How The USS Indianapolis Became The Worst Sea Disaster In US Naval History

Jul 25, 2019

In the summer of 2017, the wreckage of U.S.S. Indianapolis, a Navy cruiser, was discovered some 18,000 feet under the Philippine Sea.


Only weeks before being sunk by two Japanese torpedoes in July 1945, this star of the U.S. fleet had completed a top-secret mission: delivering the core components of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima to Tinian Island. Of the nearly 1,200 men on board, around 300 perished in the attack. The remaining 900 men spent five days in shark-infested waters. Only 316 were saved, after an aviator happened to spot them. 

Those horrific days are notably recounted in Robert Shaw's monologue in the movie "Jaws," but a book published last year exposes what really happened that day. "Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the 50-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man" authors Sara Vladic and Lynn Vincent spoke with On Second Thought.

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