Fresh from delivering the first atomic bomb to the U.S. base on the Pacific island of Tinian, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945.
The cruiser sank 12 minutes later, dragging 300 men to their deaths. Almost 900 other crewmen were left in the water, but it took days before they were spotted and rescue vessels arrived, and by then dehydration, exposure and shark attacks had left only 317 survivors.
This week, 15 of the few still-living crew members are gathering for an a reunion in Indianapolis.
Survivors told the Indianapolis Star’s Will Higgins that they mainly talk about their lives and families at these events, but one said those horrific days in the water haunt them.
“We still have dreams,” said L.D. Cox of Sidney, Texas. “I dream every night about being lost, and you can’t find a friend or buddy. I think most of the survivors still relive the sinking. But we try not to think about it.”
There is a memorial to the ship and its crew at the north end of the Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis.
Anyone wanting to donate to help USS Indianapolis veterans defray travel costs may go to ussindyreunion.com.