USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

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USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was a Portland-class cruiser of the United States Navy. She holds a place in history due to the circumstances of her sinking, which led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. On 30 July 1945, shortly after delivering critical parts for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat to the United States air base at Tinian, the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58, sinking in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 crew aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.

The remaining crew of 880 faced exposure, dehydration and shark attacks as they waited for assistance while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 316 sailors survived.[2] Indianapolis was one of the last U.S. Navy ships sunk by enemy action in World War II.


Construction and early service

The second ship named for Indianapolis, Indiana, she was laid down on 31 March 1930 by New York Shipbuilding, Camden, New Jersey; launched on 7 November 1931; sponsored by Miss Lucy Taggart, daughter of the late Senator Thomas Taggart, a former mayor of Indianapolis; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 15 November 1932, Captain John M. Smeallie in command.

Following shakedown in the Atlantic and Guantánamo Bay until 23 February 1932, Indianapolis trained in the Panama Canal Zone and in the Pacific off the Chilean coast. After overhaul at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the heavy cruiser sailed to Maine to embark President Franklin Roosevelt at Campobello Island, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, on 1 July 1933. Getting underway the same day, Indianapolis arrived at Annapolis, Maryland two days later where she entertained six members of the cabinet. After disembarking the President, she departed Annapolis on 4 July, and returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

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