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    HomeMilitaryWW2 Legend Resurfaces: USS Harder Submarine Wreck Discovered off Philippines

    WW2 Legend Resurfaces: USS Harder Submarine Wreck Discovered off Philippines

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    The final resting place of the iconic U.S. Navy submarine, sunk 80 years ago during World War II, has been found 3,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

    The USS Harder, nicknamed “Hit ’em HARDER,” was discovered off the coast of Luzon, a Philippine island. The submarine is upright and “relatively intact” except for damage behind its conning tower caused by a Japanese depth charge.

    This discovery was made possible by data collected by Tim Taylor, CEO of the Lost 52 Project, which aims to locate the 52 submarines lost during World War II.

    Under the command of the renowned Cmdr. Samuel D. Dealey, the USS Harder gained legendary status during its fifth patrol by sinking three destroyers and severely damaging two others within four days. This forced a Japanese fleet to withdraw ahead of schedule, delaying their carrier force in the Philippine Sea and contributing to Japan’s defeat in the subsequent battle.

    However, the USS Harder’s luck ran out in late August 1944. On August 22, Harder and the USS Haddo destroyed three escort ships off Bataan’s coast.

    Later that night, joined by the USS Hake, the three submarines headed for Caiman Point, Luzon. The USS Haddo then departed to replenish its torpedo stockpile. Before dawn on August 24, the USS Hake spotted an enemy escort ship and patrol boat and dove deep to avoid detection.

    Japanese records later revealed that the USS Harder fired three torpedoes at the Japanese escort ship, which evaded them and retaliated with depth charges, sinking the Harder and killing all 79 crew members.

    The “excellent state of preservation of the site” and the quality of the data collected by Lost 52 allowed the Navy’s History and Heritage Command to confirm the wreck was indeed Harder.

    “Harder was lost in the course of victory. We must not forget that victory has a price, as does freedom,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy rear admiral (retired).

    “We are grateful that Lost 52 has given us the opportunity to once again honor the valor of the crew of the ‘Hit ’em HARDER’ submarine that sank the most Japanese warships – in particularly audacious attacks – under her legendary skipper, Cmdr. Sam Dealey.”

    Harder received the Presidential Unit Citation for her first five patrols and six battle stars for World War II service, and Cmdr. Dealey was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. During his career, Dealey also received a Navy Cross, two Gold Stars, and the Distinguished Service Cross.

    USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) steams in formation during a joint photo exercise during exercise Valiant Shield 2007 while at sea Aug.14, 2007. The joint exercise consists of 28 naval vessels, more than 300 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe) (Released)

    Taylor, the Lost 52 Project CEO, has previously located other World War II submarines, including the USS Grayback, USS Stickleback, and USS Grunion, and received a Distinguished Public Service Award from the Navy in 2021 for his efforts.

    The Naval History and Heritage Command stated that the SS Harder wreck “represents the final resting place of sailors that gave their life in defense of the nation and should be respected by all parties as a war grave.”

    Other famed warships have also been found in the waters off the Philippines. In 2015, U.S. billionaire Paul Allen located the wreck of the Musashi, one of the two largest Japanese warships ever built, in the Philippines’ Sibuyan Sea.

    Last September, deep-sea explorers captured images of three shipwrecks from World War II’s Battle of Midway, including the first up-close photos of a Japanese aircraft carrier since it sank during the historic 1942 battle.

    Relevant articles:
    Legendary U.S. World War II submarine located 3,000 feet underwater off the Philippines, CBS News
    USS Harder: WW2 submarine wreck found off Philippines, BBC
    USS Harder: Wreck of lost US World War II submarine found off the Philippines, WION

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