The cruiser was traveling unescorted to Leyte, an island in the Philippines, when it was hit. The exact location of the discovery would remain confidential, the Navy 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. While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming,” Paul Allen said.
A small part of the team of the Indianapolis cruise
Before the attack, on July 30, 1945, Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima that brought an end to the war in the Pacific. Most of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and Marines survived the sinking only to succumb to exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks. Only 316 survived. Allen’s team wasn’t the first to search for the wreckage. But based on what others previous found they have a good indication where to search. The Indianapolis’ commanding officer, Navy Capt. Charles B. McVay III, was court-martialed on Dec. 19, 1945. The Navy convicted him of negligence for not ordering the cruiser to travel in a zigzag pattern. He committed suicide in 1968 after suffering from mental health problems for years. McVay was posthumously exonerated through a resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton.