via National Submarine Memorial West

Nothing is completely lost in the sea. The fact that you stop seeing it doesn’t mean that it disappeared. If you don’t believe it, look how much plastic there is in the oceans.

But not only that, it is estimated that countless treasures from all eras of humankind are sunk in the seas. Thus it is not weird to think that many of the submarines (if not other kinds of other machines) from different ages are lying there.

That’s where Bruce, Brad, and John’s quest began, as these three brothers wanted to find the submarine in which his father drowned during World War II.


The Missing USS Grunion

via Reddit

In June 1942, the USS Grunion received its orders and set off to its inaugural mission under Lt. Cmdr. Mannert Abele’s command. It was also its last mission. After sinking two Japanese patrol boats around the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, it was ordered back but never came home. No one knew what happened to it or the 70 seamen aboard at the time. In October 1942 the submarine was declared officially lost.

In 2006, following a tip from “a remarkable Japanese gentleman, Yutaka Iwasaki”, Abele’s three sons (Bruce, Brad, and John) started looking for the submarine and asked for the services of Williamson & Associates, a marine geophysics and ocean engineering firm, along with a side-scan sonar that helped them locate the missing submarine. They found the USS Grunion, but the bow of the ship wasn’t there.

It wasn’t until 2018, almost 80 years after the submarine sank, that they found the bow of the ship about 820 meters underwater off the coast of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. After finding out where the bow was, the team in charge was sent out autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) equipped with advanced photogrammetry imaging so they could reconstruct images of the wreckage. With that technology, they were able to create 3D models and images of the underwater vessel.

Tim Taylor is part of the Lost 52 project, a group that searches 52 submarines that went missing during World War II. They were the group involved in that last stage of the founding of the USS Grunion. According to Taylor, this was a very meaningful finding for them because it meant that “archaeologists and historians could spend months back home performing detailed research”. Especially in this day and age, where many jobs are migrating home, it is a good thing to know that they would be able to continue part of their work remotely.