"There is no question that the loss of USS Indianapolis is one of the blackest episodes in the history of the US Navy. But I also believe that even in loss and tragedy, there are examples of extraordinary valor and sacrifice that deserve to be remembered, that serve as an inspiration to Sailors today and in the future, and there are lessons learned that must be preserved and passed on, and are relevant even now."
- Sam Cox, Rear Admiral, USN (ret.), Director, Naval History and Heritage Command
The USS Indianapolis served President Roosevelt as ship of state, and Admiral Spruance as the 5th Fleet flagship in WWII. She fought gallantly through many campaigns, earning ten battle stars. Her final top secret mission was to carry parts of the first atomic bomb used in combat to a U.S. air base on Tinian. Just a few nights later, on July 30th , she fell prey to a Japanese submarine. In the next twelve minutes of fire and chaos, about 330 of her crew would be lost with the ship, and the rest--some 860 men--would be left alone in the Pacific in the middle of the night. For the next 5 days, without food or water, the crew battled the elements, dodged shark attacks, and clung to life as best they could.
Her sinking led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. Of the 1,195 sailors and marines on board, only 316 survived.
There are 2 remaining survivors alive today.
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