Missing WWII submarine found after 75 years off the coast of Okinawa

Missing WWII submarine found after 75 years off the coast of Okinawa Missing WWII submarine found after 75 years off the coast of Okinawa

WIB historyWIB sea November 13, 2019 0

A long-missing World War II-era US Navy Submarine has been found- and its long disappearance is due to a translation error. Missing WWII submarine found after 75 years off the coast of Okinawa

A long-missing World War II-era US Navy Submarine has been found- and its long disappearance is due to a translation error.

The USS Grayback (SS-208) was discovered off the coast of Okinawa on Sunday, resting at the bottom over 1,400 feet beneath the waves.

Found by the private research group the Lost 52 Project, the submarine was located over 100 miles from the coordinates originally established by the US Navy. The reason for the massive miscalculation was a single digit in coordinates logged by the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was mistranslated by the US in 1946.



The Grayback received eight battle stars in World War II, and was in the top 20 among total tonnage sunk. She had embarked upon ten patrols when she met her end on February 27, 1944, after a 500-pound bomb was dropped on her by Japanese aircraft. During the strike, she was struck directly in the conning tower.

The submarine -which sank with all 80 men aboard- was found split in two at the bottom of the sea, though her nameplate is clearly visible.

The Grayback was the setting of a curious case in combat medicine history in 1942, when, only one week out of port, a Sailor required an emergency appendectomy. The senior-most medical staff aboard was Pharmacist’s Mate Harry B. Roby, who had never been trained in how to remove an appendix. Despite his lack of surgical knowledge, Roby not only successfully removed the Sailor’s appendix, but had him upright and performing his normal duties by the end of the patrol.



During her time in service, the Grayback performed countless hunter-killer missions and even rescued downed aviators behind enemy lines.

Her commander -a Texan by the name of John Anderson Moore- earned three Navy Crosses during his time as skipper aboard the Grayback, the final one being awarded posthumously. He was 34 years old at the time of the Grayback’s sinking.

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