The USS Indianapolis was hit by two Japanese torpedoes and sank within minutes a few days before the United States nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Of the 1,196 aboard, about 900 made it into the water before the ship sank. Shark attacks began at sunrise and continued for five days until the remaining 317 were accidentally discovered on a routine antisubmarine patrol.
The men of the USS Indianapolis will have some of their courageous endurance rewarded come September with the release of the “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage”
Nicolas Cage portrays Captain Charles Butler McVay III, the commanding officer of the Indianapolis.
McVay is the only captain in naval history to be subjected to and court-martialed for losing one of over 350 ships sunk by an act of war during WW II.
The USS Indianapolis had maintained radio silence because they were on a top-secret mission and had just delivered the components for the first atomic bomb when the Japanese Navy torpedoed them.
A hastily convened closed-door court of inquiry was convened in Guam on 13 August 1945, with the Judge Advocate (prosecutor), Captain William Hilbert, stating that they were “starting the proceedings without having available all the necessary data.”
The announcement of the loss of the Indianapolis to the American public was delayed until August 15 and was thus overshadowed by the news of the Japanese surrender announced by President Truman.
A Few Facts From the USS Indianapolis website:
U.S. intelligence using a top-secret operation labeled ULTRA had broken the Japanese code and was aware that two Japanese submarines were operating in the path of the Indianapolis.
Despite knowledge of the danger in its path – naval authorities sent the Indianapolis into harm’s way without any warning, refusing her captain’s request for a destroyer escort, and leading him to believe his route was safe.
- Captain McVay’s request for a destroyer escort was denied despite the fact that no capital ship lacking anti-submarine detection equipment, such as the Indianapolis, had made this transit across the Philippine Sea without an escort during the entire war.
- Captain McVay was not told that shortly before his departure from Guam a Japanese submarine within range of his path had sunk a destroyer escort, the USS Underhill.
- Shortly after the Indianapolis was sunk, naval intelligence decoded a message from the sub to headquarters in Japan that it had sunk an American battleship along the route of the Indianapolis. The message was ignored!
The court of inquiry blamed the top victim and thus Captain McVay was court-martialed on two vague charges: (1) culpable inefficiency in the performance of his duties and (2) negligently endangering the lives of others.
After years of probable PTSD labeled “mental health problems” McVay committed suicide.
In early 2000, the commander of the Japanese submarine that sank the Indianapolis gave an interview and, referring to Captain McVay’s court-martial at which he had been a witness, said, “I had a feeling it was contrived from the beginning.”
Thanks to decades of efforts by Indianapolis survivors and supporters, Congress and President Clinton posthumously exonerated Captain McVay on October 30, 2000.
The USS Liberty was a 1967 state of the art US communications spy ship, underway towards the Sinai Peninsula during what became known as the Six Day War.
On 5 June Captain McGonagle asked Vice Admiral William Martin at Sixth Fleet headquarters to send a destroyer as an armed escort and auxiliary communication center, noting that Liberty’s “self-defense capability limited to four .50 caliber machine guns and small arms.”
On 6 June 1967, Admiral Martin replied, “Liberty is clearly marked United States ship in international waters, not a participant in the conflict and not a reasonable subject for attack by any nation . . . Request for escort denied.”
HOWEVER, on 5 June 1967, Israel attacked Egypt and put out false reports that Egypt had attacked first.
On 8 June 1967 the USS Liberty arrived at its destination in international waters near the Egyptian runways at El Arish Airfield, which was already under the control of Israeli forces.
To this day Liberty survivors and supporters are persisting to courageously endure telling the stories of that day in infamy in 1967 when the US Government FAILED to support the troops and began a nearly 50 year attempt to cover it up.
Please listen to USS Liberty Commanding Officer William McGonagle speaking at USS Liberty Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery to ALL Americans and the World:
Sign Petition to Congress End USA Govt. Coverup: Honor USS LIBERTY
Learn More at Liberty Central II
- USS Liberty Survivors of The Six-Day War Read and Write - August 2, 2020
- Annual Update for Vanunu Mordechai, Israel’s nuclear whistleblower and Captive - June 6, 2020
- A Covid-19 USS Liberty Remembrance Day - May 29, 2020