The mystery of what happened to an American submarine has been solved more than 78 years after the warship disappeared on its 11th and final combat patrol.

According to a press release from the United States Navy, the long-lost submarine, the USS Albacore, was found after almost 80 years. Lost at sea on November 7, 1944, with all hands, her whereabouts have, until now, been a mystery.

However, Dr. Tamaki Ura from the University of Tokyo has recently released data and images from the NHHC’s Underwater Archaeological Bureau (UAB) that show what appears to be the final resting place of the WWII-era submarine.

The USS Albacore, credited with sinking at least 10 enemy vessels during the war was long assumed to be lost forever. According to Japanese records, the submarine, with a crew of 85 men on board, likely struck a mine just off the shore of Hokkaido, the NHHC said.

“Most importantly, the wreck represents the final resting place of Sailors that gave their life in defense of the nation and should be respected by all parties as a war grave,” read the Navy’s press release.

The NHHC said its archaeologists used underwater imagery provided by Ura’s team to confirm the remains were those of the Albacore. Data from the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records mentioning the loss of an American submarine steered Ura to the site of the wreckage. Ura’s team used data collected from a remotely operated vehicle to verify the historical records.

Six of the Albacore’s enemy sinkings were enemy combat ships, making the vessel one of World War II’s top combat submarines, according to the Navy.

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More details of this recent discovery from Daily Wire’s report:

The Albacore departed Pearl Harbor on October 24, 1944, and refueled at Midway, an island in the North Pacific between the U.S. and Japan, four days later. The submarine was presumed lost when it failed to arrive back at Midway on December 12 and, despite lookout efforts, had not been seen or heard from by the 21st. Navy records indicate that the Albacore struck a mine on November 7, 1944, while submerged. The NHHC states that the incident was observed by a Japanese vessel, which saw “much heavy oil and bubbles, cork, bedding and various provisions after the explosion.”

“I know that he was lost somewhere off the coast of Japan,” William Bower II, the son of Lt. William Walter Bower – who was on the Albacore, told CNN. “But to actually know the spot where the remnants of the submarine are is much more meaningful. That to me was a major step in having better closure for his life.”

William Bower II was born two months after the submarine sank, telling CNN that he knew his father through stories and photographs and has established relationships with other families who lost loved ones on the Albacore. He says that his grandmother “never fully recovered” from the news of her son. “And you know how grateful she would have been to have learned this,” he said, “And my mother unfortunately did not learn as well. So, I’m just very grateful that someone in his family was able to learn his final resting place.”

The Albacore was commissioned in 1942 and conducted 11 patrols, earning four Presidential Unit Citations and nine battle stars, according to the Navy press release. The wreck site is considered a war grave and is therefore protected under U.S. law.

Sources: DailyWire, NHHC/Twitter, AmericasNavy, CNN

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