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U.S.S. Indianapolis

In July 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis departed Mare Island Naval Shipyard on the way to Tinian Island on a secret mission to deliver the parts to be assembled there for the atomic bombs that were ultimately dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Following delivery, the Indianapolis briefly stopped at Guam for resupply prior to returning to Leyte in the Philippines.

On the 26 th of July 1945, on the way to Leyte, the Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. The ship was 600 miles west of Guam, having exited that port with no information that Japanese submarines were operating along the route to Leyte. This was known in the Guam Operations Office, but was not passed to the Commanding Officer of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles Butler McVay. From the time of being torpedoed to sinking was only 12 minutes. Of the crew of 1,196 only 316 survived. Captain McVay survived the sinking, and the ordeal of five days in the water. He was later brought up on charges of negligence, but was later exonerated by Secretary of the Navy Forrestal. Captain McVay retired from the Navy as a Real Admiral in 1949, but unable to accept the emotional loss of his ship and crew, in 1968 he committed suicide. In retrospect, Captain McVay and the Indianapolis were victims of a series of uncontrollable events.

Jennings Bunn

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