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US Navy confirms discovery of sub Wahoo

The Navy has confirmed that a sunken submarine recently discovered by divers in the Western Pacific near by Sakhalin Island is the World War II submarine USS Wahoo, lost more than 60 years ago.

"After reviewing the records and information, we are certain USS Wahoo has been located," said Adm. Gary Roughead, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander at Pearl Harbor, on Tuesday. "We are grateful for the support of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and appreciate greatly the underwater video footage of the submarine provided by our Russian navy colleagues, which allowed us to make this determination.

"This brings closure to the families of the men of Wahoo - one of the greatest fighting submarines in the history of the U.S. Navy."

The Wahoo was last heard from Sept. 13, 1943, as the Gato-class submarine departed Midway Island en route to the Sea of Japan (East Sea) under strict radio silence. Radio contact was expected to be regained in late October. No such contact was made. Following an aerial search of the area, Wahoo was officially reported missing Nov. 9, 1943.

Japanese reports later stated that one of its planes had spotted an American submarine in the La Perouse Strait Oct. 11, 1943. These reports indicate a sea and air attack involving depth charges and aerial bombs that finally sunk the Wahoo.

In July, the Russian dive team "Iskra" photographed wreckage in about 213 feet of water in the La Perouse Strait between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin.

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force retired Vice Adm. Kazuo Ueda assisted the group with providing historical records from the Imperial Japanese Navy that identified the location where Wahoo was sunk.

The discovery of the Wahoo is the culmination of more than a decade of work by an international team dedicated to finding the submarine. In 2004, electronic surveys sponsored by the Sakhalin Energy Investment Corporation identified the likely site.

The Bowfin Museum in Hawai'i worked with the team as an independent "scrutineer" to ensure the project was done correctly and will serve as a central repository for all the Wahoo Project's findings, said museum executive director, submariner, and retired Navy Capt. Jerry Hofwolt.

Officials with the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force reviewed analysis and photos provided by the Bowfin Museum and agreed the wreck is the Wahoo. The wreck had several characteristics consistent with Wahoo, and the submarine was found very near those reported in Imperial Japanese Navy records.

The Navy has no plans to salvage or enter the Wahoo wreck. Naval tradition has long held that the sea is a fitting final resting place for sailors lost at sea.

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