July 30, 2019 – The bow of WWII Submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) has been discovered in 2700 feet of water off the Aleutian Islands, Alaska by a team pioneering robotic ocean exploration. The ongoing WWII submarine discoveries lead by ocean explorer Tim Taylor are applying comprehensive 3D imaging pioneering a new frontier in ocean exploration.
The historic discovery was made utilizing a combination of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV’s) and advanced photogrammetry imaging. These ground breaking new technologies and methods are at the forefront of underwater business technology and forging a new frontier in subsea exploration.
The finding of the lost bow section of the USS Grunion completes a vital missing part of the puzzle and answers the questions posed on many expeditions undertaken 13 years ago by John, Bruce and Brad Abele, sons of the USS Grunions captain, Mannert L. Abele, USNA class of 1926. Mr. Taylor states, “I am honored to add to the discovery that was accomplished by the Abele bothers.”
USS Grunion was a Gato-class submarine commissioned on April 11, 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele. On her way through the Caribbean to her first posting in Pearl Harbor, she rescued 16 survivors from USAT Jack, which had been torpedoed by a U-boat. Her first war patrol was, unfortunately, her last. Sent to the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, she operated off Kiska, Alaska, where she sank two Japanese patrol boats. Ordered back to the naval operating base in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on July 30th, the submarine was never heard from again. She was declared overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands-on October 5th, 1942. She is the final resting place for 70 Sailors.
The project is taking the large data sets collected on their discoveries and having them processed into amazing 3D archaeological photogrammetry models. This scientific approach extracts geometric information from equipment that is already integrated in most of the modern underwater remote filming systems, advancing imagery collection into high-quality 3D data sets that will be used in archaeological research, historical archives, virtual and augmented reality, and educational programs and applications.
“This goes so far past video or still imagery, it truly is the future of recording historical underwater discoveries. Spending minimal time on site collecting a comprehensive 3D historical baseline model allows archaeologists and historians to spend months back home performing detailed research,” states Taylor. who coordinates his discoveries with the Naval History and Heritage Command.
“Our mission at the Naval History and Heritage Command is to make certain the memory of our Sailors’ service will always be remembered, honored and valued. As Tim Taylor, and others like him, discover the final resting place for our lost Sailors, they help to carry out that mission,” said Robert S. Neyland, Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch Head. “We are grateful for the respectful, non-intrusive work he performs and the closure he brings to their families, their shipmates, and to the Navy.”
The USS Grunion expedition is part of the ongoing “Lost 52 Project” supported in part by STEP Ventures and has been recognized by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) as the first and most comprehensive offshore underwater archaeological expedition in Japanese waters.
Mr. Taylor proudly states that the “Lost 52 Project honors the men, their memory and their mission”. This expedition marks the fourth WWII Submarine discovery by Tim Taylor, CEO of Tiburon Subsea – founder of Ocean Outreach, Inc. based in New York City.