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Jan-01-2009 15:16printcommentsVideo

Discovery of Lost WWII Navy Submarine Brings 70 U.S. Families Closure (VIDEO)

The sub was found a mile down, resting on the slope of an underwater volcano 12 miles north of Kiska Island at the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

wreckage of the missing submarine USS Grunion
What appears to be a skull at first glance, is wreckage of the missing submarine USS Grunion. Photo: YouTube

(SALEM, Ore.) - Three brothers who worked tirelessly to locate the missing WWII submarine that contains the remains of their father, had a significant breakthrough with the location of the missing U.S. Navy sub "Grunion".

Sub Commander "Jim" Abele

Sometimes, thanks largely in part to today's technology, the most amazing and elusive mysteries are solved. This spectacular find off the tip of the Aleutian Chain brings closure to over 70 American families who lost someone aboard the Grunion when it was lost August 16th, 1942.

NBC's Bob Dotson presented the story in a way that only he can; it is published below.

He explains that Lt. Cmdr. Jim Abele was the commander the Navy USS Grunion that disappeared off the coast of Alaska during World War II.

The search that led to the discovery of the sub was a long journey with many ups and downs. Dotson said seven years ago, Jim Abele's sons made a deal with their hearts and went looking for him. It was an expensive undertaking to say the least.

The military sent planes out to search for some sign of what happened to the Grunion after it went missing during WWII, but they had no success.

60 years passed, and Jim Abele's sons never forgot that they grew up without having had a chance to say goodbye to their dad. Military secrecy denied their opportunity for a last hug, kiss and the chance to see him off.

This lack of closure appears to have stayed with these brothers. Their mother earned a living teaching violin lessons and she never remarried. Jim Abele, along with the boys, had been her life.

In August 2006, an expedition led by Williamson & Associates onboard the ship Aquila, relayed sonar images to Bruce Abele. The images depicted a "smooth, oblong object with features that could be a conning tower and periscope mast."

The sub was found in a mile of water, resting on the slope of an underwater volcano 12 miles north of Kiska. Kiska is an island at the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

It took a while, but on October 3rd, 2008, the Navy confirmed that the sunken vessel is that of the USS Grunion.

The USS Grunion before her loss in 1942

Dotson reports that the Abele brothers' big break came from a historical account discovered by a Japanese historian. The document was an account of the Grunion's last battle, and it said the USS Grunion was lost during a confrontation with a cargo ship.

"The Japanese freighter's crew spotted two torpedoes bubbling toward them. The first one missed. The second one hit."

That torpedo exploded and stopped the freighter's engine. Reportedly terrified, the Japanese seamen began firing a deck gun at the American sub and 84 rounds were fired.

The Grunion began to surface, "There was a dull ‘thud’ noise and a little spout — presumably oil, we don't know," said John Abele.

The three brothers who solved the mystery of
the USS Grunion. Courtesy: Readers Digest

Dotson said that is when their dad's sub slid into history's shadows. Seventy men were never heard from again.

The Navy says the Grunion reported heavy anti-submarine activity at the entrance to Kiska, and that it had 10 torpedoes remaining forward.

On the same day, the Grunion was directed to return to Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base.

The submarine was officially reported lost August 16, 1942, according to Naval records.

A memorial service, arranged by family members, was held on October 11th in Cleveland at the USS Cod, for the 70 lost souls.

A video presentation of that ceremony is located below the Bob Dotson report along with several other videos retelling the story of the USS Grunion and her crew.

Here is the link to the Wikipedia article on the USS Grunion.


USS Grunion

Here is Bob Dotson's special NBC report on the discovery of the USS Grunion:


Family Ceremony for sailors aboard the USS Grunion

This is the video of the ceremony laying to rest 70 men who were aboard the USS Grunion. Special thanks to YouTube user SandyRosePhotography

Search for the USS Grunion - Update 1

Aug. 7th, 2006 - First video post. Scenes from the Aquila, the search vessel in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Special thanks to YouTube user NewMania

Search for the USS Grunion - Update 2

Video of the Search for the lost WWII Submarine, USS Grunion. Special thanks to YouTube user NewMania

Navy recognizes U.S.S. Grunion

A family member of the crew recently located the bell of the U.S.S. Grunion. It was removed before battle to lose weight. After the U.S.S. Grunion disappeared, the bell was found in a Dumpster at the Pearl Harbor Navy base around the time of the Korean War. A man by the name of Rev. Noonan brought the bell to Greenville, Miss., where unbeknownst to him, a descendant of a crewmember was living. Special thanks to YouTube user MetroChannel- video by Chrissie Long

The Search for the USS Grunion A Family Rediscovers its Past

A talk about the search for the USS Grunion Special thanks to YouTube user NewMania

Today Show USS Grunion

The Today Show aired September 21,2008. Update on the USS Grunion.

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, embedded with the Oregon Guard's 41st Brigade Combat Team. Tim spent several weeks in Iraq over the summer of 2008, covering the war there while embedded with the Oregon Guard 2/641 aviation unit. Tim has received several awards for news reporting and photography including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others. Serving Oregon in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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