|06-17-2006, 05:13 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Sunken Sub Appears to be USS Lagarto
Sunken Sub Appears to be USS Lagarto
Story Number: NNS060616-16
Release Date: 6/16/2006 8:00:00 PM
From Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Navy divers completed six days of diving operations June 16 on wreckage in the Gulf of Thailand believed to be that of the lost World War II submarine USS Lagarto (SS 371).
Divers will send photographs and video of the submarine to the Naval Historical Center in Washington for further analysis.
The divers' observations appear to confirm the discovery made in May 2005 by British wreck diver Jamie MacLeod.
"Without a doubt, it's a U.S. submarine, a Balao-class," said U.S. 7th Fleet Diving Officer, Cmdr. Tony San Jose.
San Jose and his fellow divers reported identifying twin 5-inch gun mounts both forward and aft, a feature believed to be unique to Lagarto. They also reported finding serial numbers and the word "Manitowoc" engraved on the submarine's propeller. Lagarto was one of 28 submarines built in Manitowoc, Wisc.
The operations were conducted from the rescue and salvage ship USS Salvor (ARS 52) with embarked divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japan-based mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) assisted by first pinpointing the location of the wreckage with its SQQ-32 sonar and remotely-operated Mine Neutralization Vehicle.
The mission to positively identify Lagarto was carried out as part of the Thailand phase of the exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT. A Royal Thai Navy liaison officer was embarked aboard Salvor to assist during the mission.
San Jose said that the diving operations were very challenging because of short bottom times, strong currents and limited visibility. Due to the depths involved, the dives had to be conducted with mixed gas.
"We are deeply grateful to the divers of MDSU 1 and USS Salvor for their efforts to confirm this discovery and bring closure to the families of Lagarto's crew," said Pacific Submarine Force commander, Rear Adm. Jeffrey Cassias.
For 60 years, crew members' families did not know the exact circumstances surrounding the 86 submariners who perished. Lagarto was last heard from May 3, 1945, as it was preparing to attack a Japanese convoy under heavy escorts. Japanese war records later revealed that the minelayer Hatsutaka reported sinking a U.S. submarine at roughly the same time and location.
Cassias met May 6 with Lagarto family members at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, where a memorial service was held to honor the lost crew. Last year, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed a proclamation making May 3, the day the craft was presumed sunk, as USS Lagarto Remembrance Day in perpetuity.
“We owe a great debt to these men, and to all of the World War II submariners,” said Cassias. “In the world's darkest hour, they faced the greatest risks, and demonstrated the most noble courage to preserve the freedom of our nation.”
Lagarto was one of 52 submarines lost on patrol during World War II.
Navy says it's likely found long-lost World War II submarine
HONOLULU (AP) -- For 60 years, Nancy Kenney wondered what happened to her father.
The submarine that William T. Mabin was in disappeared while he and his crewmates were on a mission to attack a Japanese convoy in the last months of World War II.
Now, the Navy says a wreck found at the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand appears to be the sub, the USS Lagarto.
"I have never in my life, unequivocally, felt such a high,'' said Kenney, who was 2 years old when her father and the submarine did not return from their mission in May 1945.
"We can just feel a sense of relief and a sense of peace in knowing what happened and where they are,'' said Kenney, of Lake LeeLanau, Mich.
Navy divers on Friday completed a six-day survey of the wreckage site. They took photos and video of the 311-foot, 9-inch submarine for further analysis by naval archeologists.
The divers found twin 5-inch gun mounts on the forward and rear parts of the ship -- a feature believed to be unique to the Lagarto.
They also saw the word "Manitowoc'' displayed on the submarine's propeller, providing a connection to the Manitowoc, Wis., shipyard that built the Lagarto in the 1940s.
Eighty-six sailors died when the Lagarto sank in May 1945. The Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka reported dropping depth charges and sinking a U.S. sub in the area, though it was never known what ship it destroyed.
The Navy sent its divers to examine the ship to provide the sailors' families with some answers after a British professional shipwreck diver last year found what looked like the Lagarto, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force.
"It was important to bring a sense of closure to these families and it was important to do it in a way that would honor our fellow submariners,'' Davis said.
The Navy wouldn't do anything with the ship even if it conclusively determined it was the Lagarto, considering the sea to be a proper final resting place for "our people who are killed in action,'' he said.
The wreckage site over 100 miles off the eastern coast of Thailand is also likely to go undisturbed.
U.S. laws and international agreements already protect sunken U.S. warships from looters or others who would disturb the site, Davis said.
Since Kenney was just a toddler when her father went to war, she has no conscious memories of their life in LaGrange, Ill. But she said news of the Navy's dive "was the most important piece'' of a puzzle about her father that she's been trying to put together for six decades.
The children of the Lagarto sailors feel closer to their fathers now more than ever, she said.
"We feel like we've found our fathers,'' Kenney said.
Last edited by Navy6064; 06-17-2006 at 05:45 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
|06-19-2006, 09:59 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Civilian First Class
Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Sunken Sub Appears to be USS Lagarto
I'm glad the mystery was solved for the families
|appears, lagarto, sunken, uss|
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