Topic

world war ii

10 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to Mike Bishop, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Gary J. Palmer, Terri A. Sewell, Don Young, Amata Radewagen

Help secure a Congressional Gold Medal for the ship and crew of the USS Indianapolis CA-35

Time is running out for the remaining 14 living USS Indianapolis (CA-35) survivors to be recognized for their World War II heroism.  We need you to reach out to your House Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the gold medal nomination legislation, H.R. 4107.   Below is an excerpt from Preserving their Valor, by John Andrew Prime. This month marks the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. Navy's second-most-deadly warship loss of World War II: the July 30, 1945, sinking of heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) by a Japanese submarine.  With a casualty roster of 880, the tragedy bookends the war, with the loss of 1,177 on USS Arizona (BB-39) at Pearl Harbor the other - and deadliest - loss.  Arizona, however, had never fired a shot in anger.  Indianapolis is the U.S. Navy's deadliest loss in combat and at sea, and it played a significant role in the Pacific theater, earning 10 battle stars. The Path to Infamy Indianapolis' war record began in 1942 with the Bougainville and Salamaua-Lae raids supporting Guadalcanal operations and the 1943 support of Kiska and Attu action in the Aleutians, followed by Gilbert Islands operations that same year.  The next year, 1944, was full of action for the ship: engagments at the Marshall Islands, the Kwajalein and Majuro atolls, and the Eniwetok and Asiatic-Pacific Raids; Yap, Palau, Ulithi, Woleai, and the Battle of the Phillippine Sea; the capture of Saipan, Guam, and Tinian; and operations in the Western Carolina Islands.  In 1945, in the months leading up up to its loss, the "Indy" participated in Japanese home islands raids, Honshu and Nansei Shoto, and the invasion of Okinawa. On March 31, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa, Indianapolis was severely damaged by a kamikaze.  A bomb holed the hull, bent a propeller shaft, and killed nine sailors, wounding 26 others.  It steamed on its own power back to Mare Island, California, for repairs, setting the stage for its final mission. After receiving extensive repairs, Indianapolis was tapped for a secret mission: to transport the atomic bomb to Tinian Island, where it would then be flown to Japan to be dropped on Hiroshima.  No one on board - not even Capt. Charles McVay III, the ships skipper - knew why Indianapolis, a "treaty" heavy cruiser whose displacement and power allowed it to slice the the water faster that just about any in service, was chosen.  They were ordered to travel at flank speed, making the 7,500 mile passage to Tinian in 10 days at an average speed of 29 knots, setting a record that still stands. "Obviously, the crew were aware of the rush in preps and the actual transit," says Capt. John Woolston, USN (Ret), 93 a MOAA Life Member and Indy survivor who lives in Hawaii.  "I think that almost everyone connected our speed with the guarded boxes in the port hanger.  I saw the bomb parts come aboard but did not see where they took it." After delivering the guts of two atomic bombs, the ship was ordered to the Philippines for routine gunnery practice.  Instead, it sailed into destiny. Halfway to the Philippines, Indianapolis encountered the Japanese submarine I-58, which fired six torpedoes.  Two struck the starboard side; the first tore off its bow, and the second detonated near a magazine and a fuel bunker.  The ship sank in 12 minutes, taking around 300 men with her.  The almost 900 who survived - many clad only in skivvies or waterlogged life jackets - went into the Pacific, where they suffered for almost five days before rescue.  Burns, exposure, delirium, salt-water ingestion, and shark attacks claimed the lives of at least 500 more men. In the end, only 316 made it home. For a timeline of the Indianapolis tragedy, a final crew list, and recommended reading, go to www.moaa.org/indianapolis

Dana Walton
77 supporters