On Monday, the Indiana Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution 8. Sponsored by State Senators Jean Breaux and Greg Taylor of Indianapolis, the resolution urges the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to rename I-465 the U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial Highway.
Regarded as the only U.S. Navy ship lost just days before the end of World War II, the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis remains the worst U.S. Naval disaster in history and represents the worst loss of life from shark attack in naval history.
In 1932, the ship was commissioned for World War II at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and chosen as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Ship of the State.” During its time at sea, the ship fought in some of the war’s most influential battles and earned 10 battle stars. Nearly a decade after setting sail, on July 30, 1945, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on its way back from delivering components for the world’s second and third atomic bombs to the island of Tinian. Within 12 minutes, the ship had capsized, and 300 of the 1,196 men on board the U.S.S. Indianapolis went down with the ship.
Despite distress calls made to U.S. Navy officials prior to the ship’s sinking, the remaining men were left to float in life boats or wade in the shark infested waters of the Pacific for nearly five days. Many died of starvation, exhaustion or shark attack. Finally, on August 2, 1945, a U.S. anti-submarine patrol spotted the wreck, and the surviving sailors were rescued. Of the nearly 900 men who initially survived, only 317 lived to tell of the horrible ordeal.
Renaming all of Interstate 465 the U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial Highway would commemorate the memory of the sailors who lost their lives and the resilience of those who survived the ship’s sinking. This resolution was authored in the House by Rep. John Bartlett of Indianapolis.
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