U.S. submarine lost in World War II found linked to Omaha

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — After nearly 80 years of deliberation, some US military families have finally received permission.

On Thursday, the Naval History and Heritage Command confirmed the identification of the crash site off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan. This is USS Albacore (SS 218), an American submarine lost at sea in 1944.

The discovery made a splash across the country, including in Omaha.

“I never knew him, but I’ve known about him all my life,” Lou Moss told Shirley.

Shirley is the niece of Leonard David Moss, who was aboard the USS Albacore when she went missing on November 7, 1944. Moss received the Purple Heart for his service.

“He was always in the photographs at my grandmother’s house,” she said.

In the center of their home and heart, although no one knew where the 23-year-old girl was.

“I don’t know if it was just sad, but just looking at him knowing they don’t know what happened to him.”

In 1944, Moss’s parents received a telegram stating that their son was missing. The following year, they received another letter suggesting that he and about 85 others on the submarine were missing.

In Omaha, someone else got the same news: Father Edward Flannagan, founder of Boys Town. It was for Patrick McKenna, who graduated from Boys Town and was also on the USS Albacore.

“Back in 1944, a telegram arrived in Boys Town informing Father Flannagan that a submarine had sunk and Patrick’s whereabouts were unknown,” said Thomas Lynch, Director of Community Programs for Boys Town.

“Over the years, we just waited,” Lynch said.

Then on Monday, three days before the official announcement, families received an email from Charles Hinman, director of education for the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum. Hinman attached another letter from the Naval History and Heritage Command regarding the discovery of the USS Albacore.

“It says here: Dear Albacore Family,” Shirley read.

“We hope Albacore’s known location will bring you and your family closer in some way as you continue to mourn the loss of a loved one.”

The families received a letter saying that with the help of a Japanese professor from the University of Tokyo, the USS Albacore had been identified.

Finally, with completion and confirmation, Shirley said she felt, “Shock. Just shocked.”

And then…

“My next thought was about my grandparents,” Shirley said. “My grandmother lived for 40 years not knowing where he was or what happened to him.”

But now…

“They always had hope that they would find out where he was. Now they know, as I said, they are all rejoicing in heaven now. But they didn’t know. So I wish we could tell them then.

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