USS Indianapolis Crew Awarded Congressional Medal on 75th Anniversary of Sinking


Congress has awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest honor, to crew members of the USS Indianapolis, the ship that delivered key components of the first nuclear bomb and was later sunk by Japan during World War II.

The ship, with 1,195 personnel aboard, delivered enriched uranium and other parts of the atomic bomb ‘‘Little Boy” that was later dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945.

Four days after delivering its top secret cargo, the ship was sunk by Japanese torpedoes on July 30, 1945. Of nearly 900 men who went into the Philippine Sea, just 316 survived before being rescued nearly five days later.

The death toll of 879 made the sinking the largest single disaster at sea in U.S. Navy history.

Survivors were stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water, enduring severe burns, dehydration and shark attacks.

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

“In an instant, her crew went from fighting the battles without to fighting the battles within,” according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of a host of congressional and Navy leaders who spoke at Thursday’s virtual ceremony honoring the eight surviving crew members on the 75th anniversary of the sinking.

The Gold Medal was awarded to the ship’s entire crew, living and dead, and will be displayed at the Indiana War Memorial Museum in Indianapolis.

After the sinking, the crew “fought to stay alert, to look after each other — literally to hold on for dear life,” McConnell said.

“Those who perished in the water gave our nation the ultimate sacrifice … but the true legacy of the Indianapolis was secured before those torpedoes struck,” McConnell said.

“Her crew turned the tide of the war. So to her crew members who are still standing watch: Your Congress and your nation say thank you.”

Retired Navy Capt. William Toti, who led a nuclear submarine named in honor of the Indianapolis, said the Gold Medal honors the crew’s accomplishments — not the fact that the ship was sunk.

The medal “recognizes a fighting ship’s crew, one that helped end the most terrible war this world has ever known,” Toti said.

He called the crew members ”among the best the United States Navy has to offer.”

None of the crew members would call himself a hero, Toti added, “but they would all say they served in a crew of heroes.”

California Jewelry Store Cancels Insurance Plan After It Gets Too Expensive - Owners Hit with a Gut Punch as Armed Gang Entered

Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite addressed the surviving crew members directly, saying, “All Americans owe you a forever debt of gratitude.”

Braithwaite called the sinking “one of the darkest chapters in our Naval history” and said, “We can never forget the astounding grit and bravery shown by those who lived to tell the tale” or “the important lessons our Navy learned from that tragedy.”

The crew members epitomized the Navy’s ethos of service above self, Braithwaite said.

“Your service, your sacrifice embodied the core tenets of our Navy: honor, courage and commitment. We the Navy salute you and thank you for your service. Bravo Zulu shipmates.”

[jwplayer UkKVQKrH]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City