The complex and harrowing naval battles of World War II are some of the most storied military occurrences in the history of the world.
Naval warfare wasn’t exactly a new phenomenon by any means, but the technology of war had changed dramatically between World War I and it’s repeat conflict. Now, U.S. sailors had to worry about stealthy submarines, complicated underwater mines, and Japanese Kamikaze attacks screaming in from overhead. To be out on a ship in the middle of seemingly nowhere, sometimes as young as 18 years old, was an experience that created a lot of men from boys.
One of the more infamous tragedies that occurred during the war was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
The warship had been on a secret mission to deliver parts for the atomic weapon known as “Fat Boy” that, only a week after the Indianapolis’ sinking, would usher in a new era of modern warfare at Hiroshima. On the return from this clandestine calling, the ship was struck by Japanese torpedoes and sank in 12 minutes – an incredibly rapid submersion for a ship of its size. The loss of life was tremendous as well, and chronicled famously in a speech by the fictional character Quint in the iconic 70’s horror movie “Jaws”.
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Now, after resting on the ocean floor for over 70 years, a team of researchers has finally located the wreck of the storied ship.
“Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who led the civilian search team, said the discovery was ‘truly humbling’.
“‘To be able to honour the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War Two is truly humbling,’ Mr Allen said.
“‘As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.’
“The USS Indianapolis remains the property of the US Navy, the search team’s statement said. It will now be considered a protected war memorial.
“A spokesman for the survivors, 22 of whom are still alive, said each of them had ‘longed for the day when their ship would be found’.”
The feat of locating the long lost ship was certainly an incredible undertaking, but it is dwarfed by the emotions of those who survived and the loved ones of those who did not.