The NHHC has these comments;
The visit to Johnston’s wreck site was conducted via Vescovo’s manned deep submersible “Limiting Factor,” which has previously been to the deepest point in all five oceans.
The wreck of a Fletcher-class destroyer was first located on the edge of an undersea cliff in October 2019 by Vulcan Inc. and their research vessel R/V Petrel. At more than 20,000 feet, it was the deepest shipwreck ever discovered. The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) assessed the wreck as probably Johnston based on relative location, however, Johnston and Hoel (DD-533), lost in the same battle, were virtually identical Fletcher-class destroyers. The wreck had features known to be on Hoel but not confirmed on Johnston, as they would have been post-construction add-ons. Vescovo located Johnston’s bow further down the cliff face to about 21,180 feet.
Vescovo has been in communication with NHHC about his investigation of the wreck and the protocols for not only preserving it but respecting it as the final resting place for many of its crew. He has committed to providing the U.S. Navy with all the sonar data, imagery and field notes collected by the expedition.
“We have a strict ‘look, don't touch’ policy, but we collect a lot of material that is very useful to historians and naval archivists. I believe it is important work, which is why I fund it privately and we deliver the material to the Navy pro-bono.” said Vescovo.
At the conclusion of the expedition, the Caladan Oceanic team brought their surface vessel DSSV Pressure Drop to a stop in the vicinity of the battle, sounded the ship’s whistle, and laid a wreath in honor of the lives lost there in defense of freedom.
“In some ways we have come full circle,” said Vescovo. “The Johnston and our own ship were built in the same shipyard, and both served in the U.S. Navy. As a U.S. Navy officer, I’m proud to have helped bring clarity and closure to the Johnston, its crew, and the families of those who fell there.”