On July 26, 1945, the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) delivered key components for the world’s first operational atomic bomb to the island of Tinian in the South Pacific. After completing this mission, the cruiser proceeded to the Philippines, to participate in war activities and the pending invasion of Japan.

A few minutes after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-58 and sank into the sea in just 12 minutes, taking 297 men with her. Approximately 900 of the original 1,197 men on board were left floating in darkness, without lifeboats, in shark-infested waters. Due to communications problems, the ship was never missed. By the time the survivors were spotted by chance four and a half days later, only 317 were left; the other crew members were victims of injury, exposure and shark attacks.

The USS Indianapolis deserves a place in history not just as one of the worst at sea naval disasters in history, but also for its pivotal role during and at the ending of World War II. The ship, a 610 foot, 9,800-ton Portland class heavy cruiser was commissioned in 1932.  She was selected as his “Ship of State” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the war, the USS Indianapolis became the Flagship of the Fifth Fleet, endured a Kamikaze attack and was part of some of the most decisive battles of the war and earned 10 battle stars.

The USS Indianapolis Museum, located in the ship’s namesake city, will provide a permanent home for the archives, artifacts and memories of all the men who served on this historic cruiser from 1932 to 1945.  

The history of the USS Indianapolis must be remembered and memorialized for future generations. The time to do so is now—while some survivors are still with us. The story must be told to educate future generations about the sacrifices these heroes made for the "cost of freedom."

Crewmen display the Presidential Flag below the ship's brass data plaque, as she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his "Good Neighbor" cruise to South America in late November 1936.


The USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Museum is a non-profit 501 c3 organization established in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Commissioning Celebration
Commissioning celebration Nov. 1932. (l. to r.) Mrs. W.R. Sinclair (sister of Lucy Taggert), Evelyn Chambers (niece of Lucy Taggert), Miss Lucy Taggert, commissioning sponsor (daughter of Senator Thomas Taggert) and former Mayor of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Mayor, Reginald Sullivan.

 

FDR in NY
President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board the USS Indianapolis enters New York Harbor for the Presidential Review of the Atlantic Fleet, 1934.

 

Sinking map
Map identifying the location of the sinking.