U.S. Navy Memorial Hosts Sailor and Families from Recently Rediscovered World War II Destroyer Wreck

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

One veteran and families of Sailors who served aboard World War II destroyer USS Abner Read (DD 526) will gather at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. to honor the service and sacrifice of those who served on the ship during the war, particularly the 71 Sailors who lost their lives when the ship struck a mine during a war patrol off the coast of Alaska, and the 22 Sailors who died when the ship was sunk a little more than a year later in the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Media are invited to attend the ceremony which occurs on the 74th anniversary of the ship’s loss.

Naval History and Heritage Command Director Rear Adm. Sam Cox (U.S. Navy, Retired) will provide remarks.

Abner Read was in the news this past August when the stern section of the ship was discovered off the coast of Kiska Island, Alaska. The wreckage was discovered during a NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research-sponsored project to survey underwater sites related to the World War II Aleutian Islands campaign.

The expedition was undertaken by a team made up of researchers from the University of Delaware, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and Project Recover. During the expedition, the team discovered Read's stern section which was severed from the hull when Abner Read is believed to have struck a mine on Aug. 18, 1943 while patrolling off Kiska. 71 Sailors were killed or missing, and another 47 wounded after the incident.

Somehow the crew kept the main part of Abner Read’s hull watertight, and two nearby Navy ships towed it back to port.

“This was catastrophic damage that by all rights should have sunk the entire ship.” said Cox. “Despite the surprise, shock and loss of so many of their shipmates, the surviving crewmen of Abner Read displayed extraordinary valor and determination in saving their ship. The crew's absolute refusal to give up their ship no matter what provides an inspiration to those Sailors who serve our nation today."

Within months, the destroyer was back in the war. It went on to fight in several battles in the Pacific Theater before being destroyed in Nov. 1944 by a Japanese dive bomber in a kamikaze attack during the battle of Leyte Gulf. Abner Read received four battle stars for her World War II service.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, ten museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

For more information about the Naval History and Heritage Command visit https://www.history.navy.mil/

-- NHHC --

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact the Naval History and Heritage Command public affairs office at 202-433-7880, 202-500-9946 or via email at william.p.taylor@navy.mil

Media Resources:

High resolution still/video imagery and information from the survey of the ship’s stern can be found online here: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/18kiska/logs/aug15/aug15.html

Historical Information and Imagery related to the ship can be found below:

USS Abner Read Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Entry https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/abner- read.html

USS Abner Read War History https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tILVBpage7dEWrA9ZnZiOFtNDdyhl8w1

USS Abner Read Action Report from mine strike https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YWU00-JU7D2rPJ2cRsP6tpsGB4W-PHV2

USS Abner Read Line Drawing of Mine Damage https://www.history.navy.mil/content/dam/nhhc/research/library/online-reading- room/ships/wardamagereportno50/wdrdr43.jpg

USS Abner Read Photo L45-01.01.01

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of- images/nhhc-series/naval-subjects-collection/l45--us-navy-ships/01-20/l45-01-01-01-uss-abner-read-- dd-526-.html

USS Abner Read Photo L45-01.01.02

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of- images/nhhc-series/naval-subjects-collection/l45--us-navy-ships/01-20/l45-01-01-02-uss-abner-read-- dd-526-.html

USS Abner Read Photo NH 107243

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of- images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-107000/NH-107243.html

USS Abner Read Section in World War II Destroyer Report

Torpedo and Mine Damage and Loss in Action 17 October, 1941 to 7 December, 1944

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list- alphabetically/w/war-damage-reports/destroyer-report-torpedo-mine-damage.html#AbnerRead

The Aleutians Campaign (1942–43) https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/browse-by-topic/wars-conflicts-and- operations/world-war-ii/1943/aleutians.html

This is a collection page that features links to additional contextual information about the campaign in which Abner Read was damaged. There you’ll find information that includes:

o   The Office of Naval Intelligence Combat Narrative: The Aleutians Campaign, June 1942 - August 1943 (1945)

o   NHHC Director's History Gram 016-2: "The Aleutians Campaign, 1942 - 43”

o   Aleutians Campaign Photo Gallery

o   Combat Art: Alaska During the Pacific War

Rebecca Kidder