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    West Loch Oahu | Hawaii United States
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USN October 30, 1941

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US Army May 22, 1944
Location
West Loch is the western arm of Pearl Harbor of Oahu in Hawaii in the United States. To the east is Ford Island.

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, West Loch was used as a staging area for transport and cargo ships. By 1944, the shoreline was developed with buildings and dock facilities.

West Loch Disaster
On May 21, 1944 LSTs and other vessels were loading ammunition in West Loch for the upcoming amphibious operations in the Marianas. At 3:00pm, LST-353 suddenly exploded showering other LSTs and ships with fragments, which set off further explosions. In total, six LSTs were sunk and several others heavily damaged, along with twenty nearby buildings. 163 sailors and soldiers died and 396 were wounded, including many African American dock workers. The next day, fires aboard the ships continued to burn while fire fighting efforts continued. The precise cause of the disaster is unknown, but likely rushed loading and storage of ammunition and a detonation that set off a chain reaction of explosions. This incident became known as the "West Loch Disaster" and was kept secret until 1960.

Afterwards, the U. S. Navy salvaged the wreckage of the damaged and sunk ships and towed them out to sea and scuttled them. During salvage operations, Navy divers discovered HA-21 Type A Midget Submarine No. 21 (Midget E) and raised it to the surface then dumped it three miles south. Despite the cleanup, the hull of LST-480 was left beached.

HA-21 Type A Midget Submarine No. 21 (Midget E)
Sunk December 7, 1941 located 1944 rediscovered 2009

LST-480
Sunk May 21, 1944 during West Loch Disaster, hull remains visible today

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Last Updated
May 21, 2019

 

Map
December 7, 1941
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