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USS Ward, ship that fired first American shots of World War II, found in Philippines

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Gladys Wiggins
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A team manning a deep sea research vessel says it has found and captured the first underwater images of a sunken U.S. Navy ship credited with firing America’s opening shots of World War II.

The USS Ward was located in the waters near Ponson Island in the Philippines, an expedition crew led by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen announced, just before the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Now 76 years on, her example informs our naval posture.”

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Wickes-class destroyer sank a Japanese midget submarine in Pearl Harbor around an hour before the infamous attack began.

“Within moments, at 0640 Ward was a ship alive, the general quarters alarm rousted the men from their bunks and sent them on the double to their action stations,” says a biography of the ship by the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The USS Ward continued firing at the submarine, described in the release by Allen’s crew as one of five top secret Japanese vessels armed with two torpedoes intended to penetrate the harbor under the cover of darkness.

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