship Center, a nonprofit organization that was awarded custody of the USS Iowa on September 6, 2011 for display as a museum and educational attraction at Port of L.A. Berth 87.  

Construction of the ship, which took about two years, began in 1940, and the USS Iowa was the first of four completed vessels in its class. Its sister ships, which now serve as museums, are the USS New Jersey, USS Missouri and the USS Wisconsin. Once commissioned, the USS Iowa carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his top military advisers to Casablanca en route to the 1943 Tehran Conference. The battleship would later serve in the Pacific Fleet, shelling beachheads in the Marshall Islands. It was at the battle of Okinawa and among the first to enter Tokyo Bay after Japan's surrender in World War II. In 1989, during a training mission off Puerto Rico, the 16-inch gun in Turret No. 2 exploded, killing 47 sailors. The ship was decommissioned the following year. The Pacific Battleship Center plans to offer overnight stays and at least five tours, including tours focusing on life at sea, engineering and armor, and the ship's weapons.

"As America's leading port, Los Angeles is the ideal home for the leading ship of her class," said Robert Kent, director of the Pacific Battleship Center. "This national gateway for global trade will be the new base from which this great ship will begin a new era of public service." U.S. Navy veterans who served on the World War II-era battleship are scheduled to hold a reunion in San Pedro over the Fourth of July holiday (2012) in conjunction with the grand opening of the ship's reincarnation as a floating museum. Since 2001, the USS Iowa has been part of the Navy's "Mothball Fleet" in Suisun Bay, northeast of Oakland. 

Nuclear submarine USS Los Angeles decommissioned

Above photo: Sailors assigned to the fast-attack submarine USS Los Angeles (SSN-688) man the rails one last time during the boat's decommissioning ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communications Specialist Jeffrey Wells.

January 23, 2010, Los Angeles, Ca.:  The nuclear submarine USS Los Angeles (SSN-688) has faithfully patrolled the world's oceans for 33 years, conducting all but one of her 18 deployments in the Pacific. She is the fourth naval ship to be named after the City of Los Angeles, and is the lead boat of her class. The Los Angeles was officially decommissioned on January 23, 2010. Following the decommissioning ceremony, Los Angeles was bound for the Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard in Bremerton, Washington where the submarine will be dismantled and scrapped. The sub will make its way up the coast under its own power. Lieutenant Commander David Benham said, "The planned hull life was 30 years, but it was extended. It was well built. She's already gone above and beyond her use. From May to November of this year, she was in the Pacific."

   The 361-foot-long submarine, was staffed by 13 officers and 121 enlisted men. Her many capabilities include wartime functions of undersea warfare, surface warfare, strike warfare, mining operations, special forces delivery, reconnaissance, carrier battle group support and escort, and intelligence collection. Steven Harrison, Commanding Officer, USS Los Angeles: "I am very proud of each and every Sailor onboard. We all have worked very hard to keep this warship at the forefront of submarine operations and the crew has done a fantastic job meeting every operational requirement." Launched on April 6, 1974 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company in Newport News, Va., USS Los Angeles was commissioned on November 13, 1976. She hosted President Jimmy Carter and the First Lady on May 27, 1997, for an at-sea demonstration of the capabilities of the nation's newest fast-attack submarine. She then made her first operational deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in 1977 and was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation

   In 1978, Los Angeles transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was assigned to Submarine Squadron Seven, home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The sub and her crew operated with distinction over the next 32 years, conducting 17 Pacific deployments. Along the way, USS Los Angeles earned eight Meritorious Unit Citations, a Navy Unit Citation, and the coveted Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award, awarded to the Pacific Fleet's top warship. Additionally, she was awarded her squadron's annual Battle Efficiency "E" for excellence in combat readiness eight times. Los Angeles participated in four multinational "Rim of the Pacific" or RIMPAC exercises, and visited numerous foreign ports in Italy, Republic of the Philippines, Diego Garcia, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Canada and Singapore.

U.S. admits to salvaging sunken Soviet submarine

American government has finally revealed details of a top-secret mission to raise a sunken Soviet submarine.

By Tom Leonard

February 2010: The admission ends more than 30 years of silence over one of the most elaborate and expensive projects of the Cold War. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has always refused to confirm even the barest details of "Project Azorian," a daring 1974 exercise that was backed by the industrialist Howard Hughes and estimated to have cost $1 billion in today's money.

   However, following an application to declassify the information under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the CIA has released an internal account of the mission, albeit with some of the biggest mysteries still unanswered. The newly released documents have passages that are blacked out and questions about the ultimate success of the operation—and what the CIA learned about Soviet subs and warheads remain a mystery. Journalists and historians have concluded the ambitious salvage effort produced mixed results, as only sections of the submarine could be retrieved and the most sensitive Soviet equipment was not recovered.

   In the 50-page article published in 1985 in the agency's in-house journal, the CIA details how President Richard Nixon went against the advice of his senior military chiefs in the hope of gaining crucial intelligence from the nuclear missiles being carried by the sub. The Soviet Golf-II submarine, K-129, sank in 1968 in the Pacific, 1,560 miles northwest of Hawaii, in circumstances that have never been explained. It was carrying three ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. According to the newly-released papers, despite the difficulties of reaching the vessel some three miles down, Richard Nixon ordered the creation of a task force to bring it to the surface.

   The project was nearly cancelled due to soaring costs and concern that it might damage improving U.S.-Soviet relations. However, a portion of the sub was eventually winched to the surface by the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a specially-designed salvage ship using a unique lifting cradle. Mr. Hughes lent his name to the project to give the ship cover as a deep-sea mining vessel but the CIA papers reveal that she was continually dogged by Soviet ships. Fearing the Russians might even try to storm the ship, the Americans blocked up its helicopter landing pad with crates. The Americans buried six lost Soviet crewmen at sea, after retrieving their bodies in the wreckage.

   Exactly what the operation managed to salvage remains unclear as portions of the CIA text have been redacted, but historians and journalists have concluded that the most sensitive Soviet equipment was never recovered. The CIA article—obtained by the National Security Archive, an independent watchdog—mentions only "intangibly beneficial" results such as the morale boost it gave to US intelligence and advances in maritime heavy-lifting technology.

World War II submarine USS Lagarto found!

Divers have just discovered the U.S. submarine USS Lagarto (SS-371) in the Gulf of Thailand. Lost with her entire crew of 86 men, in May 1945, Lagarto now rest on the bottom in 220 feet of water. According to diver Jamie McLeod the wreck "is perfectly upright and seems to be intact..." Japanese records from World War II state the minelayer Hasutaka attacked an American submarine later believed to be Lagarto at this location. Among the lost is Leslie M. Doud, RM2c, a former USS Snook crewman. Lagarto Found

Above photo: USS Lagarto underway in 1944.

U.S. Navy confirms sunken World War II submarine is the USS Grunion

By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class (SW) Cynthia Clark, COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, HI. (NNS)—Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC), Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny announced today (Oct. 2008) that the sunken vessel off the coast of the Aleutian Islands is in fact the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216). "I am honored to announce that, with records and information provided by the Abele family and assistance from the Naval Historical Center, USS Grunion has been located," said McAneny. "We are very grateful to the family of Grunion's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele for providing the underwater video footage and pictures that allowed us to make this determination. We also appreciate the efforts of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial for their assistance in this matter. We hope this announcement will help to give closure to the families of the 70 crewmen of Grunion." The submarine Grunion arrived at Pearl Harbor on June 20, 1942. The vessel completed pre-patrol training before departing on its first war patrol June 30. Grunion's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Abele, was ordered to proceed to the Aleutian Islands and patrol westward from Attu on routes between the Aleutians and the Japanese Empire. On July 10, Grunion was reassigned to the area north of Kiska. Over the next 20 days, the submarine reported firing on an enemy destroyer, sinking three destroyer-type vessels, and attacking unidentified enemy ships  near Kiska. Grunion's last transmission was received on July 30, 1942. The submarine reported heavy antisubmarine activity at the entrance to Kiska, and that it had 10 torpedoes remaining forward. On  the same day, Grunion was directed to return to Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base. There was no contact or sighting of the submarine after July 30, and on  August 16, 1942, Grunion was reported lost. Commander Abele was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. A destroyer, USS  Mannert L. Abele (DD 733), was commissioned in his honor, and was later lost in action off Okinawa in 1945. Japanese anti-submarine attack data recorded no attack in the Aleutian area at the time of Grunion's  disappearance, so the submarine's fate remained an unsolved mystery for more than 60 years. After discovering information on the internet in 2002 that helped pinpoint USS Grunion's possible location, the sons of Grunion's commanding officer, Bruce, Brad, and John Abele, began working on a plan to find the submarine. In August 2006, a team  of side scan sonar experts hired by the brothers located a target near Kiska almost a mile below the ocean's surface. A second expedition in August 2007 using a high definition camera on a  remotely operated vehicle (ROV) yielded video footage and high resolution photos of the wreckage of a U.S. fleet submarine. "This discovery has come about through a stream of seemingly improbable events; it's like we won the lottery 10 times in a row," said Bruce Abele, eldest son of Grunion's  commanding officer. "It is so dramatic to see the underwater photo and be certain it was in fact Grunion; not only is this announcement important for the families of the crew members, it's also important for the Navy and the country." The Abele brothers then contacted the USS Cod Submarine Memorial for assistance in identifying the wreckage. The vessel is lying at a depth of about 3,200 feet. Very cold water and lack of significant currents has preserved much of the wreckage. Dr. John Fakan, director of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial, remarked about the importance of having an unmodified example in USS Cod, a fellow Gato-class submarine, in identifying the wreckage of USS Grunion. "USS Grunion and USS Cod shared the same blueprints," he said. "It is very gratifying for me and my crew to help with the identification of the submarine." With the information provided by the Abele family and the USS Cod Submarine Memorial, COMSUBPAC and the Naval Historical Center examined the evidence and historical records and determined that the submarine found at the reported position could only be USS Grunion. "The synergy of our group working together with the Navy for the common cause has been a wonderful group effort," Bruce Abele said. "The teamwork combined with everyone's compassion and wisdom has resulted in our success." According to Bruce's brother John Abele, those responsible for contributing to this included historians and engineers from the discovery United States, Australia, Israel and Japan. Of particular note was the involvement of Japanese naval  architect Yutaka Iwasaki, who provided information critical to pinpointing the location of the submarine. Bruce and John's brother, retired Lieutenant Brad Abele, who recently passed away, also played a significant role in the find. As his brother John explained, "Brad's experience as a Naval aviator helped a great deal by helping us to plot the strategy for  the discovery."

   Unfortunately, the cause of Grunion's sinking remains a mystery. No matter what the cause, the end result was the loss of all hands. As the Naval Historical Center noted, "no amount  of analysis or speculation will change or alter the fact that families lost fathers, husbands, uncles and brothers… the Navy and the nation will always be grateful for their service and their sacrifice." Former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz once said, "When I assumed command of the Pacific Fleet on  31 December 1941 our submarines were already operating against the enemy, the only units of the Fleet that could come to grips with the Japanese for months to come. It was to the Submarine Force that I looked to carry the load until our great industrial activity could produce the weapons we so sorely needed to carry the war to the enemy. It is to the everlasting honor and glory of our submarine personnel that they never failed us in our days of great peril." By the end of World War II, submarines had made more than 1,600 war patrols. Pacific Fleet submarines like Grunion accounted for more than half of all enemy shipping sunk during the war. The cost of this success was heavy: 52 U.S. Pacific Fleet submarines were lost, and more than 3,500 submariners remain on "eternal  patrol." A representative of the submarine force will speak on behalf of the U.S. Navy at a  memorial service in Cleveland, Ohio, October 11. The service, hosted by the USS Cod Memorial, will honor the 70 crewmembers killed when USS Grunion was sunk near the Aleutian Islands on or about July 30, 1942. "To provide ourselves and the families this closure, it's icing on the cake," said John Abele. "The memorial service is a symbolic event; we've discovered family we didn't know we had. Not only is this an honor for all of us, it increases the feeling of community we've been able to achieve."
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/ -USN-

Above photo: First photo of the USS Grunion on the bottom at an estimated depth of 2,000 feet. Actually wreckage depth later found to be about 3,200 feet. Photo courtesy: USSGrunion.com

World War II submarine USS Snook believed found!

An Okinawan company was performing  underwater operations with their American made Scorpio ROV in 1995 when divers suddenly encountered a unidentified sonar contact. Resting on the ocean floor at a depth of 350 meters or just over 1,100 feet was a large exposed metal structure about 35 meters (82 feet) in length. The object was roughly estimated at an angle of 20 to 30 degrees. The mystery vessel was discovered off the coast of Irimore Island, the far southwest island in the Okinawa chain and the last known patrol area of USS Snook (SS-279). After some research, divers believed they had stumbled onto the wreck of Snook who disappeared on April 9, 1945. Snook may have met her demise at the hands of a Japanese submarine—the entire crew were lost. Divers hoped to return the wreck site however their ROV was lost in 1997 and no further dive attempts were made. The book Final Dive deals with the World War II career of Snook.

Aircraft Carrier book reveals World War II Purple Heart candidate

Above photo: Senator Brownback (left) displays Purple Heart before presenting it to James Dreiling (right).

James E. Dreiling of Parsons, Kansas, a World War II Navy Veteran, has received the "Purple Heart" Medal 55-years after his injury. Dreiling was injured in a bizarre flight deck accident aboard the carrier USS Petrof Bay in October of 1944. One of two crewmen who were accidentally thrown over the side of the moving ship on the final day of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Dreiling was rescued from the turbulent seas by an escorting destroyer and suffered a broken leg—the other man was lost. 54-years later (in 1998) Dreiling's daughter, Cecilia Baugher purchased Rick Cline's book Escort Carrier WWII which she found at the USS Petrof Bay website. Upon reading the book, which is about the Petrof Bay, Baugher said; "To my surprise my dad is mentioned in the book [and] the book told of his experience." When she read the other crewman was reported 'killed in the line of duty' Baugher said; "It really sparked us to seek this [Purple Heart] further. Continuing, Baugher wrote; "We got together and decided to see if dad qualified for the honor of the Purple Heart. I sent copies of the title page of the book [Escort Carrier WWII] and the pages with the incident on them to our Senator's office to see if he could help. I had everything that was needed including medical records stating he had been injured in the line of duty. In two-days I received a letter back requesting all the records I could come up with on dad. I received word [Veterans Day—November 11, 1999] from our Senator's office that they have received the Purple Heart and Senator Sam Brownback will present it to him in Pittsburg, Kansas." On November 23, 1999, in front of National television and print media, Senator Brownback presented James E. Dreiling his Purple Heart, "On behalf of a grateful Nation." During the presentation, he received a standing ovation. Congratulations to Mr. Dreiling.

Famous Australian warship HMAS Sydney discovered


CANBERRA, March 17 (Xinhua): The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Monday (March 17, 2008) the wreckage of HMAS (Her Majesty's Australian Ship) Sydney, sunk off the West Australian coast during World War II, has been found. -See photo above- The Sydney's entire crew of 645 went down with the vessel in the Indian Ocean in November, 1941, and its location has been a mystery for more than 66 years. It was announced Sunday that the wreckage of the German merchant raider Kormoran—which is believed to have sunk the Australian warship—was found in waters about 800 kilometers north of Perth. The Sydney was located Sunday, about 22 kilometers from the Kormoran. HMAS Sydney was found about 12 nautical miles from the Kormoran, just eight nautical miles from the scene of the battle site at a depth of 2,470 meters. See website for more photos and more info.


R.A. Cline Publishing is looking for family members or anyone related to the late Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, Jr.

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