Jump to content

Remembering the USS Indianapolis


doyler
 Share

Recommended Posts

from on line:

 

77 years ago tonight, the USS Indianapolis CA-35 Sailors and Marines stood watch, played card games, wrote letters, and went to bed one last time aboard their ship

Shortly after midnight on July 30th, 1945, two torpedoes from Japan's I-58 submarine slammed into Indy's starboard side and sank her in 12 minutes

1,195 men went into the water.

Nobody received their SOS calls

Five days later, only 316 were still alive.

Explosions, drowning, shark attacks, dehydration, and psychiatric breaks/hallucinations took the rest

Today, we have only two USS Indianapolis Survivors still living; Harold Bray (95) & Cleatus Lebow (98)

Text by Kim Roller

Picture - USS Indianapolis CA-35 at sea painted in MS32 sometime in 1944

From the TimeLIFE Archives

 

 

USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy, named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Launched in 1931, it was the flagship for the commander of Scouting Force 1 for eight years, then flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance in 1943 and 1944 while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific during World War II.

In July 1945, Indianapolis completed a top-secret high-speed trip to deliver uranium and other components for "Little Boy", the first of two nuclear weapons ever used in combat, to the United States Army Air Force Base on the island of Tinian, and subsequently departed for the Philippines on training duty. At 0015 on 30 July, the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58, and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,195 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.[4] The remaining 890 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 316 survived.

The sinking of Indianapolis resulted in the greatest loss of life at sea from a single ship in the history of the US Navy.[a] On 19 August 2017, a search team financed by the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen located the wreckage in the Philippine Sea lying at a depth of approximately 18,000 ft (5,500 m). On 20 December, 2018, the crew of the Indianapolis was collectively awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

 

 

296370171_543230377596559_4534696122383902766_n.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thor996

Thank you for posting this Ron. May they NEVER be forgotten. May they all rest in peace. Such a horrible tragedy.

 

Sadly only two men of the 316 rescued are still alive.

 

My wife and I had the honor to be able to attend the Survivors reunion in Fredericksburg Texas this past May at the National Museum of the Pacific War. The last two survivors, Harold Bray and Cleatus Lebow both attending.  It was the first reunion since 2019- the Pandemic prevented the 75th and 76th reunions from happening live and in person [virtual reunions were held in lieu]. 

 

 

 

image.png

image.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blacksmith

Thor, your pics remind me of one that I saw of another USS Indianapolis survivor, now passed, Mr. Jim Jarvis.

 

He had a shirt that read “USS Indianapolis Swim Team”, and would reportedly wear it with shorts with sharks on them.

 

My kind of guy.  God bless them all.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thor996
6 hours ago, Blacksmith said:

Thor, your pics remind me of one that I saw of another USS Indianapolis survivor, now passed, Mr. Jim Jarvis.

 

He had a shirt that read “USS Indianapolis Swim Team”, and would reportedly wear it with shorts with sharks on them.

 

My kind of guy.  God bless them all.

 

 

 

 

The late, great Jim Jarvis signing my book '317' for me at the 2018 reunion in his 'Swim Team' tee shirt. Jim had a great sense of humor. I can't recall the shark shorts nor do I have a photo of him in them, but that would not surprise me one single bit. The group photo is from 2017 the year we went to our first Indianapolis Reunion. Jim is there in shorts and I can't tell from the photo but I would lay a bet those are sharks on his shorts.

 

From L to R

 

Arthur Leenerman, John Woolston, Dick Thelen, Harold Bray, Cleatus Lebow, Jim Jarvis and Edgar Harrell USMC

 

Another fellow who had a great sense of humor and could make jokes about the whole tragedy was the late great, Dick Thelen. 

 

 

image.png

image.png

20369496_1513792255351233_852974741051072965_o.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blacksmith
1 hour ago, Thor996 said:

 

 

The late, great Jim Jarvis signing my book '317' for me at the 2018 reunion in his 'Swim Team' tee shirt. Jim had a great sense of humor. I can't recall the shark shorts nor do I have a photo of him in them, but that would not surprise me one single bit. The group photo is from 2017 the year we went to our first Indianapolis Reunion. Jim is there in shorts and I can't tell from the photo but I would lay a bet those are sharks on his shorts.

 

From L to R

 

Arthur Leenerman, John Woolston, Dick Thelen, Harold Bray, Cleatus Lebow, Jim Jarvis and Edgar Harrell USMC

 

Another fellow who had a great sense of humor and could make jokes about the whole tragedy was the late great, Dick Thelen. 

 

 

image.png

image.png

20369496_1513792255351233_852974741051072965_o.jpg

Thank you so much for posting those pics.  
 

I bet those are his shark shorts - that is fantastic.  I am glad you got a chance to mingle with those gents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...