U.S. Navy submarine missing for 75 years discovered off coast of Japan

A team of private ocean explorers said they have discovered the USS Grayback more than 1,400 feet under water about 50 miles south of Okinawa, Japan.

(Meredith) -- A World War II submarine that sank 75 years ago with 80 American sailors onboard has been found off the coast of Japan, according to a team of private ocean explorers.

The Lost 52 Project discovered the USS Grayback more than 1,400 feet under water about 50 miles south of Okinawa back in June. The group announced their findings on Sunday, ending a decades-old mystery. 

The sub, which is credited with sinking 14 enemy ships, left Pearl Harbor on Jan. 28, 1944, for its 10th combat mission. Two months later, it was listed as missing and presumed lost.

According to the New York Times, the Navy compiled a history of the 52 submarines it had lost during WWII with approximate locations of where the vessels sank.

But the Navy had unknowingly relied on a flawed translation of Japanese war records that misrepresented where the Grayback went down. Last year, an amateur researcher detected the error and realized the records were off by a single digit -- about 100 miles.

USS Grayback

This 1941 photo shows the USS Grayback. 

The new information helped Tim Taylor and his Lost 52 Project team locate the missing sub. Most of its body was still intact, but there was evidence that the Grayback was likely bombed. 

“We were elated,” Taylor told the New York Times. “But it’s also sobering, because we just found 80 men.” 

After finding the missing vessel, Taylor and his wife Christine Dennison spent months searching for relatives of the sailors who died onboard to offer them some closure.

“The most important thing is, they’re here, now they can be celebrated again, they can be honored again, and we know where they are,” Dennison told ABC News.

Taylor founded the Lost 52 Project with the goal of finding every American warship lost during World War II.  So far, the group has discovered five missing subs, including the Grayback. 

According to the Navy, the Grayback was one of the most successful submarines in the war. It received two Navy Unit Commendations and eight battle stars for its service. 

Copyright 2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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