Last week, a former U.S. Navy officer and ocean explorer helped find the wreck of USS Samuel B. Roberts, a U.S. Navy destroyer that engaged with the Japanese fleet in waters near the Philippines during World War II.
On Sunday, Navy veteran Victor Vescovo, founder of Dallas-based Caladan Oceanic Expeditions, posted video of the wreck on Twitter, referring to the sunken ship as the “Sammy B.”
“Another video from the survey dive on the Sammy B. This one is from the starboard side near the bridge and forward gun mounts. We kept our distance because we spotted potentially live shells in the 40mm gun, and later towards the stern, depth charges still in their racks,” Vescovo tweeted.
According to PHYS.org, the Sammy B. was found on Wednesday broken in two at a depth of 6,985 meters (22,916 feet) making it the deepest wreck ever discovered. The previous record was held by the USS Johnston, which was found last year in the Philippine Sea at 6,559 meters (21,516 feet).
“Some additional photos from the Sammy B. The bow, the fallen mast, the gap between fore and aft where she was hit by a battleship round, and the aft turret . . . where the brave and mortally wounded GM3 Paul H. Carr died trying to place a final round into the broken breech,” Vescovo tweeted with additional photos of the wreck.
The Sammy B. was sunk during the Battle of Samar in October 1944. Records show that the destroyer managed to disable a Japanese heavy cruiser and caused significant damage to another ship before being critically hit, PHYS.org reported. The Sammy B.’s crew suffered 89 losses during the battle, but 120 crew members were saved, including the ship’s captain, Lt. Cmdr. Robert. W. Copeland.
Retired Admiral and naval historian Samuel J. Cox said Copeland declared there was “no higher honor” than serving with the brave men on the Sammy B.
“This site is a hallowed war grave, and serves to remind all Americans of the great cost born by previous generations for the freedom we take for granted today,” Cox said in a statement.
“Part of the dive on the Sammy B. It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling. Her stern also separated about 5 meters on impact, but the whole wreck was together. This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end,” Vescovo tweeted.
In a statement, Vescovo said it was an “extraordinary honor” to find the lost ship and “retell her story of heroism and duty to those who may not know of the ship and her crew’s sacrifice.” The ship was found by Vescovo’s Caladan Oceanic Expeditions and the U.K.-based EYOS Expeditions.
“With sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, I piloted the submersible Limiting Factor to the wreck of the Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413),” Vescovo tweeted. “Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed. It was indeed the ‘destroyer escort that fought like a battleship.’”