No one would blame Paul Allen if, having reached the age of 62, he decided to relax and take life easy. After co-founding Microsoft and becoming one of the wealthiest people on the planet, most of us would feel we’d earned a little break.
Allen, though, continues to take on new projects. Owner in whole or part of three professional sports teams, Allen is also major philanthropist who makes donations to further medicine, science, and ecological conservation.
He also owns the 15th largest yacht in the world, the Octopus. While it’s luxuriously appointed, the ship also takes part in humanitarian and research missions, with its latest accomplishment being the discovery of the sunken Japanese battleship Musashi.
Along with its sister vessel the Yamato, Musashi is one of the two largest battleships ever built. Measuring 263 meters (863 feet) in length, the Musashi was equipped with nine eighteen-inch guns, among other weapons, and two catapults for launching the roughly half-dozen floatplanes it carried with it. To further illustrate its massive scale, the Musashi’s armor plating measured 18 inches thick, and two 15-ton anchors were used to hold the position of the ship, which under full load weighed 73,000 tons.
After being commissioned in August of 1942, the imposing vessel served as the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet. It was personally commanded by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto up to his death when a plane he was traveling in was shot down by U.S. forces in April of 1943. The Musashi itself would meet a similar fate a little over a year later, when it was sunk by U.S. Naval aviators on October 24, 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but not before 18 aircraft were lost in the assault. Roughly half of the ship’s crew of 2,399 seamen perished when the ship sank.
Due to the chaotic circumstances surrounding its final moments (some scholars claim the Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest naval conflict in history), the exact resting place of the Musashi was unknown for decades. This is where Allen comes into the story. The philanthropist and entrepreneur’s father served in the military during World War II, and out of reverence to all those who have done likewise, one of Allen’s many endeavors is the preservation of historical military artifacts. On March 2, a remote-operated vehicle launched from the Octopus discovered the wreckage of the Musashi on the floor of the Sibuyan Sea, near the center of the Philippine archipelago.
The video above represents the results of an eight-year quest by Allen to find the Musashi’s remains. According to his website, he hopes the discovery will help bring closure to the surviving relatives and descendants of those whose lives were lost in the war.
Sources: PaulAllen.com , YouTube via Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: Wikipedia/Tobei Shiraishi , YouTube