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USS Indianapolis survivors to reunite again

USS Indianapolis survivors to reunite again
USS Indianapolis survivor Edgar Harrell of Tennessee attended last year's reunion. (Photo by Andrew Fritzinger)

Survivors of the USS Indianapolis disaster will reunite in Indianapolis July 24 to 27 for the 69th anniversary reunion. An estimated 13 of the three dozen remaining survivors will attend the reunion, along with Lost At Sea family members, survivor family members and rescuers.

There will be education programs open to the public including survivor Edgar Harrell’s presentation, “Out of the Depths-A Survivors Story,” July 25 at 7 p.m. Kim Neilson- Roller will present “Remembering the USS Indianapolis” at 1:30 p.m. July 26. All events will be downtown Indianapolis at the Hyatt Regency, One South Capitol Avenue.

A Japanese sub torpedoed the USS Indianapolis a few minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, which led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. The Indianapolis had just delivered critical parts for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat. Of the 1,197 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.

Only 317 survived the next four days in the shark-infested and oil-slicked waters. In the disaster’s aftermath, Capt. Charles McVay was court-martialed by the Navy for negligence. For years, survivors and others - including The American Legion - fought to set the record straight and exonerate McVay, who committed suicide in November 1968. His exoneration came decades later, thanks to Hunter Scott, a curious 11-year-old boy whose determination helped set the record straight.

The public is invited to attend a solemn memorial service at 9 a.m. July 27, which will conclude the reunion. This service will also be at the Hyatt Regency.

For more information, visit the reunion website: www.ussindyreunion.com.

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Carl Wipperman

July 26, 2014 - 4:49pm

When I was National Historian 1994-95 we had our National convention in Indianapolis. I visited the War memorial in that city and was briefed on the on this event. As such I made it the program for the National Historians Dinner of which I was the host. The courier from the museum brought the model of the USS Indianapolis for display and versed the members on this event. I urged the members to go home and have their posts submit resolutions to clear Capt. McVay. Several Departments did. This may have been a small accurance but it added wieght of the American Legion's voice and their weight of membershp when the legion presented their agenda to the congress. This added wieght along with other voices to clear Capt. McVay. An example of Legion membership that people listen to when when we make our voice heard Carl Wipperman National Historian 1994-95

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