Emmons Found off Okinawa
On Feb. 21, 2001, Richard Ruth of Fathoms Dive Shop, Okinawa, Japan and a team of divers found what they believe is the wreck of the USS Emmons. 5 Japanese kamikaze suicide planes crashed into Emmons on 6 April, 1945, within 2 minutes. After a heroic fight and drifting towards Japanese held territory, Emmons was sunk by 96 5" shells from sister ship, USS Ellyson.
The Japanese Coast Guard began searching last summer for an underwater wreck that Okinawan fisherman suspected was leaking oil. Using a remote camera, they found something but were unable to identify it.
Richard Ruth and other local divers spent months searching for clues on the Internet and in history books. After finding the USS Emmons website and consulting with veterans via e-mail and phone, they concluded the wreck was most likely the USS Emmons, which sank in the vicinity where the Coast Guard did its underwater scan.
Thoughts from our first dive by Richard Ruth:
As I descended into the depths, the first to dive her for some fifty years (we think) she appeared out of the blue at about eighty feet. I was so amazed I forgot to push the record button on my video camera. Debris was everywhere, the guns were all sticking straight towards the sky as if someone had purposely placed them that way. The wheelhouse is on it's side in the sand beyond recreational dive depths. The bow of the ship has the anchor still attached. It really looked as though it could still be driven away. Proceeding back the carnage at the stern revealed that that would be impossible. The five inch guns are still skyward and so are both the 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns.
Another diver and photographer, John Chandler, said, "When you dive down there, you see what the last moments of the ship were like just before it went down. This isn’t just a playground for divers, it’s hallowed ground for Japanese and Americans who fought here."
Richard Ruth of Fathoms Dive Shop, John Chandler of In Depth photography, the Emmons Association, and Richard Angelini of the Benson-Livermore class destroyer website have partnered to research, define, analyze, and study all aspects of the wreck and its findings. We intend to post these findings on this website and at the dive site links located towards the bottom of this page.
The Emmons is resting about 140 feet below the ocean’s surface just north of Okinawa’s Motobu Peninsula. She rests on her starboard side. Live and unexploded ammunition is present, use caution when diving on the Emmons. Diving at this depth should be accomplished by divers with some technical background or guidance from others that know the site. Contact Rich Ruth or John Chandler through their websites listed below.
The USS Emmons is a United States Naval vessel and as such is protected by the United States Government. Due to the 60 American and 5 Japanese men still entombed aboard this ship, Emmons is considered a war grave. As such, it is unlawful for anyone to enter the ship by any means. Removing of any materials from the ship or the debris field is also illegal. We ask you to please have respect for the ship and the fallen servicemen by viewing but not entering the ship or taking souvenirs. We of the Benson-Livermore class website, the original dive teams, and the USS Emmons Association thank you for this.