USS Grunion Found: Boston Scientific Founder and Brothers Locate Father’s Lost WWII Sub in Aleutians

8/24/07Follow @bbuderi

The blogosphere and newswires are alive this morning with news that a team led by brothers John, Bruce, and Brad Abele have located their father’s submarine, the USS Grunion, which had been lost in the Aleutians during World War II.

The following notice appears on the Grunion blog: “Just got the first set of 8 Grunion photos. Submariners, we would appreciate your analysis and comments.” The photos it mentions are here.

John Abele is a founder of Boston Scientific (and an Xconomist). Last summer, in part by using clues gleaned from Japanese records, he and his brothers launched a hunt for the Grunion. About a mile down in the Aleutian chain, they located an object that appeared to be the right size and shape for the vessel. According to the Grunion‘s website, “they were able to locate the three Japanese wrecks in the area so it seems unlikely that there is confusion between wrecks.”

The Grunion, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Mannert L. Abele, left Pearl Harbor for Aleutian theater patrol duty on June 20, 1942. Again according to the website:

“On 10 July GRUNION was reassigned to the area north of Kiska. GRUNION made her first report on 15 July: Dutch Harbor received her message that, attacked by an enemy destroyer, she had fired three torpedoes at it, and missed with all.

Shortly after this message was received GRUNION sent another relating that she had sunk three destroyer-type vessels on 15 July. This message was garbled to the extent that details of the attacks were never learned (Japanese information reveals that GRUNION sank patrol boats 25 and 27 and damaged a third patrol vessel).

On July 28, the account continues:

“GRUNION reported an attack on unidentified enemy ships six miles southeast of Sirius Point, Kiska. She had fired two torpedoes, made no hits, and been depth charged, but sustained no damage.

GRUNION’s last transmission was received 30 July 1942. She reported heavy antisubmarine activity at the entrance to Kiska, and that she had ten torpedoes remaining.”

John Abele told us he was heading out on Sunday to resume the hunt. We are still trying to get through. In the meantime, we heard a report on NPR this morning, confirming the find.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • Nancy Walser

    This is a fascinating tale with so many layers: technological and human. Thanks for the links to the Grunion blog and website, too. The Abele brothers are real heroes.
    Nancy