Evans and 185 members of the crew have been misplaced, and he would turn out to be the primary Native American within the Navy to obtain the Medal of Honor.

On Thursday, the Navy and a staff of undersea explorers introduced that the wreck of the Johnston had been positively identified in 21,180 toes of water. Scattered wreckage had been discovered on the web site in 2019 however couldn’t be positively identified.

But late final month, a manned-submersible operated by Caladan Oceanic, a Dallas undersea exploration firm, situated the entrance two-thirds of the ship, sitting upright, alongside with the bridge, mid part and the figuring out hull quantity, 557.

The submersible, piloted by former Navy Cmdr. Victor Vescovo, additionally noticed two giant gun turrets, twin torpedo racks and a number of gun mounts.

“No human remains or clothing were seen at any point during the dives and nothing was taken from the wreck,” Caladan mentioned in its announcement.

“The wreck of Johnston is a hallowed site,” mentioned retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington.

“It … serves as a sobering reminder for today’s Sailors: after all that’s asked of them in day-to-day service, they … may one day be asked for far more,” he mentioned within the Navy’s announcement.

The Johnston was sunk throughout an enormous naval battle within the Philippine Sea because the United States was liberating the island nation from the Japanese and advancing the bloody drive throughout the Pacific Theater that might finish the conflict 10 months later.

In late October 1944, a robust drive of Japanese battleships and cruisers managed to catch the Navy off-guard and bounce a U.S. fleet of small plane carriers off Samar.

The Johnston and different small destroyers assailed the Japanese drive because the carriers fled, based on historian Ian W. Toll.

“She was nearer to the enemy than any other American warship and therefore came in for special attention from enemy gunners,” he wrote in his latest guide, “Twilight of the Gods.”

Despite the barrage the destroyer charged away.

“I intend to go in harm’s way,” Evans had mentioned when the Johnston was commissioned in 1943. “Anyone who doesn’t want to go along had better get off right now.”

Evans was from Pawnee, Okla. His mom was Cherokee, and his father was half White and half Creek Indian. Despite the racism of the period, he was admitted to the Naval Academy and graduated in 1931. He was 36 on the time of the assault, and he had been the Johnston’s solely skipper.

As the splashes from enemy shell hit close by, he steered towards the enemy.

“I can see him now,” Bob Hagen, the ship’s gunnery officer recalled, based on Toll. “Short, barrel-chested, standing on the bridge with his hands on his hips, giving out with a running fire of orders in a bull voice.”

The nimble Johnston zigged and zagged, firing off torpedoes and shells, and ducking into smokescreens. But at 7:25 a.m. the monster Japanese battleship Yamato noticed the destroyer and landed three big shells.

“It was like a puppy being smacked by a truck,” Hagen remembered.

Evans was knocked down. His shirt had been torn off. His hair was singed, and two of his fingers had been ripped off, Toll wrote. Evans received up, wrapped a handkerchief round his hand and resumed shouting orders.

An hour later, one other Japanese battleship, the Kongo, loomed, and the Johnston let unfastened with its small weapons, firing 40 shells. They did little injury. The destroyer escaped, however came across a crippled American plane service being pummeled by a Japanese cruiser.

“Commander Evans then gave me the most courageous order I’ve ever heard,” Hagen recalled. “’Commence firing on that cruiser … draw her fire on us and away from’” the service.

It was then that the enemy ships closed in and completed the Johnston off.

“Men were floating on the water’s surface or sinking beneath it,” a Japanese sailor reported. “Half-naked crew members jammed themselves into lifeboats and rowed away … We were close enough to see their unkempt beards and the tattoos on their arms.”

A Japanese gunner opened hearth, however was ordered to cease. And because the Johnston went down, a Japanese officer was seen saluting from his ship, Toll wrote.

Of the Johnston’s crew of 327, solely 141 survived, the Naval historical past command says on its website. About 50 “were killed by enemy action, 45 died on rafts from battle injuries and 92, including Evans, were alive in the water after Johnston sank, but were never heard from again.”

The suspected wreck web site, the deepest shipwreck ever situated, was first found in 2019 by the late Paul Allen’s vessel R/V Petrel, Caladan mentioned in its assertion. But most of the ship was deeper than the Petrel’s submersible might go.

The Caladan submersible has no depth limitation, the corporate mentioned.

As the expedition ended, the mission’s analysis vessel got here to a cease, sounded its whistle and a memorial wreath was positioned on the ocean, the corporate mentioned.

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