June 19, 2006

Finding Fathers

Nancy Kenney was 2 years old when she last saw her father. He never returned from his final mission aboard the submarine USS Lagarto during WWII. The boat was lost with all hands in the Gulf of Thailand in May, 1945. The wreckage was rediscovered only last year.

Navy divers on Friday completed a six-day survey of the wreckage site. They took photos and video of the 311-foot, 9-inch submarine for further analysis by naval archeologists.

The divers found twin 5-inch gun mounts on the forward and rear parts of the ship - a feature believed to be unique to the Lagarto.

They also saw the word "Manitowoc" displayed on the submarine's propeller, providing a connection to the Manitowoc, Wis., shipyard that built the Lagarto in the 1940s.

Eighty-six sailors died when the Lagarto sank in May 1945. The Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka reported dropping depth charges and sinking a U.S. sub in the area, though it was never known what ship it destroyed.

Ms. Kenney is relieved and at peace, because after 60 years she now knows where her father rests.

The Navy considers the sea to be a proper final resting place for "our people who are killed in action," according to a Navy spokesman. The wreck will not be disturbed.

That's one heck of a Father's Day present.

Posted by: Ted at 04:22 PM | category: History
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