Archmere Academy Awards US Navy Fireman Richard Fox Grace Diploma
Richard Fox Grace, US Navy Fireman Second Class, was declared "Missing In Action" when the U.S.S. Lagarto failed to return from its third mission in May of 1945. The submarine was off the Malay coast near the Gulf of Siam at the time. All 86 men were declared “Missing in Action” for almost exactly sixty years. Richard had served with the Navy for two years and three months at the time of his death and was decorated with a Purple Heart.
In May 2005, a group of private deep-sea divers, led by British wreck diver Jamie MacLeod, discovered the wreck in 70 meters (230 ft.) of water in the Gulf of Thailand. The wreck is mostly intact and sitting upright on the ocean floor. During the dive, a large rupture was discovered on the port bow area, suggesting a depth charge as the catalyst to her sinking. Also observed during the dive was an open torpedo tube door, with an empty torpedo tube behind it, suggesting the possibility that Lagarto fired off a torpedo shortly before her sinking.
Richard Grace left Archmere Academy to join the U.S. Navy the first semester of his junior year. He would have been in the graduating Class of 1944. While at Archmere, Richard played football and was a drummer in the Archmere Orchestra. He was also president of his class sophomore year.
Today, Richard Grace was awarded his Archmere Academy high school diploma posthumously. His grandnephew, Kyle Armstrong, a 2002 graduate of Archmere Academy, and his nephew, Richard Armstrong, a 1969 graduate of Archmere Academy, accepted the diploma on his behalf at a Veteran’s Day Tribute in the Performing Arts Theatre at Archmere.