Creating Extraordinary Success

Carson Martin  /   Chief Motor Machinist Mate - USS Grunion

Carson Martin  / Chief Motor Machinist Mate - USS Grunion

Early in the morning of July 31st 1942 about 10 miles NE of a Japanese occupied island at the far tip of the Aleutians there was a confrontation between the USS Grunion submarine and a Japanese freighter. The submarine was never heard from again. For over a half a century our Navy knew nothing of the confrontation and carried the fate of the submarine and its 70 occupants on its books as “missing in action, cause unknown”. My grandfather, Carson Martin, Chief Motor Machinist Mate, was one of the 70 men who went missing. My mother was 6 yrs old and her bother was 10 yrs old when he went missing. My mother never forgot about her dad and searched through records for many years for news about his submarine.

Sixty years later due to the efforts of Yutaka Iwasaki , an interpreter and WWII Japanese navy buff, the probable location and account of that confrontation had become known. Yutaka discovered and translated an article written in an obscure Japanese maritime magazine by the “Superintendent” of the Japanese freighter.

In August 06, with information supplied by Yutaka and help from numerous other sources, the sons of Mannert L Abele, the commander of the submarine, initiated a search for the USS Grunion . One of the sons, John Abele, is the co-founder of Boston Scientific and with his amassed business fortune, was able to fund the entire search.

Using the services of Williamson Associates and a side scan sonar they found a target near the tip of the Aleutian chain, almost a mile down that was about the right length and breadth and that appeared to have an appendage called a prop guard characteristic of that class of submarines. In addition they were able to locate the three Japanese wrecks in the area so it seems unlikely that there is confusion between wrecks. In 2007, an ROV search confirmed the wreck was indeed the USS Grunion.

With the confirmation of the USS Grunion wreckage, the US Navy has officially recognized the discovery of the USS Grunion. A memorial service gave the navy families, including my mother and her brother, the ability to say their final good-byes to their dad.

The Search for the USS ( , is a real-world example that illustrates how the use of 7 principles of the INSPIRE model of Innovation and Leadership calls forth Individuals, Teams and Organizations into new frontiers of growth and success never thought possible. The search for the USS Grunion has impacted not only hundreds of the family members and descendants of the USS Grunion men but others who with their collaborative knowledge, innovation and motivation, made this extraordinary success happen.