Navy News Service/HarpBlaster.com News Wire
PEARL HARBOR — A sunken vessel off the coast of the Aleutian Islands is in fact the World War II submarine USS Grunion, Navy officials said.
“I am honored to announce that, with records and information provided by the Abele family and assistance from the Naval Historical Center, USS Grunion has been located,” said Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny. “We are very grateful to the family of Grunion’s Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Mannert L. Abele for providing the underwater video footage and pictures that allowed us to make this determination. We also appreciate the efforts of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial for their assistance in this matter. We hope this announcement will help to give closure to the families of the 70 crewmen of Grunion.”
The submarine Grunion arrived at Pearl Harbor on June 20, 1942. The vessel completed pre-patrol training before departing on its first war patrol June 30.
Grunion’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Abele, was ordered to proceed to the Aleutian Islands and patrol westward from Attu on routes between the Aleutians and the Japanese Empire. On July 10, Grunion was reassigned to the area north of Kiska. Over the next 20 days, the submarine reported firing on an enemy destroyer, sinking three destroyer-type vessels, and attacking unidentified enemy ships near Kiska.
Grunion’s last transmission was received on July 30, 1942. The submarine reported heavy antisubmarine activity at the entrance to Kiska, and that it had 10 torpedoes remaining forward. On the same day, Grunion was directed to return to Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base. There was no contact or sighting of the submarine after July 30, and on August 16, Grunion was reported lost.
Abele was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. A destroyer, USS Mannert L. Abele (DD 733), was commissioned in his honor, and was later lost in action off Okinawa in 1945. Japanese anti-submarine attack data recorded no attack in the Aleutian area at the time of Grunion’s disappearance, so the submarine’s fate remained an unsolved mystery for more than 60 years.