What Happened to the Wreckage of the USS Indianapolis?

In July 1945, the USS Indianapolis had just made a secret delivery of components and enriched uranium for the atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” that would obliterate Hiroshima, Japan, a week later. The crew of roughly 1,200 sailors then headed towards the Philippines to join other U.S. Navy ships in preparation for an all-out assault on Japan in the waning days of World War II. Around midnight on 30 July 1945, two Japanese submarine torpedoes tore into the 610-foot (186-m) warship, sinking it in just 12 minutes. The location of the wreckage remained unknown until August 2017, when a team financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen discovered the USS Indianapolis at a depth of 18,000 feet (5,500 m) on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

All that, and a court-martial:

  • About 880 sailors survived the sinking, taking refuge in a few lifeboats. But it took four days for the Navy to find them, and by then only 317 men were still alive. The rest had drowned or had died from dehydration, salt water poisoning, or shark attacks.
  • It was the greatest loss of life at sea, from a single ship, in the history of the U.S. Navy. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted by the crew of a Navy plane on a routine patrol.
  • Charles B. McVay III, commanding officer of the USS Indianapolis, was among those rescued. In November 1945, he was court-martialed and convicted of “hazarding his ship by failing to zig-zag.”
More Info: CNN

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