USS Lagarto

Legacy of the USS Lagarto

The USS Lagarto began its life in a Manitowoc shipyard and went down fighting in a sea battle against a Japanese convoy. But its fascinating story didn’t end in the depths of the Gulf of Thailand.

Decades later, details have emerged about what happened to the 86 men who vanished along with the submarine.

Tonight on WPT at 8 p.m., Lost and Found: The Legacy of the USS Lagarto explores what happened to the submarine, its crew — and the families they left behind. 

Watch a preview provided by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum:


One of 28 submarines built by the M
anitowoc Shipbuilding Company during World War II, the USS Lagarto slid down timbers into the Manitowoc River on May 28, 1944. The submarine had to travel half a world away to join the Pacific naval battles, first cruising down the Mississippi River and then through the Panama Canal.

During her second war patrol in early May 1945, the USS Lagarto disappeared without a trace, with 86 crew members never heard from again.

Nearly 60 years to the day that the submarine went missing, divers discovered the vessel sitting upright on the sea floor, covered in fishermen’s nets. The divers were encouraged to search for the wreck by the Wisconsin Chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans.

At last, the story of the submarine and her crew’s final hours can  be told. The lives of the men lost aboard have not been forgotten.

Photo: The USS Lagarto, c. late 1944. Credit: Naval Historical Center

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