Historical Sketch of
Text from Principal Investigator
Named for the largest city and capitol of Indiana, the cruiser
(CA-35) was commissioned 15 November 1932. Beginning
in 1933 she served as flagship of the Scouting Force and frequently bore
President Roosevelt on his travels.
When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941,
was making a simulated bombardment of Johnston Island.
She immediately joined Task Force 12 that was searching for the Japanese
carriers that had launched the attack on 7 December.
arrived in Pearl Harbor on 13 December and joined Task Force 11 for future
operations against the enemy.
Between August 1942 and February 1943 she participated in the attacks on
the Japanese positions in the Aleutian Islands leading to the capture of
Attu and Kiska in May and August 1943.
then became the
flagship for Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance commanding the 5th Fleet. Her
first action was the assault on the Gilbert Islands of Tarawa and Makin
Islands leading to their capture in November 1943. In January - February
1944 she participated in the Marshall, Caroline, Palau, and Marianas
Islands campaigns. She fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea of 19
June 1944 known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot." In February - March
joined Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's fast carrier
task force's attack on Tokyo that supported the American invasions of Iwo
Jima and Okinawa where she succeeded in shooting down a number of kamikazes
that threatened the invasion force. One kamikaze succeeded in causing
severe damage requiring repairs in the United States.
In July 1945, after repairs in the United States,
returned to action on a secret mission carrying parts and nuclear material
for the atomic bombs to be used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After
delivering her top secret cargo,
sailed for Leyte
intending to proceed to Okinawa. Early in the morning of 30 July, however,
she was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-58. Two torpedoes struck the
ship and she capsized and sank within 12 minutes.
Most of the crew survived the sinking but were left swimming due to a
shortage of life rafts. Furthermore, through a tragic mix-up,
was not reported missing immediately. It was not until
four days later, on 2 August, that rescuers sighted the survivors on the
few rafts that had been cut free before the ship went down. Many of those
who had survived the initial sinking of the ship were killed by swarms of
sharks that circled the survivors the whole time they were in the water.
When the last survivors were picked up, on 8 August, only 316 of the 1,199
men in the crew were saved. Neither Captain Charles B. McVay, III, the
commander of the
nor any other personnel were found
guilty of any blame for the failure to properly report the failure of the
ship to arrive in Leyte on schedule.
earned 10 battle
stars for her actions in World War II which ended only two weeks after she
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
vols., (Navy Department, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History
Division, Washington, DC, 1963), Volume III, pp.432-436.
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