USS Grayback

WWII US submarine wreck found after 75 years

USS Grayback (SS-208), a US Navy submarine missing for 75 years, has been found in Japanese waters.

USS Grayback; Photo: Lost 52 Project

Veteran ocean explorer and Tiburon Subsea CEO Tim Taylor along with his “Lost 52 Project” team have discovered the WWII submarine wreck.

The US Navy officially verified the discovery of Grayback which was made on June 5, 2019, at a depth of 435 meters.

As informed, this is the first US submarine discovered in Japanese waters and is the final resting place of 80 sailors.

The ocean explorers used a combination of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV’s), remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) and advanced photogrammetry imaging technology, which resulted in the most comprehensive historical archeological records to date.

“Because of the quality of images and the data shared from the groundbreaking project, Naval History and Heritage Command’s underwater archaeology team was able to confirm the final resting place of USS Grayback,” Robert S. Neyland, Ph.D., Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch Head, said.

“The confirmation of the site as a U.S. Navy sunken military craft ensures it is protected from disturbance, safeguarding the final resting place of our sailors.”

USS Grayback, one of the most successful submarines of the war, was a Tambor-class submarine launched on January 31, 1941, and was under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Anderson Moore. She made 10 war patrols total and is credited with sinking 14 ships, totaling 63,835 tons, including an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine. Grayback was a major part of the submarine offensive from the very start of the war.

Post-war Japanese records indicated that on February 26, 1944, Grayback suffered damage when land-based Japanese naval aircraft attacked her in the East China Sea, but it was assumed she sank the naval transport Ceylon Maru the next day. That same day it was recorded that a Japanese carrier-based plane spotted a submarine on the surface in the East China Sea and attacked. According to Japanese reports the submarine “exploded and sank immediately,” but antisubmarine craft were called into depth-charge the area, clearly marked by a trail of air bubbles, until a heavy oil slick swelled to the surface.

Grayback received two Navy Unit Commendations honoring her seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth war patrols, in addition to eight battle stars for her World War II service.

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

Video Courtesy: Ocean Outreach/Lost 52 Project