John Abele

John Abele

For six decades he and his brother have been looking for a submarine lost in WWII, wose skipper was their father. They found it off the cost of Alaska, after a Japenese historian found some more information about its last battle. The U.S.S. Grunion was surfacing, trying to finish a cargo ship it had tordpedod, but the ship fired back 84 times.

There are some fascinating coincidences — three submarines from WWII were found the same year. In 2000 someone went to a antique store and mought a diagram for $1 of the wiring of the Kano Maru. A man in Japan was a WWII hobbiest and had translated an article on an event that occurred in the summer of 1942. In a obscure Japanese Maritime Journal. The Grunion attacked the ship, shot a torpedo that struck the stern, detroyed the stern gun and radio. It was an armed freighter and had another gun. He and a friend went to a Japanese defense archives, and dug up the logbook of the captain and two eyewitness accounts. Usually after a war the two countries get together and figure out what happened, but the Grunion was lot. The Japanese occupied two US islands, one of which was Kiska. In 2005 they started talking about the possibility to go down and find it.

They have a crab boat, the Aquila, and used it as a research vehicle. Got two scan sonar Scanfish and scoured almost 250 square miles looking for potential targets. On the fifth day, they discovered a shadow that looked a little like a surface ship. They anchored in the Kiska island, the wind would blow 85 miles per hour. They launched the ROV with the camera on it. They have a WordPress blog. When they dropped the ROV in the water, they found the submare in 20 minutes, which never happens. The Kiska volcano had erupted 3 times since 1942, and there had been a 9.0 earthquake, so they weren’t expecting to find anything, but he submarine was nearly intact.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 16, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    I was spellbound by John’s story of discovery and remembering, honoring and preserving. To me, his Grunion project underscores what drives the human spirit, and what part love, loss, intent and yes, the internet can play in our very fate if we use it wisely.

    What an amazing event EG07 was, all told, and I hope to experience it again in the coming years.

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