USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35)
A Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy. She was named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the flagship of Admiral Raymond Spruance while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific.
Her sinking led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. On 30 July 1945, after a high-speed trip to deliver parts for Little Boy, the first atomic bomb used in combat, to the United States air base at Tinian, the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58 while on her way to the Philippines, sinking in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived.
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I was on the USS FLETCHER (DD 992) for her maiden WestPac deployment in 1981. We were ISE and the Skipper decided to stop at the approximate Lat/Long that INDIANAPOLIS sank. We came to all stop, Captain came over the 1 MC to pay tribute by having a moment of silence and said a short prayer. Immediately after he announced “Swim Call”. So, we set a shark watch, threw cargo nets over the side and dove in, while the bridge played music from the movie Jaws over the 1 MC.