TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The USS Grayback went missing over 75 years ago, with 80 sailors aboard. The sunken World War II submarine was feared lost at sea, never to be discovered.
On Sunday, that changed. A group that specializes in finding lost ships, Lost 52 Project, announced they found the Grayback back in June, off the shores of Okinawa, Japan.
The lost Tambor class sub sailed out of Pearl Harbor on January 28th, 1944, for its 10th combat patrol. Two months later, she was feared lost along with those 80 sailors including 3 from Kansas:
- Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class, Wilbur Edward Campbell of Topeka
- Yeoman, Second Class, Vance Edward Davis of Olathe
- Executive Officer, Lt. Jesse Hamilton Stewart of Arkansas City
The search for the Grayback sparked when an amateur researcher in Japan discovered a mistake in his country’s history books. The researcher found that latitude and longitude were off by a single digit, meaning the search for the sub was off by about 100 miles.
Tim Taylor, who heads the Lost 52 Project told The New York Times his team was "elated" by the discovery. "But it's also sobering, because we just found 80 men," he said.
The Navy says the Grayback was one of the most successful submarines during WWII, sinking a total of 14 ships.
All three Kansas sailors were awarded the Purple Heart for their service. XO Hamilton was also awarded the Silver Star, according to Navy records.