The Loss of the USS Indianapolis
The story of the USS Indianapolis is one of the most intriguing in American history. During World War II, the navy ship and crew went on a mission to Tinian Island to deliver pieces of equipment for the atomic bomb. Little did the crew know that after their mission was accomplished they would face attacks by sharks, hunger, thirst, and threat of drowning. Out of the 1,196 people on board ship, only 316 crewmembers survived the terrible sinking of the USS Indianapolis into the Philippine Sea. The following article is provided as a public service by Action Donation Services® who processes donated boats, watercraft, and yachts for some of America’s finest charities. This article gives some background on the USS Indianapolis and its memorable story.
- History of the USS Indianapolis
- Profile of the USS Indianapolis
The USS Indianapolis was launched in 1931. It was the second ship to carry the name of the city of Indianapolis in Indiana. The first captain of the USS Indianapolis was a man by the name of Captain John Smeallie. One of the most famous dignitaries to travel on the USS Indianapolis was President Roosevelt. He traveled on the ship twice. The second time, the USS Indianapolis had the privilege of taking him on a voyage to South America in 1936. Years later, the USS Indianapolis would begin its important service in World War II.
- Summary of a Book on the USS Indianapolis
- Facts about the USS Indianapolis
- Review of a Book about the USS Indianapolis
- Information on Naval Losses in WWII
The USS Indianapolis was involved in many notable fights during WWII. Along with other American ships, the USS Indianapolis survived an attack by Japanese aircraft in the South Pacific in 1942. Later, in 1943, the ship was involved in the occupation at Amchitka. The USS Indianapolis also protected American troops at Kwajalein Lagoon in February 1944. In short, the USS Indianapolis had seen many battles before its final sail in 1945.
In 1945, Captain Charles Mcvay III and the crew of the USS Indianapolis were given the mission to sail to Tinian to deliver parts for the atomic bomb. The delivery included enriched uranium material that would also be used in the bomb’s construction. The USS Indianapolis had delivered parts that would be used for the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. After completing the mission on July 26, 1945, the ship sailed to Guam to pick up some new crewmembers. Then, on route to Leyte for training, two torpedoes launched by a submarine belonging to the Japanese hit the USS Indianapolis. The ship took on water and sank in approximately twelve minutes. The crew of 1,196 men was reduced to approximately 800 after 300 drowned as the ship submerged. Not surprisingly, the remaining supply of food and water didn’t meet the needs of the 800 plus men who floated anxiously around the site of the disaster. Furthermore, the men were forced to endure exposure to the cold water, saltwater wounds, and periodic shark attacks as they awaited rescue. The navy was unaware that the USS Indianapolis was missing. Four horrific days later, a pilot who happened to be flying in the area radioed for help and began to rescue survivors. Only 316 men ended up surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. There were seemingly many mistakes and miscommunications that led to the demise of the USS Indianapolis, but it was Captain McVay who received a court-martial. But, after further investigation, he was exonerated many years later.
- Interview with a Survivor of USS Indianapolis
- Background of the Mission of the USS Indianapolis
- List of Crew Members USS Indianapolis
- Photographs of USS Indianapolis Crew
There are still many people who learn about the story of the USS Indianapolis by listening to the words of a character named Quint, in the movie Jaws. Played by actor Robert Shaw, Quint reveals to Chief Brody and an oceanographer that he was a crewmember on the USS Indianapolis. His monologue creates a vivid picture of the four days that the ship’s surviving crew members spent in the water. He describes the way the sharks would come and drag men away from the scene leaving a cloud of blood in the water. Quint’s recollection of those four days leaves audience members with an eerie, terrifying impression of what those men endured.
The unforgettable story of the USS Indianapolis has been written about and preserved on film. Decades later, by listening to the recollections of survivors such as L.D. Cox, a person is able to picture the horrific events of those four days.