Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Letting Fallen Shipmates Lie Undisturbed

Divers are looking for permission from the U.S. to explore the hulk of the USS Lagarto (SS-371):

"...The wreck, thought to be of the USS Lagarto, was discovered in May by divers now trying to obtain Pentagon permission to film and conduct research on the Balao class submarine, Jamie MacLeod, a 43-year-old professional shipwreck diver from Chichester, England, told The Associated Press on Saturday.
"Eighty-six sailors perished when the Lagarto sank in May 1945 - reportedly after being hit by mines laid by an enemy Japanese ship about 100 nautical miles (115 miles) off the eastern coast of Songkhla province in the Gulf of Thailand.
"MacLeod, who is based on the Thai resort island of Tao, says he is virtually certain the wreck is that of the Lagarto, but that he was waiting for U.S. military permission before further exploring the 311-foot, 9-inch boat...

"But a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said the divers would never get permission to study the sub because it belongs to the U.S. Navy and "is a final resting place for the people who went down with it, and it is not to be disturbed."

I agree that the crew of the Lagarto should be left in peace. While I support raising submarines from modern accidents if information can be learned to prevent future catastrophes, there would be no such upside from investigating Lagarto. Let her continue on her eternal patrol undisturbed.

Going deep...


Blogger half said...

How about in 500 years?

/devils advocate

7/09/2005 5:48 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Well, when there's no one left alive who remembers the people on board, I suppose that's archaeology...

7/09/2005 5:53 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Hm. I thought anything in international waters (or is it in Thai water?) was up for grabs? I mean, the nice thing to do would be to leave it alone, but I wouldn't have thought the navy had much say in this.

7/09/2005 6:44 PM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

Nope, all warships are considered to still be the property of the nation they were flagged by, by convention, and by law.

7/09/2005 7:11 PM

Anonymous chrys said...

U.S. Embassy got one right! WWII people are still around though - makes it confusing if relatives happen to want momentos that may have been with the men themselves.

7/09/2005 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The families don't want the wreck disturbed. They just want answers.

7/10/2005 7:16 AM

Blogger ninme said...


Well, whose law? And what happens if someone (Thai, perhaps, in this case, so under Thai protection and law and the whole thing) wants to go ahead anyway and see if there's anything valuable or whatever? If the Thai government doesn't want to do anything, could we? Unless there's some sweeping international treaty out there.

7/10/2005 10:38 AM

Blogger Chevy Rose said...

I don't know about international law effecting this issue, but I think it would be like grave robbers. We're of that WWII generation, and lost a brother aboard the USS Houston. There have been divers down and around her since found, but haven't been inside because of the danger to divers. I think in another fifty years we'll (WWII)all be dead and then the salvage divers can pick around on them.

7/10/2005 11:40 AM

Anonymous chrys said...

It should surely be left up to any direct family members as to whether or not to disturb this final resting place. There shouldn't be much of any more important value to anyone else after all this time. Nice to know for sure that the wrong people would somehow be kept from entering here though.

7/10/2005 5:28 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Yeah, that's my thing. I mean, it's all very well if we say "Excuse me Mr Treasure Hunters, I appreciate that that WWII era submarine thigimajig would look totally swell on your mantel, but could you please respect the final resting place of our sailors and go somewhere else for your knick-knacks? Thanks." But it would be nice to know that there's something more forceful than that.

7/10/2005 11:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please be sure. There are people of deep family responsibility following this, and involved. jc

7/11/2005 6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father was one of the crew on the Lagarto. I've been in touch with many of the family members. Not one of us has mentioned "raising" the sub. It is a war grave. However, we do want answers. Have waited 60 years and believe it is time to resolve this mystery. The private divers have been wonderful and responsible. Would like to see more (some?)involvement from the Navy. The remains of 86 sailors are presumably in the sub, and their families loved them. The Navy needs to consider their feelings and show some responsibility toward THEIR men.

7/11/2005 9:29 PM

Anonymous said...

I too am the son of a crew members who would like the mystery solved. My father served with C'pn Latta thru many years of sub warfare to be sunk by a limp stick mine layer.
The stratagies of Latta are the things movies are made of,.
My father made C PO radioman"SPARKY" on the maiden voyage from N L Conn. where I was concived while they were schooling on the new equipment. I was born 3/5/45 after the Lagarto had made several successful contacts in the SoPac. He had recevied my birth photo/papers.In the days prior to this mission my 2 uncle's had met with him in Borneo .They each were there in prep for the push thru the islands. God had a busy hand that day

7/18/2005 3:08 PM

Blogger batcave said...

Other than about 80 years, what is the difference between the Lagarto and the Confederate submarine Hunley? Why not raise the Lagarto and remove the bodies for proper burial? The hulk could then be properly examined for historical purposes. Then put it on display with all contents in Manitowoc, Wisconsin where it was built.

8/08/2005 9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband's uncle is one of the 86 men who lost their lives on the Lagarto. While we would like some answers, we feel that those men are in their final resting place and should NOT be disturbed.

12/16/2005 12:24 PM


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