The Search for the Grunion, A 60 Year Old Mystery
Early in the morning of July 31st 1942 about 10 miles NE of a Japanese occupied island at the far tip of the Aleutians there was a confrontation between a U S Submarine, the Grunion, and a Japanese freighter. The sub was never heard from again. For over a half a century our Navy knew nothing of the confrontation and carried the fate of the submarine and its 70 occupants on its books as “missing in action, cause unknownâ€œ.
Sixty years later due to the efforts of Yutaka Iwasaki , an interpreter and WWII Japanese navy buff, the probable location and account of that confrontation have become known. Yutaka discovered and translated (in itself quite a story) an article written in an obscure Japanese maritime magazine by the “Superintendent” of the Japanese freighter.
The sons of Mannert L Abele, the commander of the sub, have just enlisted the help of Williamson Associates to do, this August, a side scan sonar search to determine what happened. It wonâ€™t be a picnic. This area is known for some of the worst weather in the world and the sub is almost a mile down.
The plan, which can cover as much as 800 sq miles, may attempt to locate other American and Japanese targets.
USS Mannert L Abele may also be familiar to some as the destroyer that was sunk in 1945 while in picket duty off Okinawa from a combination of between 20 to 30 kamikazes and a rocket driven suicide bomb.