The US Destroyer Warship USS Mannert L. Abele, which was sunken by a Japanese kamikaze bomb in April of 1945, was discovered by archaeologists in Japanese waters this week, according to a Thursday statement by the US Navy.
The ship was found by Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) Underwater Archaeology Branch in cooperation with the Lost 52 Project.
84 US sailors had lost their lives during the battle, which the father of one of the Lost 52 Project archaeologists had witnessed first-hand, the Lost 52 Project said on their website.
“My father came close to the same fate of the crew of the Abele just days earlier. This was a very emotive discovery for me. Connecting me to my father,” said Tim Taylor, on the Lost 52 Project's website.
The Mannert L. Abele’s place in naval history
The ship was the first US vessel to have been taken down by a human-guided kamikaze bomb. It was sunk 75 miles from the northern coast of Okinawa.
Witnesses to the event said that it looked like the ship had split in two and had been lost within three minutes of the battle, according to Lost 52 Project.
The Mannert L. Abele had engaged with multiple enemy aircrafts and successfully downed one of them. The downed aircraft crashed into the ship, shortly after it exploded from a Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka "Cherry Blossom" rocket-powered human-guided bomb.
“Mannert L. Abele is the final resting place for 84 American Sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, retired US Navy rear admiral. “My deepest thanks and congratulations to Tim Taylor and his team for discovering this wreck site. Its discovery allows some closure to the families of those lost, and provides us all another opportunity to remember and honor them.”