LCdr. Mannert L. Abele

LCdr. Mannert L. Abele.

Mannert Lincoln Abele was born 11 July 1903 at Quincy, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Navy 12 August 1920; was appointed midshipman in June 1922; and was commissioned ensign 3 June 1926 following graduation from the Naval Academy.

He completed training at the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut in 1929 and, prior to America’s entry into World War II, he commanded the submarines R‑13 and S‑31. Promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 December 1940, he assumed command of Grunion (SS 216) at her commissioning 11 April 1942

On 30 June 1942, Grunion took departure from Pearl Harbor on her first and only war patrol. In the western Aleutian Islands 15–30 July, she sank two 300‑ton patrol boats, heavily damaged a third and twice escaped enemy depth charge attacks.

On 40 July, because of intensive enemy antisubmarine activity off Kiska Island, Grunion was ordered to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, but did not arrive. On 16 August, she was reported missing and presumed lost.

For extraordinary heroism during an aggressive war patrol, Lt. Comdr. Abele was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

For many years, her loss remained a mystery until members of the Abele family found and photographed her remains off Kiska at a depth of 3,000 ft.


The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Mannert Lincoln Abele, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Grunion (SS 216), during its First War Patrol, in Alaskan Waters. Lieutenant Commander Abele conducted an aggressive and successful submarine war patrol from 30 June 1942 to 24 July 1942. He pressed home all attacks in such a skillful and resolute manner that he attacked and sank in one day, three enemy destroyers of the Towlekju Class. Despite severe anti-submarine measures, Lieutenant Commander Abele brought his ship safely through these counter attacks but was subsequently lost from an unknown cause. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Sources: Naval Historical Center including Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Military Times.