Historic Shipwreck Discovery Has Special Connection To Oklahoma Family

Thursday, June 30th 2022, 6:22 pm

A U.S. Naval ship from World War II was just found off the coast of the Philippines. At 4.2 miles deep, this discovery is now the deepest shipwreck ever discovered.

A sailor who was on the ship was from Checotah, and his family said they have worked hard to keep his memory alive years later.

Jeff Rush said the story of the USS Samuel B Roberts and his uncle Paul Carr is a story he's heard his entire life.

"It is said of the Samuel B. Roberts that it is the little ship that fought like a battleship," Rush said.

The Battle off Samar happened on October 25, 1944 off the coast of the Philippines.

Paul Carr was the gun captain on the stern of the ship.

Rush said Carr fired off 324 rounds in 35 minutes, but the gun had gotten so hot it cooked off, firing back at Carr.

Another sailor was able to carry Carr up to the deck where he passed away, and 30 minutes later, the ship sank.

"We're all very proud of our uncle, for his actions and the actions of the crew of the Samuel B. Roberts," Rush said.

The ship was discovered last week, 4.2 miles deep, making it the deepest wreck ever found.

Rush said the discovery brought him a flood of emotions.

First, he was amazed, then he was excited to see the pictures, before long he said it was sobering, realizing it's a gravesite for the 1,500 lives lost.

"Seeing that and knowing that there are other gravesites, other ships in that area. It's just a reminder of the sacrifices people make, so we can enjoy our freedoms," Rush said.

In 1980, survivors of the battle nominated a Naval frigate to be named after Carr.

The USS Carr launched in 1983 and was decommissioned in 2013.

Rush said the discovery is a sense of peace.

He hopes his uncle's story is something his family keeps telling for generations to come. 

"It's good to see an ordinary person go and do an extraordinary thing, and this was an extraordinary act on his part and the crews part," he said.

There is an exhibit for Paul Carr at the Katy Depot Museum in Checotah.

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