Monday, June 26, 2006

Video: Remains Of USS Lagarto.


Navy Marine Corps News
June 24, 2006

Video: Remains Of USS Lagarto.


UK assured WWII-era wrecks will not be raised


The Nation
June 22, 2006

Phuket will not allow a private marine-supply company to salvage two British "human torpedoes" sunk during World War II from their resting place at the bottom of the ocean.

The small navy vessels have been there for more than six decades, and Phuket Governor Udomsak Asavarangura insists they will stay there, having discussed their future with the British Navy.

Udomsak said he had received a letter from the British ambassador asking the province to suppress any operations by East Marine SBS, who in April requested permission to salvage the "torpedoes", or Chariots, as they were known, which are believed to belong to Britain's Royal Navy.

Chariots, secret naval weapons commissioned during World War II, were electrically propelled mini-submarines that carried two crewmen, who sat astride the vessel. They steered it at slow speed towards an enemy ship, attached a mine to the ship, then rode the "torpedo" away. The Chariot was carried by another vessel, generally a manned submarine, and launched near the target.

Udomsak said the letter suggested the British Navy had no intention of allowing the private company to do anything with the sunken vessels.

He said the navy was concerned the "human torpedoes" might be damaged during the salvage process, transportation or when they were inevitably put on display.

"It prefers scuba divers to see the vessels on the sea floor," the governor said.

The letter also said that according to international law, sunken warships remain the property of the owner government.

The governor said the British government had the authority to stop their salvage.

"We also consulted with military diplomats, who said traditionally the British government did not recover sunken warships," Udomsak said.

These particular Chariots were sunk in action near Dok Mai Island. Records suggest the British submarine Trenchant carried two Mk-2 Chariots for a mission in Phuket harbour on October 27 and 28, 1944.

Udomsak said Phuket planned to develop the area where the two vessels are lying as a recreational dive spot.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Navy confirms location of missing submarine


The Register Guard
June 18, 2006

HONOLULU - For 60 years, Nancy Kenney wondered what happened to her father.

The submarine that William Mabin was in disappeared while he and his crewmates were on a mission to attack a Japanese convoy in the last months of World War II.

Now, the Navy says a wreck found at the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand appears to be the sub, the USS Lagarto.

''I have never in my life, unequivocally, felt such a high,'' said Kenney, who was 2 years old when her father and the submarine did not return from their mission in May 1945.

''We can just feel a sense of relief and a sense of peace in knowing what happened and where they are,'' said Kenney, of Lake Leelanau, Mich.

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.

The Navy sent its divers to examine the ship to provide the sailors' families with some answers after a British professional shipwreck diver last year found what looked like the Lagarto, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force.

''It was important to bring a sense of closure to these families and it was important to do it in a way that would honor our fellow submariners,'' Davis said.

The Navy wouldn't do anything with the ship even if it conclusively determined it was the Lagarto, considering the sea to be a proper final resting place for ''our people who are killed in action,'' he said.

The wreckage site more than 100 miles off the eastern coast of Thailand is also likely to go undisturbed. U.S. laws and international agreements already protect sunken U.S. warships from looters or others who would disturb the site.

Since Kenney was just a toddler when her father went to war, she has no conscious memories of their life in LaGrange, Ill. But she said news of the Navy's dive ''was the most important piece'' of a puzzle about her father that she's been trying to put together for six decades. The children of the Lagarto sailors feel closer to their fathers now more than ever, she said.

''We feel like we've found our fathers,'' Kenney said.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Naval Undersea Museum awarded ‘Exhibit of the Year’


Northwest Navigator
By Hodges Pone III
June 9, 2006

Photo by PHAN Samuel Renteria
The Service and Sacrifice: The Trident Family exhibit

won the 2006 Award of Exhibit Excellence from the
Washington Museum Association Awards of Excellence
Committee. It is currently display at the Naval Undersea
Museum, Keyport.

A Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport exhibit was recently announced as the winner of the 2006 Award of Exhibit Excellence from the Washington Museum Association (WMA) Awards of Excellence Committee. “Service and Sacrifice: The Trident Family,” was chosen over many other exhibits displayed throughout the state of Washington.

“The association gives this very prestigious award to one museum within the state of Washington and we are happy to receive it,” said Museum Director, Bill Galvani. “It is nice to win an award, but what really means a lot is the work weíve done to recognize trident-class submarine Sailors and their families has been effective.”

The Service and Sacrifice exhibit was a display which showed the experiences of the Sailors aboard submarines and their families while they are deployed. Various crews submitted items for display, including submarine warfare (SS) qualification sheets and a set of Navy-issue coveralls. Family members contributed pictures and a paper chain; which marked the days their loved ones were underway to the exhibit as well.

“The committee felt it was a worthy exhibit because of its content,” said WMA Awards and Scholarship Committee Chair, Lisa Hill-Festa. “It brought a humanistic element to the U.S. Navy as opposed to being just a technical display of a submarine. It was very informative and the public gets a better understanding of their (Sailors) lives as well as their families.”

This is the first time the museum has won the award. They submitted a package of the exhibit to the awards committee in Seattle, who selected the museum as the winner of this year’s competition.

“There are a lot of personal items in this exhibit that a museum wouldn’t normally have in their collection,” said Galvani. “It shows how important the support structure of the families and the servicemembers is. They are really one organization that is mutually supportive and most of the public has no idea about this.”

Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport will receive the award for the “Service and Sacrifice: The Trident Family” exhibit in a presentation held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24.