The past four decades of wreck searching has given me the opportunity to solve many mysteries. I have had the good fortune to have been able to reunite families with their forefathers history and help them pay tribute to these heroes that lost their lives at sea insuring our freedom. In May 2014, I was again contacted by a family member of the long lost S.S Miraflores.
Paula Davis of Utah, found my website and discovered the fate of her lost uncle Andrew Yasko. Andrew served our country as a merchant marine with honor during World War II and paid the ultimate price for his service. It took great courage to ship out during those dangerous times, where hostile German submarines lurked waiting for prey. We should not forget the ultimate sacrifice those sailors made to supply our nation during coastal wars.
On May 14, 2014 Paula Davis wrote:
After reading your website posts on the SS Miraflores, I believe I may have found the fate of my uncle Andrew Yasko. The family's last contact was a letter postmarked Sept 1941 from New Orleans in which he stated he had hopes his shipping agent had a ship for him. One of your articles tells of Walter Autry of Livingston, TX who worked on the Miraflores before its fatal voyage. I would like to contact him to see if he has any recollection of the crew member Andrew Yasko that might help us verify that it is my uncle, as the crew list gives no age, or identifying info. Do you know how I can contact Walter Autry? I contacted Walter's son and had him get in touch with Paula. Walter joined the Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and would not have known Andrew Yasko, but was able to provide Paula with some history of the ship prior to it's fate.
Thank you for any help you can give in locating him. And, thank you for your informative website.
Paula wrote back:
Thank you for your quick response--Thomas Autry contacted me immediately and I look forward to speaking with his father, Walter. Thank you for the time you have taken to help me with a personal search for a long lost relative.
With much appreciation,
Gene --thank you for all you have done to help me with my search! I'm attaching a photo of my uncle and also a little information, if you would care to use it. --Paula
Andrew Yasko grew up in Conemaugh, Pennsylvania. He was a younger son in a large family and money was scarce. This photo of Andrew was sent as a postcard from Havana, Cuba, probably sometime in 1941.
He left school early to find work, sailing on various merchant marine vessels. His family's last contact was a 1941 letter from New Orleans when he wrote that he thought his agent would soon have a ship for him. This was just a few months before the United States officially entered World War II. After the war ended there was still no word from him. As time passed, his family could only assume he had been on a ship that sank or had met with an accident or illness at sea or at one of the ports he visited. His parents, brothers, and sisters died without knowing Andrew's fate.
We have now found that our uncle is listed as an Able Bodied Seaman on the final voyage of the SS Miraflores. He was 23 years old. Thank you, Atlantic Divers, for your help in discovering the story of his final voyage. --Paula Yashko Davis 5/30/14
I am glad to have been able to add closure to these families and hope that more will find answers from these uncertain times. So many sacrificed during those conflicts to ensure our way of life.
For more information and stories on the S.S. Miraflores, check the following: