Man with ties to Big Spring among sailors on submarine lost for 75 years

Local News

WWII Sub found off the coast of Japan over the weekend

BIG SPRING, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – For 75 years researchers have been left with a mystery from World War II; where is the USS Grayback?

Families have also been searching for answers as their loved ones were among those missing in action. That is until Sunday.

The USS Grayback, and the final resting place for 81 sailors in WWII, was finally discovered just off the coast of Japan. Thanks to the Lost 52 Project, a group dedicated to locating 52 submarines that went missing during the war, the story of the USS Grayback is resurfacing.

The Lost 52 Project was created by Tim Taylor after the discovery of the USS R12. Taylor’s team now is in search of the other 52 submarines that were lost during WWII with the goal of discovering where those sailors are and to give closure to their families, the organization’s website reads.

Their most recent discovery in Japan marks the first time the USS Grayback has been seen in decades. According to the Navy, the USS Grayback set out from Pearl Harbor back in 1944 to patrol the seas south of Japan. It was slated to arrive back at Midway in March but never arrived.

James Edward Barnett is one of the 81 sailors assigned to the USS Grayback. Oneternalpatrol.com

The Navy declared it lost about a month later. Oneternalpatrol.com reports 81 sailors were assigned to the USS Grayback. That includes James Edgar Barnett who, according to oneternalpatrol.com, has ties to Big Spring.

The listing shows Barnett served as the Ship’s Cook. The American Battle Monuments Commission, additionally, shows Barnett was listed as Missing in Action.

Barnett’s date of death is listed as Jan. 12, 1946, about two years after the USS Grayback was declared lost. He is Memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial.  

Now the mystery of the USS Grayback has been solved and for the families, the questions answered.

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