It’s hard not to have noticed all of the news about LAGARTO and the Navy’s recent dive on the wreck to confirm its identity this past week.
I really do consider myself lucky to have been able to follow the events of the past year as the LAGARTO and her submariners are, in a manner of speaking, brought home to their families and finally able to rest once and for all.
For a number of years I’ve been drawn to the history of the Manitowoc submarines and this has been a unique experience for me to witness the newest chapter in that history being written with each passing day.
Fifty-two boats went down during World War II and not a few of them were lost without the families of the crew and their country really knowing where they came to rest or what might have happened in their last moments. Without a doubt, LAGARTO family members can take comfort in knowing that their loved ones are now at rest. But maybe the family members of the other lost submariners can take a measure of comfort from the discovery of the LAGARTO as well.
The LAGARTO represents more than just one boat and the 86 souls that lived, worked and fought aboard her. She represents not only the other fifty-one boats on Eternal Patrol, but every submarine and submariner of her day. The LAGARTO, once lost to the dark waters of the Pacific, now stands as silent and solemn monument of the sacrifice and courage displayed by so many during the war.
I’m grateful to have been around to witness the Pacific Ocean returning the LAGARTO to her country and her loved ones. I’m grateful to the submariners aboard the LAGARTO and could never hope to repay their dedication and sacrifice. So maybe this site is my way of paying respect to them and their beloved LAGARTO.
I’m sure that the story of the LAGARTO is yet to be finished but at least it’s good to know that she and her submariners can finally take their long overdue and well earned rest.