USS Mannert L. Abele, found

The only warship named for CDR Mannert Lincoln “Jim” Abele (USNA 1926), a posthumous Navy Cross-earning submarine skipper who was thought to have bagged three Japanese destroyers in a single day before disappearing with his command (USS Grunion, SS-216) off Alaska in 1942, the Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) was laid down at Bath in Maine in late 1943, sponsored by his widow, Catharine, and commissioned at Boston Navy Yard, on Independence Day 1944.

USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 1 August 1944, soon after commissioning. She is wearing Camouflage Measure 32, Design 11A. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog #: NH 46646

Our destroyer soon transited to the Pacific and was part of Kelly Turner’s Task Force (TF) 51 off Iwo Jima and later Okinawa, where, unfortunately, she was the first U.S. warship sunk by a Japanese suicide rocket bomb– the same day Franklin Roosevelt passed.

One of these, as seen at the Pima Air and Space Museum (Photo: Chris Eger)

As noted by NHHC:

On April 12, 1945, Mannert L. Abele was operating 75 miles off the northern coast of Okinawa, when enemy aircraft appeared on radar. Mannert L. Abele engaged with, and damaged, multiple enemy aircraft, until eventually an aircraft managed to crash abreast of the after-fireroom on the starboard side, penetrating the after-engine room. A minute later, the ship was hit at the waterline by a Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) rocket-powered human-guided bomb, and the resulting explosion caused the ship’s bow and stern to buckle rapidly.

Now, the NHHC has confirmed the identity of a wreck site located in Japanese waters as USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) on 25 May.

NHHC’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) used information provided by Tim Taylor, an ocean explorer and CEO of Tiburon Subsea, and Taylor’s “Lost 52 Project” team to confirm the identity of the destroyer.

WWII Sumner Class Destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele multi-beam sonar 4500 feet deep offshore Okinawa Japan (Lost 52 Project)

WWII Sumner Class Destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele Bow Hull Number 733. (Lost 52)

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, U.S. Navy rear admiral (retired). “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.”

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