A US Navy destroyer sunk over 76 years ago has been found in “the deepest wreck dive in history.”
USS Johnston, led by Captain Ernest Evans, sank in October 1944 after tasking US landing forces in the Philippines to protect a US landing force in the Philippines from a massive line of Japanese warships, according to records of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
The battle of WWII ultimately led to American victory, but only after more than 2,600 casualties on both sides. Nearly 190 crew members of Johnston’s 327 died – including Evans, the first Native American in the Navy to receive a Medal of Honor posthumously.
The destroyed ship lay on the ocean floor, over 20,000 feet, until it was discovered in the Philippine Sea in 2019.
The NHHC then assessed the wreck as “likely the Johnston based on relative location,” but was uncertain whether the vessel was the Johnston or the Hoel, which had features identified on the wreck, according to the statement. hurry.
Dive crews had not been able to reach it for a close examination, in part because of its depth – it is about 60% deeper in the water than the RMS Titanic.
“I just finished the deepest wreck dive in history, to find the main wreckage of the destroyer USS Johnston,” tweeted Caladan Oceanic founder and pilot Victor Vescovo, a former naval officer.
“We located the front 2/3 of the ship, upright and intact, at a depth of 6456 meters [21,180 feet]. Three of us through two dives inspected the ship and paid tribute to its brave crew. “
The expedition found the bow, deck and midsection of the Johnston intact, as well as two full gun turrets, two torpedo racks and several gun mounts and the hull number “557” still visible, according to the statement by Caladan on the dive.
At 20,000 feet, there is little oxygen, so the ship has not deteriorated like it would in shallower water, Vescovo explained on Twitter, also tweeting a video of the sinking.
All depth sounder data, images and field notes collected during the dives will be forwarded to the US Navy for dissemination and further research.
“We used data from the US and Japanese accounts and, as is often the case, the research brings history to life. Reading the accounts of the Johnston’s last day is humbling and should be preserved as one with the highest traditions of the navy. It was a deadly fight against incredible obstacles, ”said naval historian Parks Stephenson.