From the picture in the magazine, it's hard to know what Harold "Luke" Logan was thinking. 

In fact, the family isn't convinced it's him, but darn if it doesn't look just about perfect. 

A cocky smirk, a checked short-sleeve shirt and a his arm around a pretty woman with a floral print dress.

That's how the magazine photographer for Life captured a tavern near Fort Peck in 1936, during its first issue.

The photograph didn't name the couples on the dance floor, but Logan's family thinks it could be him. And it sure does look like his senior photo — the slicked-back hair, the face — everything seems to match.

No one knows if the man in the photo is really Logan. And no one knows much about his death. The memories the family has are growing dimmer with each successive generation. But, Logan is one of the handful of men from Montana who have died while serving their country in a submarine. There are almost 40 Treasure State natives who perished while serving in a submarine, according to one group. 

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Harold Logan graduation picture

The high school graduation picture of Harold "Luke" Logan, who served on the USS Argonaut that was sunk in January 1943. 

Logan died on Jan. 10, 1943 on the USS Argonaut, then the largest submarine in U.S. history. The submarine spotted a convoy of Japanese ships, five freighters and three destroyers, not far from New Britain in the South Pacific. Accounts vary as to what happened — whether the Argonaut landed a torpedo on an enemy ship — but a depth charge likely damaged the Argonaut in the battle. Wounded, it surfaced at an odd angle, suggesting it was crippled. 

Outgunned and disabled, the crew of the Argonaut tried to return fire, but it proved futile against the superior power. The submarine quickly sank, earning headlines around the nation that read, "Sub crew prefers death to surrender."

Not a single one of the crew of 102 survived, including Logan.

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Harold Logan submarine

A photo of the USS Argonaut, a submarine sank by the Japanese during World War II. Two Montanans, including Harold "Luke" Logan, were killed as it sank. Now, Logan's family wants all lost Montana submariners to have their names memorialized on the USS Montana, a submarine scheduled for completion in 2019. 

Back at home, his mother Lillian received the customary telegram which reminded her that not much information could be given so as not to give aid to the enemy. As if the enemy didn't already know — they had blown the sub right out of the water. They knew.

And so did Lillian Logan, who lived the rest of her life, almost reaching 100 years old, never quite forgetting the pain wreaked in her life by the Japanese. She still stewed decades later when Japanese nationals bought a ranch adjacent to the family's. 

"I think there was a lot of anger toward the Japanese," said Julie Sanders, Logan's niece. "I remember her telling me that if the Japanese ever got over here, they would put me in the chicken coop and feed me potatoes. So, every time I saw a plane in the air as a little girl, I was frightened." 

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Harold Logan family

John Lesnik, Julie Sanders and Rita Westrum have gathered information on Harold "Luke" Logan who perished on the USS Argonaut. They've kept a scrapbook their grandmother made to remember her son. Now, they want to make sure all Montana submariners who died in service are memorialized on the soon-to-be-commissioned USS Montana. 

The family knew about the scrapbook Lillian kept with Luke's achievements. They sensed the loss of something that never was — he never came home, never married, there were no children.

For the nieces and nephews of Logan, that smoldering sadness caused them to find a way to memorialize an uncle they never knew.

Sanders, who lives in Big Timber, saw a news item in The Billings Gazette about Sen. Jon Tester of Montana urging the Navy to name a submarine after the Big Sky State. She thought, "There should be something on the (USS) Montana to memorialize those from Montana who gave their life on a submarine."

Logan was one of at least two Montanans who perished in the sinking of the Argonaut. Stanley Carlisle, who was born in Yellowstone County, also died, although he was raised in Wichita, Kansas. 

One group, "On Eternal Patrol" — a term given to those who die while serving in a submarine — has attempted to collect a list of all U.S. submariners lost. The group's goal is to put a story and face behind every one of the lost men. Sixteen thousand men served on submarines during World War II, and more than 3,500 died. On Eternal Patrol lists 39 Montanans among those killed. 

The Gazette contacted the U.S. Navy regarding the possibility of putting a plaque in the new USS Montana. Responses to those inquiries went unanswered.

Tester said he supports the idea.

"As the Defense Department builds the USS Montana, it would be fitting to honor the lives of the Montana submariners who died in service to this nation," Tester said. "As a state and nation we can never forget the sacrifices that these servicemembers and their families made to protect our freedom and way of life.”

Now, the family is hoping to add those names to something permanent, even if just a small plaque or memorial can be put up in the next USS Montana, when it's commissioned in 2019.

"I think my grandmother would be happy that (Luke) is not forgotten," Sanders said. "It's a way for us to continue to remember him."

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect the correct number of casualties on the USS Argonaut and a higher number of U.S. Navy submariners who have died in service. 

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