Hero of Our Past: The Expedition Finds Long-Lost WWII Ship Sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy

Recently a significant World War II relic has been found.

Off the coast of the Philippines Wednesday, Texas underwater exploration company Caladan Oceanic — along with the UK’s EYOS Expeditions — came upon a near-79-year-old American ship broken in two.

There beneath nearly 23,000 feet of ocean lay the wreckage of the USS Samuel B. Roberts I (DE-413) — otherwise known as the “Sammy B.”

Per the Naval History and Heritage Command, the ship “was laid down on 6 December 1943, at Houston, Texas, by Brown Shipbuilding Co.” It was launched on the following January 20th.

The U.S. Navy destroyer escort fought the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of Samar during the Battle of Leyte Gulf’s final phase. This was Japan’s most significant conflict at sea and resulted in its largest loss of ships. As part of liberation of the Philippines, U.S. troops invaded Leyte earlier.

From Phys.org:

According to some records, the [Sammy B] disabled a Japanese heavy cruiser with a torpedo and significantly damaged another while battling the group led by the command battleship Yamato. It was hit hard by the battleship Kongo, and it sank after having used almost all of its ammunition. Of a 224-man crew, 89 died and 120 were saved, including the captain, Lt. Cmdr. Robert W. Copeland.

According to Samuel J. Cox (retired admiral, naval historian), Copeland said that there is “no greater honor” than to have led men against all odds to fight in battle.

“This is a war grave, Cox stated. It serves as a reminder to all Americans about the high cost of freedoms taken by the previous generation .”

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The Sammy B is the deepest wreck ever discovered, sitting 1,400 feet below the USS Johnston. Victor Vescovo, founder of Caladan Oceanic, also found the vessel in the Philippine Sea.

Via a statement, Victor — himself a former Navy commander — expressed humility toward the Sammy B’s discovery:

” It was an incredible honor to find this famous ship. And by doing so, I have had the opportunity to tell her story of duty and heroism to people who might not be aware of their sacrifice. It’s crucial to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms, and the way we live, even in difficult situations. I always remain in awe of the extraordinary bravery of those who fought in this battle agains truly overwhelming odds – and won””

Watch the amazing footage below:

With sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, I piloted the submersible Limiting Factor to the wreck of the Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413). Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed. This was the “destroyer-escort” that battled like a battleship. pic.twitter.com/VjNVERdTxh

— Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo) June 24, 2022

Part of the dive from the Sammy B. Her bow appears to have hit the seafloor hard, which caused some buckling. The wreck also had her stern separated by 5 meters after impact. However, the entire thing was intact. The small vessel was able to take on the best of the Japanese Navy and fight them until the very end. pic.twitter.com/fvi6uB0xUQ

— Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo) June 24, 2022

Additional photos taken by the Sammy B. The bow, the mast that fell, the space between the fore- and aft sides where she was struck by a battleship round and the aft tower. . . where the brave, mortally wounded GM3 Paul H. Carr was killed trying to insert a final round in the broken breech. pic.twitter.com/3VcZoZyPo3

— Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo) June 25, 2022

Of course, when we look into the abyss we also see into the past. The men who sailed on and fought from the Sammy B wouldn’t recognize 2022’s America.

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They would not, however, be able to identify the Navy at this time.

Much has changed since the ship left the surface in October 1944.

In the last few years, America’s military has completely changed its form.

Report: Navy says Sailors can use whatever locker room suits their gender identity

Soldiers May be Allowed to Transfer from States that Don’t Confirm their Gender Identities

US Army Mandates Helping Soldiers Get Rid of Their Sexual Selves ‘Assigned At Birth ‘

Military generals call for increased diversity, encourage more women to combat

US Army Revises Its Fitness Standards, so that Girls can Pass

Nevada Air Force Base hosts a Drag Show. It is part of a Softer and Gentler Military

Although it is said that no one can prepare for war fully, the Sammy B men were undoubtedly more prepared than today’s youth.

For a long time, Americans believed that the military would make them tough.

I’m not sure that this idea will survive. It’s similar to the Sammy B.

How amazing is the USS Samuel B. Roberts. And for friends and families of 89 brave sailors, may the discovery of their last battle site bring something resembling peace.

From NBC News , a shout to the old-school heroes:

Despite being outgunned, the Sammy B attacked [the Japanese fleet]…before sinking under fire in the Philippine Sea, earning it a description as “the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship.”

-ALEX

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