The Bombing of the USS Indianapolis – 7/30/1945

US History |


Everyone knows about the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It’s impossible to not know about that event. However, many people are unaware of what took place leading up to that event, regarding the putting together of the atomic bomb. 

In 1945, the US was preparing the atomic bomb for deployment on Hiroshima. They had to transport key components of the bomb to Tinian Island. The cargo was aboard the USS Indianapolis. However, the ship’s crew had no idea what the cargo was. The ship had successfully made the drop off on July 26, 1945 and proceeded to the next order.

The next order was to sail to the U.S. military’s Pacific headquarters, which was located in Guam. The USS Indianapolis was supposed to be meeting up with the battleship USS Idaho in the Philippines. The two ships were to begin preparing for the invasion of Japan.

Those plans wouldn’t get too far before the Japanese surprised the United States from under the water. On July 30th, the ship was halfway between Guam and Leyte Gulf when a Japanese submarine hit the USS Indianapolis with a torpedo. It immediately caused an explosion that split the ship apart. The result was a sunken ship within 12 minutes of the hit. Sadly, nearly 300 men were trapped inside the ship while it happened. Add in another 900 crew members that were dumped into the ocean, where many would end up dying due to injuries, drowning or even shark attacks. The ship was stuck out in the middle of the ocean for four days before an anti-submarine plane showed up on a routine patrol. They immediately radioed headquarters for help.

Four days later, the US got revenge when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The end result was nearly 130,000 casualties as well as destroying almost three-fifths of the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, the US got more revenge when they dropped another atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki. In Nagasaki, nearly 66,000 people were dead. The government wouldn’t announce everything, including the USS Indianapolis, right away. Instead, they chose to wait for the Japanese to surrender to tell the Americans, thinking it would mask the tragedy of the Indianapolis well. 

Later, Charles McVay, the Captain of the USS Indianapolis, was court-martialed with the blame for the sunken ship. It was reported that he failed to do a zig-zig course, which would’ve brought them out of harms’ way of any Japanese submarines. McVay would later commit suicide in 1968, with many of his crewmen (the ones that survived) had thought the government made him a scapegoat.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the government would finally clear McVay’s name. It was officially 55 years after the USS Indianapolis sunk in the middle of the ocean. Although the government tried to make it look like McVay’s fault, we all know it was the Japanese that did it. Not point in placing blame on something someone else did. 

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Amanda Miller

Contributor & Chief Coffee Maker

Being from San Diego I have always gone to the Ocean and wrote my thoughts onto paper. Since a young girl writing has been my passion and now I love being creative with what I love. In school I started early writing for my middle school paper and have learned so much since then. I now have an opportunity to do what I love and work from home every day you can't beat it. I look forward to writing some great content for you all and to see the feedback I get in the process. My favorite topic is positive stories showing people helping others.