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Old 08-17-2018, 02:19 PM
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Arrow U.S. Navy Wreckage from WWII Discovered Off Coast of Alaska

U.S. Navy Wreckage from WWII Discovered Off Coast of Alaska
By Kyle Mizokami - Aug 17, 2018

The USS Abner Read was the victim of an underwater mine attack.

Photo Link of the USS Abner Read:*

Remains from a U.S. Navy destroyer badly damaged by a sea mine was discovered last month by a government-funded scientific team. The USS Abner Read was nearly sunk in action during the Aleutians campaign in World War II, as Allied forces fought to eject Japanese troops occupying the remote islands of Attu and Kiska. The destroyer was ultimately saved and continued to serve in the Pacific for the remainder of the war, but a portion of the ship was lost to the sea in the process.

In the early months of America’s participation in World War II, Imperial Japanese forces occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian islands chain. The operation was meant to distract the Americans from the central and south Pacific theaters but was not part of a larger invasion of Alaska.

Built in the naval shipyards of San Francisco, the USS Abner Read joined the Pacific Fleet and was sent to participate in the Aleutians campaign. On the night of August 8th, 1943 while participating in an anti-submarine operation off Kiska, Read struck a sea mine at the stern of the ship. The rear 75 feet of the 376 foot long ship was blown off, including rudder and propellers. The section quickly sank, and only herculean damage control efforts saved the rest of the ship and crew. Seventy one men were killed in the mine attack.

Photo link of the Abner Read after the mine attack:*

On July 17th, 2018 a team funded by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration rediscovered the stern section in 290 feet of water, still off the coast of Kiska. The team consisted of scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the University of Delaware.

The team discovered the wreckage after a multibeam sonar on the research ship Norseman II identified a “promising target.” A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was sent to the target location to investigate. The team was quickly convinced they had found the stern of the Abner Read. Expedition leader Eric Terrill later said, “We could clearly see the broken stern, the gun and rudder control, all consistent with the historical documents.”

The wreckage qualifies for U.S. government protection per the Federal government’s Sunken Military Act. The act states that the “Navy's sunken military craft remain property of the U.S. regardless of their location or the passage of time and may not be disturbed without the permission from the U.S. Navy.” This is in order to protect the graves, unexploded ordnance, or hazardous materials within the wreckage.

As for the Abner Read itself, it was towed back to Bremerton, Washington where a new stern was attached. The ship rejoined the fleet but was sunk in 1944 off the island of Samar, the victim of a Japanese bomber attack.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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