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World War II-Era Wreckage Found in Philippine Sea

Friday, November 1, 2019

USS Johnston DestroyerSEATTLE, WASHINGTON—U.S. Naval Institute News reports that wreckage discovered under more than 20,000 feet of water in the Philippine Sea may be all that is left of the USS Johnston. The wreckage was found by a team of researchers from Vulcan Inc., a company founded by the late philanthropist Paul Allen. The Fletcher-class destroyer, which bore the hull number DD-557, sank during the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944, when four Japanese battleships surprised the Johnston and other U.S. ships supporting troop landings as part of the invasion of the island of Leyte. Only 141 men of the Johnston’s crew of 327 survived the battle. The wreckage includes unidentifiable pieces of twisted metal, a destroyed gun deck, and a propeller shaft. Robert Neyland of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch said the team members would need to find a portion of the hull bearing the Johnston’s identification number or name, or personal effects of the crew, to identify the ship, since another Fletcher-class destroyer, the USS Hoel (DD-533), was also in the area at the time of the battle. “There was a lot of confusion in that battle,” Neyland explained. To read about one of the most brutal battles of World War II, go to "Place of the Loyal Samurai."

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