Despite being outgunned, the Sammy B attacked a fleet of imperial Japanese navy ships led by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, before sinking under fire in the Philippine Sea, earning it a description as “the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship. ” Among its 224 crew members, 89 were killed.
“This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end,” Vescovo said on Twitterwhere he shared underwater video of parts of the Sammy B’s stern.
According to Samuel J. Cox, a retired admiral and director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, the Sammy B’s commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. Robert Copeland, said he was honored to lead his men in a battle in which they faced “overwhelming odds.”
“This site is a hallowed war grave, and serves to remind all Americans of the great cost borne by previous generations for the freedom we take for granted today,” Cox said in the statement.
In June, the expedition team conducted six dives over eight days in its search for the Sammy B, as well as the escort carrier USS Gambier Bay, using what Caladan Oceanic says is the deepest side-scan sonar ever installed and operated on a submersible.
“Using a combination of detective work and innovative technology, everyone has pulled together to reveal the final resting place of this tenacious ship,” Kelvin Murray of EYOS Expeditions said.
The wreck of the Gambier Bay has yet to be found.
CORRECTION (June 28, 2022, 8:14 am ET): The headline and text of a previous version of this article incorrectly described the USS Samuel B. Roberts. She it was a destroyer escort, not a destroyer.