25 Mar 2019

Famous US warship found in Solomons waters

From , 5:03 am on 25 March 2019

The wreck of famous US aircraft carrier USS Wasp has been located on the ocean floor about 4000m down in Solomon Islands waters.

USS Wasp

USS Wasp Photo: By USN - Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-12240 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Public Domain

The ship was famous for having run supplies to Malta before being dispatched to the Pacific in 1942.

It was sunk in September of that year, during the Battle of Guadalcanal, and located two months ago. But the discoverers, a team put together by the late Microsoft found Paul Allen, have just made the find public.

The team had already located a number of other major US warships lost during World War II.

Dave Werner is a public affairs specialist with the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii and Don Wiseman asked him about the significance of this latest find.

Mr Werner said the Wasp helped turn the tide against the Japanese.

"The Wasp was the target of one of the most notoriously successful torpedo firings by a Japanese submarine.

"They would fire these ... long and powerful torpedoes, but they also had a really long range.

"And [in] one spread where a series of six to eight torpedoes were fired from the Japanese sub, they ultimately sank the USS Wasp, a cruiser and a destroyer - three US ships in one torpedo spread."

But the death toll from the Wasp was actually relatively slow.

"But 176 [dead sailors] out of 2160 plus, that's a pretty phenomenal testament to the ship's readiness, to the crew's toughness," Mr Werner said.

"Most of those sailors went on to fight and demonstrate determination against the enemy in World War II.

Some surviving crew members went on to take up high ranking positions in the military brass, he said.