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Sub That 80 Americans Died on Found After 75 Years

The USS Grayback was lost in 1944
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2019 5:25 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2019 2:45 PM CST
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A May, 1941 photo of the Grayback.   (US National Archives)

(Newser) – A determined American explorer has discovered a submarine lost for 75 years—and the final resting place of 80 American servicemen. Tim Taylor, who runs a project dedicated to finding the 52 US submarines lost in action during World War II, says his team has found the USS Grayback off Okinawa, the New York Times reports. The sub, which sank more than a dozen Japanese ships and rescued a group of downed American airmen, left Pearl Harbor on Jan. 28, 1944, for its 10th combat mission and never returned. Japanese records translated after the war said a plane had hit the sub with a 500-pound bomb and gave the latitude and longitude. But last year, Yutaka Iwasaki, a Japanese researcher who works with Taylor's team, discovered that one digit had been mistranslated.

Iwasaki's finding revealed that the Grayback had been hit 100 miles from the approximate location the Navy had listed. Taylor and his team searched the area using autonomous underwater drones. When the main underwater vehicle malfunctioned on the next-to-last day of the expedition, the team prepared to leave, until data from the vehicle led them to the Grayback. "It was amazing. Everyone was excited," Taylor tells the Washington Post. "Then you realize there are 80 men buried there, and it’s a sobering experience." John Bihn of Wantaugh, NY, is named for his uncle, who died on the Grayback. He tells the Times that he was "dumbfounded" to learn that the sub had finally been found. "I wish my parents were alive to see this, because it would certainly make them very happy," he says. (Read more World War II stories.)

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