JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Mission San Miguel was a US Naval tanker that served in both World War II and the Korean War. It transported fuel for military machines, and was awarded numerous commendations for its military service.
"This is a ship that wasn't a glamorous part of World War II history, but was an important part," said Kelly Keogh, Maritime Heritage Coordinator for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Ironic that it sunk under the most benign of circumstances.
The ship was en route to Seattle from Guam in 1957 when it hit a reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The crew escaped, but the ship did not.
It lay undisturbed, and unseen to human eyes in 80 feet of water for almost 60 years, until August 3rd.
"I turn around, and this giant, looming structure, so eerie," described Melissa Price, a maritime archaeologist and one of three people to make the discovery.
"I had to stare at it for a little bit, then I started freaking out under water, screaming and motioning," said Rebecca Weible, a UH Manoa Marine Biology student.
"Their eyes...just pie plates," said Jason Raupp, the third member of the dive team and Field Leader of the excursion. "It's really very, very exciting discovery for the monument," he continued.
The ship is now in the protected waters of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It will stay there.
The ship will now be mapped and studied on the ocean's floor, bringing to close a decades old mystery.