Stephenson ’79 Helps Discover JOHNSTON Wreckage

A team of ocean explorers including LCDR Parks Stephenson ’79, USN (Ret.), recently discovered the wreck of World War II Fletcher-class destroyer JOHNSTON, which sank in October 1944 during the Battle of Samar. “The image is impressive, and we look forward to seeing the rest of the data collected during the expedition because the story of JOHNSTON and her crew is a perfect example for modern sailors of the honor, courage, commitment and valor of their predecessors,” said RADM Samuel Cox ’80, USN (Ret.), retired director, Navy History and Heritage Command. The actions of CDR Ernest Evans ’31, USN, JOHNSTON’S skipper, were critical to American naval success on that day and in the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf. “It was such an example of self-sacrifice,” Stephenson said. “It’s a story that needed to be told.” Evans was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the only destroyer commander in WWII so recognized.