On July 26, 1945, the USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
delivered key components for the world’s first operational
atomic bomb to the island of Tinian in the South Pacific. After
completing this mission, the cruiser proceeded to the Philippines,
to participate in war activities and the pending invasion of Japan.
A few minutes after midnight on July 30, 1945,
the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine
I-58 and sank into the sea in just 12 minutes, taking 297 men with
her. Approximately 900 of the original 1,197 men on board were
left floating in darkness, without lifeboats, in shark-infested
waters. Due to communications problems, the ship was never missed.
By the time the survivors were spotted by chance four and a half
days later, only 317 were left; the other crew members were victims
of injury, exposure and shark attacks.
The USS Indianapolis deserves a place
in history not just as one of the worst at sea naval disasters
in history, but also for its pivotal role during and at the ending
of World War II. The ship, a 610 foot, 9,800-ton Portland class
heavy cruiser was commissioned in 1932. She was selected
as his “Ship of State” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
During the war, the USS Indianapolis became the Flagship
of the Fifth Fleet, endured a Kamikaze attack and was part of some
of the most decisive battles of the war and earned 10 battle stars.
The USS Indianapolis Museum, located
in the ship’s namesake city, will provide a permanent home
for the archives, artifacts and memories of all the men who served
on this historic cruiser from 1932 to 1945.
The history of the USS Indianapolis must
be remembered and memorialized for future generations. The time
to do so is now—while some survivors are still with us. The
story must be told to educate future generations about the sacrifices
these heroes made for the "cost of freedom."
Crewmen display the Presidential
Flag below the ship's brass data plaque, as she carried President
Franklin D. Roosevelt on his "Good Neighbor" cruise to
South America in late November 1936.
The USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Museum is a
non-profit 501 c3 organization established in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Commissioning celebration Nov.
1932. (l. to r.) Mrs. W.R. Sinclair (sister of Lucy Taggert),
Evelyn Chambers (niece of Lucy Taggert), Miss Lucy Taggert,
commissioning sponsor (daughter of Senator Thomas Taggert)
and former Mayor of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Mayor, Reginald
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
on board the USS Indianapolis enters New York Harbor for
the Presidential Review of the Atlantic Fleet, 1934.
Map identifying the location
of the sinking.