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NOAA to Explore WWII Japanese Submarines Near Pearl Harbor

December 6, 2016, 8:37 AM HST · Updated December 6, 8:41 AM
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    On the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, maritime archaeologists and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will conduct a live dive of two Japanese mini submarines involved in the event.

    Live streaming will be available at http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/media/exstream/exstream.html.

    The team will be using a remotely operated vehicle from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to revisit the historic wrecksite and document its condition.

    The team with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, will join several deep-sea biologists in conducting interviews following the dive.

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    On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, US naval vessels and aircraft on patrol outside Pearl Harbor spotted a partially submerged submarine trying to enter the harbor, but alerts were not immediately sent. Ninety minutes before Pearl Harbor was bombed by air, the sub fired on the destroyer USS Ward which then fired back, sinking it. The event marks the first US shots fired and the country’s entry into WWII in the Pacific.

    The second submarine to be explored during the dive disappeared that morning before the attack. It was discovered in shallow waters in 1951, raised by the US Navy, and taken out to sea to be dumped in deeper water. In 1992, the University of Hawaiʻi’s Undersea Research Laboratory rediscovered it. It has been periodically visited by the university’s submersibles, the last time in 2013.

    Mounted on the after deck of the “mother” submarine I-24, mini submarine HA-19 is boarded by its crew, Kazuo Sakamaki and Kyoshi Inagaki, in the pre-dawn hours of December 7, 1941. (Painting by Tom W. Freeman, courtesy of Valor in the Pacific National Historical Park)

    Mounted on the after deck of the “mother” submarine I-24, mini submarine HA-19 is boarded by its crew, Kazuo Sakamaki and Kyoshi Inagaki, in the pre-dawn hours of December 7, 1941. (Painting by Tom W. Freeman, courtesy of Valor in the Pacific National Historical Park)

    The bow of the Ward mini submarine at the time of the discovery in 2002. Credit: University of Hawaii/HURL

    The bow of the Ward mini submarine at the time of the discovery in 2002. Credit: University of Hawaii/HURL

    The conning tower of the mini submarine sunk by the USS Ward Credit: University of Hawaiʻi/HURL

    The conning tower of the mini submarine sunk by the USS Ward Credit: University of Hawaiʻi/HURL

    The destroyers USS Ward (DD-139) and USS Chew (DD-106) visit Hilo on July 22, 1941. This is the configuration and the paint scheme Ward carried on December 7. Credit: Burl Burlingame

    The destroyers USS Ward (DD-139) and USS Chew (DD-106) visit Hilo on July 22, 1941. This is the configuration and the paint scheme Ward carried on December 7. Credit: Burl Burlingame

    Tom Freeman's painting of USS Ward sinking a mini submarine. Credit: National Park Service

    Tom Freeman’s painting of USS Ward sinking a mini submarine. Credit: National Park Service

    A plaque attached to the USS Ward gun lists the names of the gun crew and speaks to the gun's significance. Credit: James P. Delgado

    A plaque attached to the USS Ward gun lists the names of the gun crew and speaks to the gun’s significance. Credit: James P. Delgado

    The USS Ward gun on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol, 2015. Credit: James P. Delgado

    The USS Ward gun on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol, 2015. Credit: James P. Delgado

    USS Ward's gun crew pose at their weapon after the destroyer sank a mini submarine outside of Pearl Harbor and "fired the first shot" of the war in the Pacific. Credit: Naval History and Heritage Command NH 97446

    USS Ward’s gun crew pose at their weapon after the destroyer sank a mini submarine outside of Pearl Harbor and “fired the first shot” of the war in the Pacific.
    Credit: Naval History and Heritage Command NH 97446

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