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USS R-12 Submarine

USS R-12 - Help Fund The Documentary
Underwater ocean explorers Christine Dennison and Tim Taylor are making a documentary about their incredible discovery of the USS R-12, a World War II submarine, that has been buried in 600 feet of water off the coast of Key West, Florida since June, 1943. The USS-R12 sent 42 sailors to a watery grave where they remained lost for nearly 70 years. Back in October of 2010, Tim Taylor, an underwater explorer, searched 11 miles off the coast of Key West using a remote-controlled submarine outfitted with sonar. With the use of this specialized equipment he was able to generate an image of something lying 600 feet below the surface, about 200 feet long and what he said was shaped like a mangled rocket.

"I knew it was a submarine," he said, adding that based on its location, he knew it was the R-12 - one of 48 American submarines lost in World War II but only the 5th ever found, according to Navy statistics.

Taylors wife, Christine Dennison, runs Mad Dog Expeditions and leads adventure tours throughout the world. She has been diving for over 20 years in remote regions of the world. Christine was the first woman to dive and explore under the Arctic sea ice and ice caves of the Canadian High Arctic and the Amazon's Rio Negro, diving amongst the pink Boto dolphins and giant Piranha. To date she has logged over 80 dives in the harsh polar environment in addition to dives made on numerous historic wrecks around the world, including Europe, The Caribbean, South America and the USA. Christine and Tim invested their own funds in having a special mini-submarine vessel constructed in order to film a documentary about the USS R-12. They feel it is their duty to tell the R-12 story to the world, so that the men entombed just a few miles off the reefs of Key West, Florida should never be forgotten.

Read more at the Official USS R-12 Website and make a donation for the final funding of the documentary project to honor the men who were lost for the past 70 years at www.kickstarter.com. Also check out Christine Dennison's Mad Dog Expeditions. Share this story with friends on Facebook or Twitter by clicking on the icons at the top right of the page.

History >br> Her keel was laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, Massachusetts, on 28 March 1918. She was launched on 15 August 1919 sponsored by Miss Helen Mack, and commissioned at Boston, Massachusetts, on 23 September 1919 with Lieutenant F. J. Cunneen in command.

R-12 remained at Boston, Massachusetts until she headed down the coast on 11 March to New London, Connecticut, whence she operated until the end of May. She then continued south to Panama; transited the Panama Canal at the end of June; arrived at San Pedro, California, in July; and with the hull classification symbol "SS-89", departed the California coast for Pearl Harbor at the end of August. Arriving on 6 September 1920, she remained in Hawaiian waters, with occasional exercises on the West Coast and off Johnston Island until 12 December 1930. On that date, R-12 got underway for the East Coast and returned to New London, Connecticut, on 9 February 1931. She conducted exercises with Destroyer Squadrons of the Scouting Force into the spring, then following overhaul trained personnel assigned to the Submarine School. On 27 September 1932, she departed New London for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where, after decommissioning on 7 December, she joined other R-boats berthed there in the Reserve Fleet.

Some seven and a half years later, on 1 July 1940, R-12 recommissioned in ordinary and shifted to New London to complete activation. Recommissioned in full on 16 October, she sailed for Panama on 10 December, arrived on 23 December, and into October 1941, patrolled the approaches to the Panama Canal. On 31 October, she returned to New London and for the next three months operated off the New England coast. In February 1942, she commenced patrols to the south and for the next year operated primarily from Guantanamo Bay and Key West, Florida. In March and April 1943, she was back at New London, then in May she returned to Key West, Florida, where she trained submariners for the remainder of her career.[1]

Accident and loss
Shortly after noon on 12 June 1943, R-12, while underway to conduct a torpedo practice approach, sounded her last diving alarm. As she completed preparations to dive, the forward battery compartment began to flood.[2] The collision alarm was sounded and a report was made that the forward battery compartment was flooding. Orders were given to blow main ballast, but the sea was faster. In about 15 seconds, R-12 was lost. The commanding officer, one other officer, and three enlisted men were swept from the bridge as the boat sank and were rescued. The subsequent 14-day search involved as many as 14 ships.[3] Forty-two lives were lost.[1] R-12 was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 6 July.

Sometime before 25 May 2011, an exploration team led by Tim Taylor aboard the expedition vessel "RV Tiburon" located and documented the wreck of R-12. The reason for her loss remains unknown. In making the discovery, the team deployed a state-of-the-art autonomous underwater robot which collected first ever imagery of the remains of R-12. They are collaborating and sharing their findings with the US Navy. RV Tiburon intends to launch a future expedition to further investigate the possible causes of the sinking, and collect detailed archeological baseline data.

There is a granite marker in honor of R-12 at the National Submarine Memorial in Groton, Connecticut.

There is a small monument in honor of R-12 and her crew at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island.


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