WWII ship USS Samuel B. Roberts found, is deepest wreck identified

The USS Samuel B. Roberts sank in 1942 during Battle of Samar in which it contributed against significantly more powerful ships.

 USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts (photo credit: GetArchive)
USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts
(photo credit: GetArchive)

The sunken USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts (a.k.a the Sammy B) was found last week off the island of Samar in the Philippines at a depth of 6,895 meters, making it the deepest shipwreck ever identified and surveyed, according to EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic who found the ship. 

The wreck was found by founder of Caladan Oceanic and explorer Victor Vescovo together with sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet. The two found the Sammy B in two pieces which were lying 10 meters apart on the ocean floor.

Locating the wreck took a series of six dives over the course of eight days. Because historical records did not provide an accurate spot, the expedition team utilized a combination of historical research and a variety of sonar technology.

The destroyer that fought like a battleship

Sammy B was a key part of the Battle of Samar between the US Navy and the Japanese fleet in October of 1942. The battle was part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is considered the biggest naval battle in history.

 The Battle of Samar, 1942 (credit: GetArchive) The Battle of Samar, 1942 (credit: GetArchive)

Although the ship was far outmatched by the warships in the Japanese fleet, Captain Robert W. Copeland took Sammy B into the battle and managed to cause great damage to two far more powerful Japanese cruisers, however it did not survive the battle and 89 of its 224 man crew were killed when it sank.

Sammy B's contribution to the battle helped the US win the battle, and the ship came to be known as "the destroyer that fought like a battleship."

“It was an extraordinary honor to locate this incredibly famous ship, and by doing so, have the chance to retell her story of heroism and duty to those who may not know of the ship and her crew’s sacrifice," said Vescovo. "In difficult times, it’s important to reflect on those who sacrificed so much, so willingly, in even more difficult times to ensure our freedoms and way of life.”

“I always remain in awe of the extraordinary bravery of those who fought in this battle against truly overwhelming odds – and won”

Founder of Caladan Oceanic Victor Vescovo

“As ever, there’s been an incredible and dedicated effort by the whole team – the ship’s crew, sub team, historians and other specialists," said expedition leader Kelvin Murray.

"Using a combination of detective work and innovative technology, everyone has pulled together to reveal the final resting place of this tenacious ship.  It’s been a challenging, thrilling and poignant expedition, one that recognizes the ships and sailors from all nations who fought so hard during this battle.  We are all proud of what has been achieved and humbled by what we witnessed.”