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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…July 30th, 1945

July 30, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 20 Comments

I can't let this day pass without paying tribute to the men of the USS who lost their lives on and after the early hours of 30th July, 1945. Even in a war that engulfed the world, there were few events that resonate with such tragedy, heroism, courage, and sacrifice.

Rest easy.

20 responses

  1. Great link to the Orca!

  2. Thanks, Gary. Few could tell the story as dramatically as Quint...

    “...that’s the USS Indianapolis”

    “Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.”

    “Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’ by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and sometimes that shark he go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away.”

    “Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.”

    “You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin’, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.”

    “At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. Hooper here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol’ fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th (sic) 1945.”

    “...anyway, we delivered the bomb.”

    Robert Shaw, ‘Jaws’, 1975.

  3. David, thanks so much for this sad story and remembrance of the crew of the Indianapolis. I have really missed your daily "stroll" through history. Cheers...

  4. Tom, you are more than welcome.


  5. Too bad your "daily strolls", which had a lot of modeling ideas, aren't "modeling related."

  6. Great tribute, David!

  7. Nice photo of the ship David - she had a busy war - delivering the bomb was the most famous chapter.

  8. What a joy to have another "On This Day…"! Please keep it coming, at least once in a while.

    It's a pitty... and it was "all model related". I found it a lot more interesting than some "in box reviews"...

    iModeler lost recently lots of interest: first the end of "On This Day…" and after that "the mont award". Those headings used to give personality to the site. Now is just another one...

    Is it better now? is it better to have nothing than something that one found "not model related"? Is it better to be just another one?

    I'm sorry for my thoughts not related to your post...

    Congratulations on your post!


  9. Aside from the tragic story of her sinking, isn't that photo beautiful.
    Look at all those nuances of blue on her hull sides.
    What a challenge for a ship modeler it would be to recreate them.

  10. Glad to see this, David ... even though - as usual - I'm a day late - and a dollar short. (MUCH more than a dollar; truth be known!)

    Here IN Indianapolis, this is a very special day. It was a tragic event, but ALL war is a collection of tragedies ... becoming one huge tragedy. It's great to see this specific incident being remembered in places distant from Indy.

    Great post, my friend!

  11. What a pleasure to hear from you, Ulf. I’m currently working on an Indianapolis and using that photo as a painting guide. It’s a hell of a job to that degree of tonal variation, I’d be happy with a fraction of that effect.


  12. You know, just couldn’t read the text with my own inner voice... it was the original actor voice that spoke, and I haven’t seen “Jaws” for quite some time. Too bad this is a one shot only OTD David...but you know my mind regarding that. Cheers

  13. Pedro, there’s a whole damned website dedicated to people leaving recordings/videos of themselves reading through that monologue (no, I haven’t - there’s enough craziness out there without me adding to it).

    Thanks on your kind thoughts about ‘On This Day’ - there will be the occasional post. It’s really excellent you dropped by, Pedro.

  14. You know guys, what is modeling without history? We all find things that relate to us about our past, the past in general that calls to us and says, “hey, build that.” I offer that without history, there would be no modeling.

    Bravo for the post David, and thanks for keeping it alive.

  15. Outstanding David and so good to see more OTD. May the brave souls lost in that tragic event rest in peace.

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