After surviving three of the Pacific Theater’s most harrowing campaigns and a kamikaze attack, Marine Giles McCoy thought the worst was over when his ship returned to the States for repairs in the summer of 1945. But that ship, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, had one more mission to perform, whose aftermath-hundreds of men stranded for days in shark-infested waters–was an event whose horrible consequences still reverberate.
On July 30, 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a heavy cruiser that just completed the top secret mission of delivering the components for the Atomic Bomb dropped on Japan, was torpedoed in the Philippine Sea. Of the 1,196 men on board, about 900 survived into the water. After four days of relentless shark attacks, only 316 were left alive to be rescued. Due to the nature of their mission, the existence of the Indianapolis was not acknowledged. Only by happenstance did an American aircraft spot the survivors, one of which was the Marine Corp’s Private First Class Giles McCoy.
We honor you, Giles McCoy.