US Naval History and Heritage Command confirmed the identity of a wreck site as USS Ommaney Bay on July 10
While operating in the Sulu Sea, Ommaney Bay was hit and eventually mortally wounded by a Japanese kamikaze air attack on January 4, 1945.
NHHC’s Underwater Archaeology Branch used a combination of survey information provided by the Sea Scan Survey team and video footage provided by the DPT Scuba dive team, to confirm the identity of Ommaney Bay. This information correlated with location data previously provided.
“Ommaney Bay is the final resting place of American sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their country,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy rear admiral (retired). “This discovery allows the families of those lost some amount of closure and gives us all another chance to remember and honour their service to our nation.”
The Japanese kamikaze crashed into Ommaney Bay’s starboard side, releasing two bombs and causing severe damage. A series of explosions were caused by one of the bombs that entered the flight deck and detonated below, among the fully fuelled aircraft in the forward third of the hanger deck. The second bomb exploded close to the starboard side after rupturing the fire main on the second deck and passing through the hanger deck.
The order to abandon ship was given as the possibility of stored torpedo warheads exploding at any moment increased. A total of 95 sailors were lost, including two personnel from an assisting destroyer who were killed when the torpedo warheads on Ommaney Bay finally went off. The vessel received two battle stars for its wartime service.