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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | July 30, 2008

July 30, 1945 – The USS Indianapolis Torpedoed

On this day in 1945, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sinks within minutes in shark-infested waters. Only 317 of the 1,196 men on board survived. However, the Indianapolis had already completed its major mission: the delivery of key components of the atomic bomb that would be dropped a week later at Hiroshima to Tinian Island in the South Pacific.

The Indianapolis made its delivery to Tinian Island on July 26, 1945. The mission was top secret and the ship’s crew was unaware of its cargo. After leaving Tinian, the Indianapolis sailed to the U.S. military’s Pacific headquarters at Guam and was given orders to meet the battleship USS Idaho at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan.

Shortly after midnight on July 30, halfway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, a Japanese sub blasted the Indianapolis, sparking an explosion that split the ship and caused it to sink in approximately 12 minutes, with about 300 men trapped inside. Another 900 went into the water, where many died from drowning, shark attacks, dehydration or injuries from the explosion. Help did not arrive until four days later, on August 2, when an anti-submarine plane on routine patrol happened upon the men and radioed for assistance. (H/

This was a terrible tragedy that was made all the more terrible when the Navy kept the story under wraps until August 15th. Apparently, no one wanted to mention it for fear of taking the spotlight away from President Truman’s announcement of Japan’s surrender. Nice.

Topics: HHH | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Old Soldier Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that many died for us. Even though this was two years before I was born, I still thank them. My Daddy was in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and I am pround of that fact. I wish more folks nowadays would take the time to remember out past sacrafices.

  2. ArkieRN Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    The Navy totally screwed Captain McVay with that court martial. It’s a shame that a Proud American Naval officer was used as a scapegoat that way.

  3. USA_Admiral Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    The story of the USS Indianapolis is a amazing one.

  4. Typicalwhitey Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Amazing story Wyatt!
    How are you feeling btw?

  5. Paradise Driver Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    My dad’s best friend was a survivor of this tragic event and my first name, William, was bestowed in honor to him. Just a bit of useless trivia.

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Old Soldier – I think people remember part of the story during Robert Shaw’s speech in Jaws, but I wasn’t sure enough people knew the entire tale.

    ArkieRM – And Congress didn’t clear him until 2000. Far too late, in my opinion.

    Admiral – Yes, it is.

    TW – Today is my first day back to work. I took off sick on Monday and Tuesday. Still in pain, and a little dizzy occasionally, but I’m slowly getting back to normal. Thanks for asking!

    P.D. – Trivia, but not useless. I’ll bet you’re proud of your namesake.

  7. Deanna Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Loving these history highlights.

  8. ArkieRN Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Congress may have cleared him but the court-martial is still on his military record as there exists no process for overturning a military court verdict.

  9. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 31st, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Deanna – Thank you. I like them, too. Nice break from the hot babes.

    ArkieRN – I did not know that. What a disgrace.

  10. Rick Says:
    July 31st, 2008 at 12:36 am

    The Navy even had the Captn. of the Sub to testify at Captn. McVay’s court martial.It has never happened before or since. John Kennedy lost his ship through his neglect. But due to Papa Joe’s clout. He was not court martialed. But became a hero and President. A double standard if you ask me.

  11. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Rick – And I am truly shocked at that. /Sarc