Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

5:17pm, 25th February, 2019
The R/V Petrel team monitors the USS Strong survey operation on the floor of the Kula Gulf in the Solomon Sea. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) The USS Strong put in less than a year of service at sea, but the destroyer and its crew nevertheless earned a place of honor in the U.S. Navy’s history of World War II. Now the Strong’s legacy is once again in the spotlight, thanks to the shipwreck’s discovery by the research vessel Petrel. The R/V Petrel’s expedition team, supported by the late Seattle billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc., found the wreckage on Feb. 6, lying 1,000 feet deep on the floor of the Kula Gulf, north of New Georgia in the Solomon Sea. The latest find adds to the Petrel’s long list of World War II shipwreck discoveries, including the USS Indianapolis, the USS Lexington, the USS Juneau, the USS Helena and the USS Hornet. “With each ship we are find and survey, it is the human stories that make each one personal,” Robert Kraft, expedition lead and director of subsea operations for the Petrel. “We need to remember and honor our history and its heroes, living and dead. We need to bring their spirit to life and be grateful every day for the sacrifices made by so many on our behalf.” The Strong put out to sea for the first time in 1942, and during the first half of 1943, it conducted anti-submarine patrols and supported naval mining operations around the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides and Guadalcanal in the Pacific. Its final battle came on July 5, 1943, when the Strong was sent to shell Japanese shore installations to provide cover for the landing of American forces at Rice Anchorage on the coast of New Georgia. During the engagement, the destroyer was struck on the port side by a Japanese torpedo fired at long range. One of the Strong’s crew members, Donald Regan, recalled that the force of the strike “knocked me off my feet.” In the minutes that followed the blast, most of the Strong’s crew scrambled over nets to a neighboring destroyer, the USS Chevalier, while the USS O’Bannon provided cover. But the rescue operation had to be suspended due to heavy enemy fire. Forty-six of the 280 crew members were lost, and some of the survivors were marooned for days. One of the most harrowing tales focuses on Lt. Hugh Miller, who spent 39 days stranded on Arundel Island. While marooned, Miller attacked three Japanese machine-gun emplacements and one enemy patrol. His exploits earned him the Navy Cross and the central role in a book titled “The Castaway’s War.” “While the loss of Strong and 46 of her sailors was tragic, it’s also an inspirational moment in the history of our Navy,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, said in a statement. “If you need examples of sailor integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness when great-power competition heats up, you can’t go wrong reading the “
Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 77 years after sinking

Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 77 years after sinking

11:41am, 12th February, 2019
This 5-inch gun is part of the wreckage from the historic USS Hornet. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) Chalk up another historic shipwreck discovery for the , the research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen: This time it’s the , the World War II aircraft carrier that was sunk by Japanese forces in 1942. The Hornet is best-known as the launching point for the , the first airborne attack on the Japanese home islands after Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war. Led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, the raid in April 1942 provided a boost to American morale and put Japan on alert about our covert air capabilities. Two months later, the Hornet was one of three U.S. carriers that surprised and sunk four Japanese carriers during the tide-turning Battle of Midway. The Hornet was lost near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Oct. 26, 1942, during the Battle of Santa Cruz. The carrier weathered a withering barrage from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes — but the crew eventually had to abandon ship, leaving the Hornet to its sinking. About 140 of the Hornet’s nearly 2,200 sailors and air crew members were lost.. “With the loss of Hornet and serious damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command, . “About half the Japanese aircraft engaged were shot down by greatly improved U.S. Navy anti-aircraft defenses. As a result, the Japanese carriers did not engage again in battle for almost another two years.” The Petrel took on the search for the Hornet as part of its mission to investigate scientific phenomena and historical mysteries in the South Pacific. The 250-foot research vessel’s previous shipwreck finds include the USS , the USS , the USS and the . The ship’s latest expedition took place in January,. “We had Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as an aircraft carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” said Robert Kraft, who heads the Petrel project as director of subsea operations for Vulcan. “Paul Allen was particularly interested in historically significant and capital ships, so this mission and discovery honor his legacy.” The Petrel’s 10-person expedition team zeroed in on the Hornet’s position by piecing together data from national and naval archives that included official deck logs and action reports from other ships engaged in the battle. Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. The discovery of the Hornet was made during the first dive mission of the Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle, at a depth of nearly 17,500 feet, and confirmed by video footage from the research ship’s remotely operated vehicle. , a 95-year-old California resident who was a gunner on the Hornet, and showed him video of the aft gun that he operated. “I used to stand on the right side of that gun, and that’s where my equipment was,” Nowatzki said. “If you go down to my locker, there’s 40 bucks in it. You can have it.” That might be tough: The precise location of the wreck is not being disclosed, to protect the underwater gravesite from being disturbed any further.
Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 76 years after sinking

Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 76 years after sinking

11:10am, 12th February, 2019
This 5-inch gun is part of the wreckage from the historic USS Hornet. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) Chalk up another historic shipwreck discovery for the , the research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen: This time it’s the , the World War II aircraft carrier that was sunk by Japanese forces in 1943. The Hornet is best-known as the launching point for the , the first airborne attack on the Japanese home islands after Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war. Led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, the raid in April 1942 provided a boost to American morale and put Japan on alert about our covert air capabilities. Two months later, the Hornet was one of three U.S. carriers that surprised and sunk four Japanese carriers during the tide-turning Battle of Midway. The Hornet was lost near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Oct. 26, 1943, during the Battle of Santa Cruz. The carrier weathered a withering barrage from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes — but the crew eventually had to abandon ship, leaving the Hornet to its sinking. About 140 of the Hornet’s nearly 2,200 sailors and air crew members were lost.. “With the loss of Hornet and serious damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command, . “About half the Japanese aircraft engaged were shot down by greatly improved U.S. Navy anti-aircraft defenses. As a result, the Japanese carriers did not engage again in battle for almost another two years.” The Petrel took on the search for the Hornet as part of its mission to investigate scientific phenomena and historical mysteries in the South Pacific. The 250-foot research vessel’s previous shipwreck finds include the USS , the USS , the USS and the . The ship’s latest expedition took place in January,. “We had Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as an aircraft carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” said Robert Kraft, who heads the Petrel project as director of subsea operations for Vulcan. “Paul Allen was particularly interested in historically significant and capital ships, so this mission and discovery honor his legacy.” The Petrel’s 10-person expedition team zeroed in on the Hornet’s position by piecing together data from national and naval archives that included official deck logs and action reports from other ships engaged in the battle. Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. The discovery of the Hornet was made during the first dive mission of the Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle, at a depth of nearly 17,500 feet, and confirmed by video footage from the research ship’s remotely operated vehicle. CBS News caught up with Richard Nowatzki, a 95-year-old California resident who was a gunner on the Hornet, and showed him video of the aft gun that he operated. “I used to stand on the right side of that gun, and that’s where my equipment was,” Nowatzki told CBS. “If you go down to my locker, there’s 40 bucks in it. You can have it.” That might be tough: The precise location of the wreck is not being disclosed, to protect the underwater gravesite from being disturbed any further.