My family has had a long history of being military brats. I'd like to give thanks to all that has served, serving, or considering serving to keep us free.
There is always a price sacrificed for our freedom.
My grandfather served in WWW II and the Korean war.
My grandfather was one of the few survivors on the U.S. Indianapolis on 30 July 1945.
The Worst Naval Disaster in US History
At 12:14 a.m. on 30 July 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder, about 900 men, were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and most with no food or water. The ship was never missed, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later only 316 men were still alive.
The ship's captain, the late Charles Butler McVay III, survived and was court-martialed and convicted of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag" despite overwhelming evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm's way, despite testimony from the Japanese submarine commander that zigzagging would have made no difference, and despite that fact that, although over 350 navy ships were lost in combat in WWII, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed. Materials declassified years later add to the evidence that McVay was a scapegoat for the mistakes of others.
In October of 2000, following years of effort by the survivors and their supporters, legislation was passed in Washington and signed by President Clinton expressing the sense of Congress, among other things, that Captain McVay's record should now reflect that he is exonerated for the loss of the Indianapolis and for the death of her crew who were lost.
In July of 2001 the Navy Department announced that Captain McVay's record has been amended to exonerate him for the loss of the Indianapolis and the lives of those who perished as a result of her sinking. The action was taken by Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England who was persuaded to do so by New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, a strong advocate of McVay's innocence. The survivors are deeply grateful to Secretary England and Senator Smith and also to young Hunter Scott of Pensacola, Florida, without whom the injustice to Captain McVay would never have been brought to the attention of the media and the Congress.
Unfortunately, the conviction for hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag remains on Captain McVay's record. Never in the history of the U.S. military has the verdict of a court-martial been overturned, and there is no known process for doing so.
It can be stated unequivocally, however, that, if the Indianapolis had arrived safely at Leyte without incident, Captain McVay would never have been court-martialed. Thus, by exonerating him for the loss of the ship and the death of 880 of her crew members, the Navy Department has at last conceded that he was innocent of any wrong-doing. His exoneration is tantamount to an admission that he should never have been court-martialed in the first place.
The survivors are thankful that after 66 years the good name of their captain has been cleared.
My grandfather passed in January 1986 and never got to see the Captain cleared.
He was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star.
One of the story's that my grandfather told me was this:
He had just come from the galley/mess hall/cafeteria and was heading to go up on deck to clean the deck with his crew. When out of no were a huge explosion hit the bow it threw him about 50 feet. As he was trying to get his senses back he stumbled about to the side of the ship. Within in minutes the ship began sinking. He had a split decision to dive off before the undertoe effect would take him under the water.
He jumped and was in shark infested water for 4 days. He saw a piece of wood floating in the water and held on for dear life. After about day 2 he was hungry and thirsty and was,well as the saying goes, cussing like a sailor. Then it doned on him that he had grabbed a few packets of crackers and had tucked them in his trousers. He was elated but also didnt know too when he would be rescued, if, that would happen. So he reached in his pocket and grabbed one of them.
Boy was he pissed he started cursing anything and everything that could hear or see him. As grandpa put it, I'll be a S.O.B. THE CRACKERS WAS SOAKED AND TASTED LIKE SHIT. But he did manage to nibble on the mush that was left. He was eventually rescued 4 days later.
Once agian thanks to all that keeps our freedom free!!!