Monday, July 30, 2007

The Indianapolis goes down.

On July 30, 1945, after completing a top secret mission to deliver parts of the atom bomb "Little Boy," which would be dropped on Hiroshima, the battle cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained, undetected by the navy, for nearly five days. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to survive, fighting off hypothermia, sharks, physical and mental exhaustion, and, finally, hallucinatory dementia. By the time rescue -- which was purely accidental -- arrived, all but 321 men had lost their lives; 4 more would die in military hospitals shortly thereafter.

Here is a link to the page In Harm's Way which is a fine book about the sinking of the big I. This has always been one of the most compelling stories from a war that I ever heard. These guys that lived through this are incredible. They have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and lived. The worst thing I can think of is dying by being burnt to death. A close second is being eaten by sharks. I guess thats why I think about this story so much. That and the fact that Jaws scared the living crap out of me and the following clip is one of the first speeches I can remember from movies. Enjoy and remember those who made it and those who didn't. God bless all of you.


Pat said...

Have you been watching Shark Week too? I ended up reading about the Indianapolis myself for a few hours yesterday. I figured it wasn't a coincidence.

Historical Wit said...

Actually I haven't been watching shark week yet this year, but you are the second person that asked me, so i will probably tune in tonight. Last night I was preoccupied with a some art we commissioned.