[Reading] ➮ In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors ➶ Doug Stanton – Gsagency.co

If you ve ever seen Jaws you re familiar with this story Days after it delivered Little Boy to Tinian, the battle cruiser USS Indianapolis is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine The attack is so effective that the bow literally vaporizes and because they are running yoke modified, or most of the hatches dogged open because the crew is roasting in the tropical heat, water rushes into the hull and the ship sinks in twelve minutes it took the Titanic two hours and 40 minutes from the time it hit the iceberg, just as a comparison, and it didn t even have water tight compartments An estimated 400 crew members are killed outright in the attack The rest take to the water, for the next four to five days to be preyed on by sharks an estimated 200 of them die this way and suffer from sunburn and hypothermia Thirst drives many of them to suicide and subsequent hallucinations even to murder In the end, finally spotted from the air, there are 317 survivors out of a crew of 1,196.Why were they in the water that long Why wasn t the ship reported missing when it didn t arrive on its duty station Why was there no reaction to their distress call, heard by at least three separate US Navy radio operators Stanton answers all of those questions thanks to new information uncovered in the late 90s and those answers do not resound to the credit of the US Navy The captain is court martialed and convicted and his crew spends the next fifty years trying to have that conviction overturned Eventually they succeed, although long after the captain commits suicide in 1968, after too much hate mail from the families of the sailors lost under his command.This is an immediate and horrifyingly riveting read I can feel the sharks bumping my feet as I type these words The heroism of some of these men is almost incredible Doctor Haynes who was treating the men in his group even while they were all moving a mile an hour toward Borneo with no help in sight I don t think I m ever going to get over the scene where he buried the dead Adrian Marks, the PBY pilot who landed in way too rough seas specifically against standing orders and got as many of the survivors on board as possible, even tying some of them to the wings of his craft Marine private McCoy as he dives repeatedly into the water from their raft, sharks be damned, to retrieve a crewmate who is trying like hell to kill himself These men, god, these men.Stanton agrees with the overturning of the court martial s verdict I don t know, though One of the reasons there was so much confusion during the sinking was that there had been no emergency drills Crew members couldn t even get one of the life boats to launch Very few of the rafts had emergency supplies and almost none of them had water Whose responsibility was it to make sure his crew was trained, that the survival gear was fully supplied and ready to use in the event of a catastrophic event like this The captain s.Yeah, you can cite the speed of the sinking for some of the confusion, but even in that twelve minutes some damage control people were on hoses, ready to put out the fire, if only the pumps had still been running Yes, the mission to get the bomb to Tinian was urgent and brief and perhaps didn t allow for some crew training, but the Indianapolis was sailing into harm s way Why wasn t someone tasked with checking the status of the emergency supplies and the shipworthiness of the launches and rafts Captain McVay was at minimum negligent here.I have a little experience on ships at sea and the crews are continually training Much of that time, they are training for potential emergencies Maybe that s only the way things are now, after hideous object lessons like the Indianapolis In which case, all those men did not die in vain. True story of the U.S.S Indianapolis torpedoed and sunk near the end of WWII by a Japanese submarine Based on interviews with survivors, extensive research, and review of declassified information, the author sheds light on what really happened to the ship and its crew It starts with an ending, then traces the ship s last journey from San Francisco to Tinian to deliver an important cargo to its final resting place at the bottom of the Philippine Sea It brings to light the series of miscommunications, misguided naval directives, and errors in judgment that led to the survivors spending an inordinate amount of time awaiting rescue, resulting in unnecessary deaths at sea The captain became a scapegoat for an act of war to divert attention from this series of fiascos In addition to the riveting human saga, it includes scientific explanations for the miseries endured by the survivors This book comprises a crisp, well told, powerful piece of history Recommended to those interested in the history of WWII, survival stories, or rectification of injustice An impressive work that made a difference. A Harrowing, Adrenaline Charged Account Of America S Worst Naval Disaster And Of The Heroism Of The Men Who, Against All Odds, Survived Interweaving The Stories Of Survivors, Doug Stanton Has Brought This Astonishing Human Drama To Life In A Narrative That Is At Once Immediate And Timeless The Definitive Account Of A Little Known Chapter In World War II History, In Harm S Way Is Destined To Become A Classic Tale Of War, Survival, And Extraordinary CourageOn July , , The USS Indianapolis Was Torpedoed In The South Pacific By A Japanese Submarine An EstimatedMen Were Killed Upon Impact Close ToSailors Were Cast Into The Pacific Ocean, Where They Remained Undetected By The Navy For Nearly Four Days And Nights Battered By A Savage Sea, They Struggled To Stay Alive, Fighting Off Sharks, Hypothermia, And Dementia The Captain S Subsequent Court Martial Left Many Questions Unanswered How Did The Navy Fail To Realize The Indianapolis Was Missing And Perhaps Most Amazing Of All, How Did TheseMen Manage To Survive OMGGoosebumps REALLY After delivering the last component of the A bomb, the USS Indianapolis carrying a crew of almost 1,200 is torpedoed Within 12 minutes, an estimated 300 men have been killed, 900 have been forced into the oil slicked, shark infested sea, the ship has been sunk, and the first in a long line of oversights will guarantee the US navy is totally unaware of the ships fate until it is too late forthan 2 3 of displaced men.This story, competently told by Doug Stanton, sucked me in, wrenched my heart, and spit me back out a changed person Of course, I love these types of survival stories to begin with, but to Stanton s credit, he does a marvelous job in telling, also giving us a glimpse of the survivor s life in the aftermath of the tragedy.Great, fast paced read. I tore through Doug Stanton s In Harm s Way at breakneck speed The book read like a novel I flipped through the pages like a hot knife passes through whipped butter Stanton s book is so readable The Indianapolis was the ship tasked to carry the first atomic bomb from San Francisco over to the US strategic airbase at Tinian for eventual deployment over Hiroshima After discharging her cargo, the ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine somewhere between Guam and Okinawa This disaster was the result of a series of blunders beyond the ship and her captain s control Ah, but the Navy had to have a scapegoat The ship s Captain, Charles B McVay would fulfill that role In the author s opinion and mine, McVay was railroaded by the Secretary of the Navy, James Forestall and Ernest J King Why He wasn t zigzagging The Department of the Navy even brought in the Japanese submarine Captain to testify against Captain McVay Too bad for them, the Captain testified that zigzagging wouldn t of made a difference in this instance A US Submarine Captain then testified the same thing It didn t matter The Captain was found guilty The Navy had their scapegoat The men were adrift in shark infested waters for 4 days before they were discovered Their SOS was ignored They did not show up in port and that was also ignored It was a grueling ordeal and men were hallucinating, suffering from hypothermia, severe dehydration, and poisoning from the ingestion of salt water The life preservers were becoming waterlogged and losing their buoyancy The shark feeding frenzy led to the deaths of 200 men Finally, the men were discovered by a US Navy patrol squadron looking for enemy submarines The Navy, several hours into the rescue, was still not aware that the ship was missing The brave men of the USS Indianapolis were in the water for 4 days and I finished the book in three afternoon sittings I love it when a book does this to me I regret that I ran out of pages I will readDoug Stanton books in the future.This book is not only a testament to the severe sacrifice of a group of Naval and Marine Veterans from WWII that alone would of made this story worth reading However, there was so muchStanton learned that his book helped the survivors cope with this disaster Men didn t understand why some shipmates just all of a sudden gave up and drowned One veteran said at a Indianapolis reunion that he was a bit ashamed and a bit baffled by this until he read the book The book allowed the survivors to finally understood the science about what was happening after wading in 85F seawater for 4 days and ingesting all the poisons from the sea Finally, this book along with a 6th graders history project was used to help exonerate Captain McVay for the loss of the Indianapolis by President Bill Clinton in October of 2000 This book leaves me wondering Do we always have to have a scapegoat following a disaster In Harm s Way is a shocking and unbelievably powerful true story, revolving around an event in history that shattered the lives of many, but the ones who survived never gave up hope. Like About Face and the Pat Tillman story, this book leaves one highly disillusioned I know I should praise the heroism of the survivors of this horrific tragedy and that is a given , but my primary reaction to this book was actually one of disgust and great cynicism concerning the US military At every step of the way the USS Indianapolis was exploited in the mad rush to get the atomic bomb over to Japan she was rushed through maintenance repairs, upon arrival in the Pacific her captain was given false information about Japanese sub activity, upon being sunk her SOS messages whose sendings were heroic efforts in and of themselves were disregarded, and her non arrival at her destination was conveniently ignored multiple times You want to scream in rage How could this happen Next, when the very small minority of her crew who survived the torpedoing were finally wrenched from the sea 3 4 days later, starving, delerious, sun scorched, hypothermic, hallucinating, and psychologically traumatized from seing mate after mate snatched under the waves by sharks, the story made the news for about 1 day before the very bomb she delivered was used to end the war Instead of a ticker tape parade for the heroes who delivered the bomb that ended the war sacrificing their ship and most of their lives in the effort the survivors returned to San Diego months later to a lame welcome party from the local Salvation Army Noone, least of all the Navy, wanted to disrupt the feel good vibe of VJ day with a horror story like this As one final awful insult, the captain, portrayed by the author and corroborated by every survivor as a truly decent man, was court martialed by the US Navy for not zig zagging to avoid submarine fire I cannot imagine anythingludicrous than a ship that size zig zagging Eventually he decides he would rather not live than continue to receive the hate mail that never ceased even 20 years after the war This is an important story that desperately needed to be told, but is not a feel good one, at least to me. This book joins other survival epics like Endurance Shackleton s Incredible Voyage that make you repeatedly say Holy shit, how did they survive that And also Holy shit, I hope I never have to survive that Most people today, if they remember the Indianapolis at all, it s from the movie Jaws, when Robert Shaw tells Roy Scheider about the disaster and how a large number of the Indianapolis s crew was eaten by sharks.The cruiser USS Indianapolis was once the flagship of President Roosevelt, but by the end of World War II, it had been mostly surpassed by newer, sexier cruisers In July of 1945, it was given a secret mission unknown to the crew, or even the captain, it was delivering Little Boy, the first atomic bomb, to the island of Tinian After completing its mission, the Indy set off for the Philippines, where it was intended to join the fleet that would be launching the expected invasion of Japan She never arrived.A Japanese submarine captain scored his very first kill that night, and sank the Indy What happened next was a harrowing four day survival story followed by questions and recriminations and blame that were not fully settled until over 50 years later.About a third of the crew died in the initial blast, or in the fires that swept the ship as it continued plowing, crippled, through the Pacific Those who survived to abandon ship had worse ahead of them.There weren t enough life vests or rafts Many of the men were forced to float adrift without cover or support They banded together in human chains, and helped each other keep their heads above water, but for the majority of them, it was four days of floating in open ocean without food or water Even the few who did make it to a raft had very little in the way of supplies.And then there were the sharks.The ocean was full of tiger sharks, makos, and hammerheads They saw the hundreds of men floating on the surface as a buffet This wasn t a random attack here or there, like most shark attacks the attacks, as author Doug Stanton describes them, relayed to him by survivors, were the stuff of horror movies Men lifted out of the water and carried away in the jaws of a huge shark Men waking up next a companion floating next to him, only to realize that the lower half of his body was gone, eaten during the night Sixty men were taken at once in one feeding frenzy.They mostly attacked at night, then left during the day but never completely , only to return in force the next night.Stanton, who researched the story of the Indianapolis, talked to survivors an ever decreasing number who held a reunion decades later He went through declassified naval documents, and tried to give as complete an account as possible.One of the reasons for the terrible disaster was a tragic series of errors and miscommunications When the Indianapolis was sunk, they tried to get off a radio message and unknown to them, their message was sent And received But the low ranking radioman who received it and delivered it personally to a sleeping commander was brushed off The message was ignored This was not quite as shocking as it may seem late in the war, the Japanese made a habit of sending fake distress calls and other tricks on the radio, trying to mislead or confuse the Americans But nonetheless, despite not arriving on schedule, it took several days for the US Navy to realize that the Indianapolis was missing By the time they finally sent out search and rescue ships, the survivors had been on the water for four days Many of them died during that time Some died with their rescue ships in sight.Captain McVay, the Captain of the Indianapolis, was the first naval officer in US history to be court martialed for losing his ship in an act of war Although all of the survivors agreed that what happened was not McVay s fault, the Navy had apparently decided, in the wake of this disaster that got a lot of press at the time, that the captain would be a scapegoat The charge against him was basically that by failing to zigzag he had endangered the ship and caused its sinking Ironically, Mochitsura Hashimoto, the captain of the submarine that sank the Indianapolis, was brought to Washington to testify for the prosecution, and instead told the court that even if McVay had put his ship on a zigzag course, it would have made no difference he d still have been able to sink it Nonetheless, McVay was convicted, and his naval career wasor less dead ended.Years later, in 1968, haunted by the boys who d died under his command, and by the occasional hate mail from their families that he still received, he committed suicide.Many details of the Indianapolis s sinking were not declassified until 1959, and some details weren t released to the public until the 1990s It was not until 2000 that the survivors of the Indianapolis got Congress to clear McVay s name and exonerate him Commander Hashimoto, who had become a Shinto priest, sent a letter in support of this In Harm s Way is a great book if you like true life survival stories and histories The most enthralling chapters, of course, are the gruesome days after the sinking, in which Stanton describes the survivors trials starvation, dehydration, shark attacks, drowning, some men still suffering third degree burns, their skin peeling away after days of exposure to sun and saltwater, men going mad and attacking each other, or drinking saltwater.The subsequent chapters are about the Navy s reaction to the disaster, and McVay s court martial All of it is really interesting and I m surprised this has never been given a Hollywood treatment That may be largely because even up into the 1990s, the Navy considered it a black mark on the service and didn t want to disclose all the details of how the Indianapolis was sunk and then lost much of her crew It s probably not a story they d be happy to cooperate on. Find all of my reviews at In the early morning of July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis after delivering the makings of what was known as Little Boy the atomic bomb that would eventually be dropped on Hiroshima was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine The torpedoes nearly sheared the Indianapolis in half and within 12 minutes the entire ship would vanish to one of the deepest burial grounds in the ocean Nearly 300 men would die almost immediately close to 900 would make it off the ship In Harm s Way is the true story of what happened in the four days it took for the military to discover the survivors This has been on my to read list for an eternity In my mind it was always a book that could only be read during Shark Week As my bad luck and failing brain would have it, I generally put myself on the wait list too late and have simply been putting this off every year when the timing failed Until this year As someone who does not read a lot of non fiction I will say this earns every one of its 5 Stars for being succinct, not bogged down in military lingo and technical mumbo jumbo and presenting a story so horrifyingly fascinating it read like fiction A must read for every shark addict Very first light, Chief sharks come cruisin Can you name that movie Yep, you and everybody else guessed it the 1975 classicJawsI d argue that the majority of those from every generation since the 1970 s to present first learned of the USS Indianapolis and her crew s fate through this film alone I did when I first saw it at about six or seven years of age and to be perfectly honest the story scared the living shit out of me cuz unlike the fictional motion picture, it really happened Notwithstanding the scenes of the first attack and the shark s watery emergence toward the chum throwing Chief Brody, Quint s telling of this infamous World War II naval tragedy, for me, is probably the most fascinating moment of the film and arguably the greatest monologue in cinematic history, hence the root of my interest with the late naval cruiser bearing the name of the Hoosier State s capitol city.If you are a fan of the movie and are curious to know the real story of what happened in the Philippine Sea in late July and early August 1945, then take a look atIn Harm s Way Even the cover of the current edition of this book resembles some of the long shots of a famous boat in film noir that s christened after another sea predator of the mammalian variety, thereby linking pop culture with history well.After arriving at Tinian in the Mariana Islands and delivering key components of Little Boy, the atomic bomb which would later be assembled and dropped on Hiroshima by the B 29 bomber Enola Gay, the Indianapolis set sail for Guam and then onward to the Philippine Island of Leyte to begin preparations and training for the invasion of Japan The cruiser had been struck and almost sunk by a kamikaze plane during the Battle of Okinawa a few months earlier and the repairs at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard adjacent to Vallejo, CA were rushed and not adequately completed, making the hull weaker than usual.Sailing alone on a moonless night without destroyer escort or even its own anti submarine sonar technology, the Indy became a sitting duck and was hit by two torpedoes just after midnight on July 29, 1945 by the Japanese submarine I 58 In 12 minutes the ship receded below the waves forever.Due to mishaps in communication between various Naval and Army personnel at HQ s and intelligence stations on Guam, Peleliu and Leyte, hardly anyone landbound knew of the overdue Indy until sadly too much time had passed Those who had been able to abandon ship were adrift in the sea for over a hundred hours battling man eating sharks, hypothermia, sun exposure, dehydration, lack of sleep, hallucinations and dementia They were finally rescued due to a serendipitous sighting by the crew of an anti submarine aircraft on patrol in the middle of thousands of square miles of open ocean.Interestingly, one of the last survivors to be extracted from the sea was Giles McCoy, a teenaged Marine veteran of the Battle of Peleliu who thought surviving on that Island of Hell wasn t anything like his fight for life after the Indy s sinking because of the constant feeling of complete helplessness, let alone the harsh environmental elements.The good looking, popular and adept Captain Charles McVay would become a scapegoat by being court martialed and convicted of the disaster which was considered an injustice among the surviving crew, press and many in the public After years of guilt and receiving constant hate mail even from the families of his lost crewmen, the captain would commit suicide in 1968 at the age of 70 He wouldn t be exonerated by the US Navy until 2001 This is an excellent story of man vs the sea set during the twilight days of WWII Think you re having a bad day at work Remind yourself of the four day ordeal of the Indianapolis crew and you ll stop complaining cuz it could be a lot worse I recommend this 6 outta 5 star book to literally everyone.