INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Navy intends to name a new combat ship the
USS Indianapolis, honoring the crew of the cruiser of the same name whose
sinking in the final weeks or World War II was the military branch's worst
single loss of life at sea.
Rear Admiral Rick Williamson, the Navy's Midwest Region commander, read a
letter from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on notifying Congress of the name
selection to survivors of the sinking during a reunion banquet Saturday
"Once again the name Indianapolis will put to sea on the stern of the U.S.
Navy warship, carrying on the tradition of service that you and your
shipmates have forever associated with the name," said the letter dated
July 29. "You should be very proud of the legacy which you leave for our
Navy and our nation."
The naming of a littoral combat ship is pending authorization and
appropriation by Congress. Littoral combat ships are fast, agile craft
that can operate close to shore and in open waters to counter threats such
as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface boats.
About 15 of the remaining 38 survivors of the USS Indianapolis sinking
gathered in Indianapolis for a reunion over the weekend.
The cruiser was halfway between Guam and the Philippines when a Japanese
submarine sank it with torpedoes on July 30, 1945. An estimated 900 of the
ship's crew of 1,198 sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but all but
317 died from drowning, dehydration, delirium and shark attacks before
rescuers arrived five days later.
The last Navy vessel to carry the USS Indianapolis name was an attack
submarine in service from 1980 to 1998.