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david leigh-smith
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Peace at last for the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families.

August 22, 2017 · in News · · 6 · 1.5K

In a world where it can be easy to succumb to cynicism through pessimistic images and events, there was some great news this week that after 72 years the Indianapolis was found at rest in the Philippine Sea. A civilian crew headed by Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) found her, and I can only imagine at the emotions of the twenty two surviving crew members, or the relief of the families of the men who died serving her.

I know a lot of the reason we model is to pay tribute, and it's a great day that sees brave men find a recognised, respected, and hallowed final resting place.

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

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6 responses

  1. Nice photo of the memorial marker - I'd never seen it before. Thanks.

    • The memorial was dedicated in '95 and has the name of every crew member on board when she went down. I'm delighted the Indy (incidentally my daughter's name) has been found. It made my day to think of the families that might sleep just a little better having a known resting place.

  2. My supervising dean's father-in-law was an officer on the Indianapolis. He passed on to me some of the firsthand stories of the ordeal, and it is something else to hear.

    In a bitter irony, the man survived the torpedo, the Pacific, the sharks, and the long wait for rescue, but was killed by a drunk driver in San Diego.

  3. In my work I'm privileged to talk in depth to many veterans and hate to say there are so many stories that echo what happened to your friend. Surviving unimaginable horrors just to return to lose a child, or be left disabled by a senseless accident. It'd shake the faith of the strongest man.

    Thanks for sharing your story, David.

    • Another irony, David: my friend told me today--when I informed him of the discovery--that about 3/4 of the crew, or some 900 men, were actually sleeping on the deck when they were struck by the torpedo. The heat was so oppressive that the captain allowed it since it was night and 1/4 of the crew was on duty. This means that many more had the chance to survive than would have been the case had they been below decks.

      But the Navy's miscues, the elements, and the sharks all undid what chance they were given. History can be very bitter.

  4. David, history's lessons are often terrible and bitter - the worst thing is just how little we seem to learn from them.

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