The Final Voyage of the USS Grunion

Of all the U. S. submarines that were lost during World War II, only a few disappeared without a trace. One of them was the Grunion, carrying 70 men, which was last heard from on July 30, 1942, near the island of Kiska, off the coast of Alaska.

The skipper of the Grunion, Jim Abele, left behind three young sons, who never forgot their dad. As they grew older, the boys became more determined to solve the mystery of what happened to their father’s sub.

Last summer, their determination paid off. Bob Dotson tells the moving story of the sons’ search and discovery of the ship’s wreckage, a thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific.

There is a lot more information about the search project, and the action that sank the sub, at the search team’s official web site. Another site has a lot of high-quality photos of the wreckage taken by the search team. The roll call of the men who were lost on the Grunion is found on the official Navy web page commemorating the ship.

Stories like this put a human face on the dreary numbers of casualties that came out of that war, and remind us again of the courage that motivated those who risked their lives to defend our nation. As the Abele sons note on their web site,

One could question the reason for the publicity on what otherwise should be a private matter, but we believe that this is about more than just honoring the 70 sailors who sacrificed their lives so we could live ours in freedom. It is that, and it’s also about making an effort to remember and honor all those who died in WWII and the many more injured who took great risk and commitment to protect a democratic system that we seem to have lost respect for today.


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