USS INDIANAPOLIS

I’m passing on the funny-funny, ha-ha, freaky neighbors, sports stuff for one day to post this.
 
I’m not sure if any of you have heard this story.  I had, but I forgot….  and I won’t again!
 
It’s a long read and read at your descretion!  This is SOOOOO sad!!! I hope you take the time to read…. 
 
It was difficult for me to post….!
 
 
 
USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was a Portland-class cruiser of the United States Navy. She holds a place in history due to the notorious circumstances of her demise, which was the worst single loss of life at-sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. After delivering critical parts for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat to the United States air base at Tinian Island on July 26, 1945, she was in the Philippine Sea when attacked at 00:14 on July 30, 1945 by a Japanese submarine. Most of the crew was lost to a combination of exposure, dehydration, and shark attacks as they waited for assistance while floating for five days. Indianapolis was one of the last U.S. Navy ships sunk by enemy action in World War II (the submarine USS Bullhead  (SS-332) was attacked by Japanese aircraft with depth charges and sunk on August 6, 1945).
 
The Indianapolis received orders to proceed to Tinian island, carrying parts and the uranium projectile for the atomic bomb "Little Boy" which would later be dropped on Hiroshima. The Indianapolis departed San Francisco on July 16. Arriving at Pearl Harbor July 19, she raced on unaccompanied and arrived in Tinian on July 26. After delivering her top secret cargo to Tinian, the Indianapolis was sent to Guam where a number of the crew who had completed their tours of duty were replaced by other sailors. Leaving Guam on July 28, she began sailing toward Leyte where her crew was to receive training before continuing on to Okinawa to join Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf‘s Task Force 95. However, at 00:14 on July 30, 1945, two large explosions on the vessel’s starboard side caused massive damage to Indianapolis. Twelve minutes later—as a result of the unexpected, two-torpedo attack by the Japanese submarine I-58 under the command of Mochitsura Hashimoto—the USS Indianapolis sank. The Japanese vessel had gone undetected prior to the attack due to the lack of effective submarine imaging equipment on the American ship.
 

While the Indianapolis sent distress calls before sinking, the Navy long claimed that they were never received because the ship was operating under a policy of radio silence; declassified records show that three SOS messages were received separately, but none were acted upon because one commander was drunk, another had ordered his men not to disturb him and a third thought it was a Japanese prank.[3]

The subsequent delay of the rescue mission led to the loss of hundreds of sailors. About 300 of the 1,196 men on board died in the attack. The rest of the crew, 880 men, floated in the water without lifeboats until the rescue was completed four days later. Three hundred and twenty-one crew came out of the water alive, with 317 ultimately surviving. They suffered from lack of food and water, exposure to the elements, severe desquamation, and shark attacks. The Discovery Channel has stated that the Indianapolis sinking resulted in the most shark attacks on humans in history, and attributes the attacks to the oceanic whitetip shark species. The same show attributed most of the deaths on the Indianapolis to exposure, salt poisoning and thirst, with the dead being dragged off by sharks.

Immediately prior to the attack, the seas had been moderate; the visibility fluctuating but poor in general; Indianapolis had been steaming at 17 knots (31 km/h). When the ship did not reach Leyte on the 31st, as scheduled, no report was made that she was overdue. This omission was due to a misunderstanding of the Movement Report System. Thus it was not until 10:25 on August 2 that the survivors were accidentally sighted by pilot Lieutenant Wilber (Chuck) Gwinn and copilot Lieutenant Warren Colwell on a routine patrol flight. The survivors were mostly held afloat by life jackets, although there were a few rafts which had been cut loose before the ship went down. Gwinn immediately dropped a life raft and a radio transmitter. All air and surface units capable of rescue operations were dispatched to the scene at once.

A PBY seaplane under the command of LT. R. Adrian Marks was dispatched to lend assistance and report. Enroute to the scene, Marks overflew the destroyer escort USS Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368) and alerted her captain, future U.S. Secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor, Jr., of the emergency. On his own authority, Claytor decided to divert to the scene.

Arriving hours ahead of the Doyle, Marks’ crew began dropping rubber rafts and supplies. While so engaged, they observed men being attacked by sharks. Disregarding standing orders not to land at sea, Marks landed and began taxiing to pick up the stragglers and lone swimmers who were at greatest risk of shark attack. Learning the men were the crew of the Indianapolis, he radioed the news, requesting immediate assistance. The Doyle responded she was enroute. When the plane’s fuselage was full, survivors were tied to the wings with parachute cord, damaging the wings so that the plane would never fly again and had to be sunk. Marks and his crew rescued 56 men that day.

Survivors of the USS Indianapolis on Guam, in August 1945.

Survivors of the USS Indianapolis on Guam, in August 1945.

The Cecil Doyle was the first vessel on the scene. Homing on Marks’ PBY in total darkness, the Doyle halted to avoid killing or further injuring survivors, and began taking Marks’ survivors aboard. Disregarding the safety of his own vessel, Captain Claytor pointed his largest searchlight into the night sky to serve as a beacon for other rescue vessels. This beacon was the first indication to most survivors that rescuers had arrived.

Destroyers USS Helm (DD-388), USS Madison (DD-425) and USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) were ordered to the rescue scene from Ulithi, along with the destroyer escort USS Dufilho (DE-423) plus attack transports USS Bassett (APD-73) and USS Ringness (LPR-100) from the Philippine Frontier. They searched thoroughly for any survivors until August 8. Of the 900 sailors who made it into the water, only 317 were pulled out alive. After almost five days of constant shark attacks, starvation, terrible thirst, suffering from exposure and their wounds, the men of the Indianapolis were at last rescued from the sea.

Captain Charles Butler McVay III, who had commanded Indianapolis since November 1944, survived the sinking, and was with those rescued days later. In November 1945, he was court-martialed and convicted of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag." Several things about the court-martial were controversial. There was evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm’s way, in that McVay’s orders were to "zigzag at his discretion, weather permitting." Further, Mochitsura Hashimoto, commander of I-58, testified that zigzagging would have made no difference.[4]

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz remitted McVay’s sentence and restored him to active duty. McVay retired in 1949.[5] While many of the Indianapolis survivors said McVay was not to blame for the sinking, the families of some of the men who died did. The guilt that was placed on his shoulders mounted until he committed suicide in 1968.[6]

The exact location of the Indianapolis is unknown. In July and August 2001 an expedition sought to find the wreckage through the use of side-scan sonar and underwater cameras mounted on a remotely operated vehicle; four Indianapolis survivors accompanied the expedition, which was not successful. In June 2005, a second expedition was led to find the wreck; National Geographic covered the story and released it in July. Submersibles were launched to find any sign of wreckage. The only things ever found—which have not been confirmed to have belonged to the Indianapolis—were many chunks of metal found in the area of the reported sinking position (this was included in the National Geographic program Finding of the USS Indianapolis).

Many have claimed that the Indianapolis cannot be found. She was carrying quite a few explosives on board and was reported to have gone down burning. Many believe that she perhaps exploded after sinking beneath the waves. On top of this, the area in which she sank has some of the deepest spots in the world. The expedition led in 2005 found no actual bulk of the wreck, no deckhouses, turrets, or hull. This has not discouraged some shipwreck hunters who are bent on finding one of World War II’s most famous ships.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Well……..!  After That!! (Sorry but I had to post it!!), at least one more Moody Blues song!!  Thinking……………………!

Wait!!!   I have to play this one!!   ’10 CC’!!   Obscure (One hit wonder!) , but I LOVE it and after all, it’s my space!!  Right??  LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!   BTW! The background vocalists??  Justin Hayward and John Lodge from the Moody Blues!!  Both LEAD SINGERS!!!

Interesting!! Amatuer musicologist that I am!!  LISTEN!!

 

 

 

 
 
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to USS INDIANAPOLIS

  1. Beth says:

    I remember reading about this quite a while ago.  Sad.

  2. renay says:

    really sad read about it sometime ago.

  3. Joe says:

    I’ve sailed on the Philippine Sea and been to Leyte several times.  That is a scary ocean on a small boat and oh yes, I can tell you there are many shark fins there reminding you that they are waiting for an easy meal which could easily be any human being who would find themselves in the water for whatever the reason.  It’s stunningly beautiful but at the same time sobering to think of those that have lost there lives in the very place where I’ve been.  Many end up being shipwrecked on ferries that continue to set sail in the typhoon season…it gives me the shivers just thinking about what a fate that could have been.

  4. Carol says:

    My neighbor who died last year was aboard that ship and it changed his life forever. He made it home alive and retired from the navy after that. He went on to be a mason and did the best brickwork in 3 counties. Didn’t they make a movie about this too??  I think so.. anyway.. nice to remember those who died.  : )

  5. klaus says:

    As you know, I look at this war from the other side. But I still find it very sad, even more so, considering that victory was a foregone conclusion by then…the extra lives lost, just weeks before the end of hostilities, is even more saddening. And of all the ways "to go"…this must be the worst I can imagine.Have a good day my friend

  6. BRIDGET says:

    Thanks for posting that Bob.  I found it very interesting and haunting.  When I was school-aged I could have cared less about history…but now that I’m older I have a profoud respect and interest in learning about things such as this.  Again, thank you for posting it.

  7. sweeti's says:

    Hi Bob
    i watch National  Geographic a lot
    its been some weeks  .that we saw  the  sonar method  
    The way to find  shipwrecks
    God bless  those  who died  and  the families who stayed   behind
    good luck  btw  with ur neighbours  Bob
    MJ
    a tight huggy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s