Department of Defense (DoD)

Researchers Find Wreckage of USS Indianapolis

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Researchers Find Wreckage of USS Indianapolis
08/20/2017 09:11 AM CDT

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The Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis underway in Pearl Harbor in 1937. The ship was sunk on July 30, 1945, by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea following delivery of parts for the first atomic bomb used in combat to the U.S. air base at Tinian. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, about 300 went down with the ship. The rest faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived. Navy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Researchers Find Wreckage of USS Indianapolis

Navy News Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2017 — Civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen have announced they have found the wreck of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis, which was lost July 30, 1945.

This is a significant discovery, officials said, considering the depth of the water in the area in which the ship was lost: more than 18,000 feet. About 800 of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five days in the water — suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks — only 316 survived.

The wreck was located by the expedition crew of Research Vessel Petrel, which is owned by Allen, 2,000 feet below the surface, resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean.

“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling,” Allen 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.”

Ship Sank in 12 Minutes

The ship was lost in the final days of World War II when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the early morning hours of July 30, 1945. It sank in 12 minutes, making it impossible to send a distress signal or deploy much of its life-saving equipment. Prior to the attack, the Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima that ultimately would help to end the war in the Pacific.

“Even in the worst defeats and disasters, there is valor and sacrifice that deserves to never be forgotten,” said Sam Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. “They can serve as inspiration to current and future sailors enduring situations of mortal peril. There are also lessons learned — and in the case of the Indianapolis, lessons re-learned — that need to be preserved and passed on, so the same mistakes can be prevented and lives saved.”

Others have searched for Indianapolis in the past. Among the elements that made this effort different was Allen’s recent acquisition and retrofit of the 250-foot R/V Petrel with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving 3 and a half miles.

Culmination of Lengthy Effort

“The Petrel and its capabilities — the technology it has and the research we’ve done — are the culmination years of dedication and hard work,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen. “We’ve assembled and integrated this technology, assets and unique capability into [an] operating platform, which is now one amongst very few on the planet.”

The other key factor in the discovery was information that surfaced in 2016 when Dr. Richard Hulver, historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command, conducted research that led to a new search area to the west of the original presumed position. Hulver’s research identified a naval landing craft that had recorded a sighting of Indianapolis hours before it was torpedoed. Using that information, the research team developed a new position and estimated search, which was still a daunting 600 square miles of open ocean.

Allen-led expeditions have also resulted in the discovery of the Japanese battleship Musashi in March 2015 and the Italian World War II destroyer Artigliere in March of this year. His team also was responsible for retrieving and restoring the ship’s bell from the HMS Hood for presentation to the British navy in honor of its heroic service. Allen’s expedition team recently was transferred to the newly acquired and retrofitted R/V Petrel specifically for continuing exploration and research efforts.

Surveying Wreckage Site

The 13-person expedition team on the R/V Petrel is surveying the full site and will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks, officials said.

Their work is compliant with U.S. law, respecting the sunken ship as a war grave and not disturbing the site, officials added. USS Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Nav,y and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy. The crew of the R/V Petrel has collaborated with Navy authorities throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 22 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s contributions through the nation’s history, and it supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. The command is composed of many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archaeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, the USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

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U.S., Coalition Continue Strikes to Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq

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U.S., Coalition Continue Strikes to Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq
08/20/2017 07:43 AM CDT

U.S., Coalition Continue Strikes to Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 20, 2017 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 15 strikes consisting of 24 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets:

Department of Defense (DoD)

Iraqi Forces Begin Offensive to Liberate Tal Afar

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Iraqi Forces Begin Offensive to Liberate Tal Afar
08/20/2017 07:24 AM CDT

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Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. DoD Graphic

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Iraqi Forces Begin Offensive to Liberate Tal Afar

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 20, 2017 — Iraqi security forces have begun their offensive to liberate the city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said today.

The global coalition against ISIS welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s statement earlier today announcing the launch of the offensive to liberate Tal Afar and the remainder of Ninevah province and northern Iraq from ISIS, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, said in a statement.

All branches of the Iraqi security forces will take part in the liberation of Tal Afar: the 9th, 15th and 16th Iraqi army divisions, the counterterrorism Service, the federal police and emergency response division and the Iraqi local police, as well as popular mobilization forces under Abadi’s command, task force officials said.

“Following their historic victory in Mosul, the [Iraqi security forces] have proven themselves a capable, formidable and increasingly professional force, and they are well-prepared to deliver another defeat to ISIS in Tal Afar,” coalition officials said in a statement. “The coalition will continue to help the government and security forces to liberate the Iraqi people and defeat ISIS through five means: by providing equipment, training, intelligence, precision fires and combat advice.”

Fully Committed

Though the recent liberation of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, was a decisive victory for the Iraqi security forces, it did not mark the end of ISIS in Iraq, or its worldwide threat,” Townsend said.

“The [Iraqi security forces] operation to liberate Tal Afar is another important fight that must be won to ensure the country and its citizens are finally free of ISIS,” he added. “The coalition is strong, and fully committed to supporting our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated and the Iraqi people are free.”

Coalition officials estimate that 10,000 to 50,000 civilians remain in and around Tal Afar, the task force statement said, and the coalition applies rigorous standards to its targeting process and takes “extraordinary efforts” to protect noncombatants.

“In accordance with the laws of armed conflict and in support of its partnered forces who are risking their lives every day in the fight against an evil enemy, the coalition will continue to strike valid military targets, after considering the principles of military necessity, humanity, proportionality and distinction,” the coalition statement said.

Related Links

Special Report: Operation Inherent Resolve

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U.S. Navy Navy Live Update

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First CVN to Complete an OFRP Cycle: Ike enters Newport News Shipyards for maintenance and modernization to start her second OFRP Cycle
08/18/2017 03:23 PM EDT

By Rear Admiral Bruce H. Lindsey Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transited from Naval Station Norfolk to the Norfolk Naval Shipyards on Aug. 5 to begin her second Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) Maintenance Phase. Her first OFRP Sustainment Phase is now complete, and after much success supporting the …

Navy Drops Anchor in Indianapolis for Navy Week
08/18/2017 01:03 PM EDT

Coinciding with the Indiana State Fair, Navy Week Indianapolis, Aug. 7-13, included a week-long series of engagements which brought America’s Navy closer to the people it protects. The U.S. Navy Week program serves as our principal outreach effort into the areas of the country without a significant Navy presence. The program helps Americans understand that …

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U.S. Navy Top Stories Update

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Researchers Announce Wreckage from USS Indianapolis Located
08/19/2017 12:53 PM EDT

A team of civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has announced they have found the wreck of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35), which was lost July 30, 1945.

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Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Naval Forces Europe – News Release Update

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USS Oscar Austin Arrives in Rota, Spain
08/18/2017 08:46 PM CEST

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) arrived at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Aug. 18, 2017, for a mid-patrol availability period.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Researchers Announce Wreckage from USS Indianapolis Located

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Researchers Announce Wreckage from USS Indianapolis Located
08/19/2017 12:33 PM EDT

NNS170819-01. Researchers Announce Wreckage from USS Indianapolis Located

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

WASHINGTON (NNS) — A team of civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has announced they have found the wreck of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35), which was lost July 30, 1945.

This is a significant discovery considering the depth of the water in which the ship was lost – more than 18,000 feet. Around 800 of the ship’s 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five days in the water – suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks – only 316 survived.

The wreck was located by the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel, which is owned by Allen, 5,500 meters below the surface, resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean.

“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling,” said Allen. “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.”

Indianapolis was lost in the final days of World War II when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the early morning hours of July 30, 1945. The Indianapolis sank in 12 minutes, making it impossible to send a distress signal or deploy much of its life-saving equipment. Prior to the attack, the Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima that would ultimately help end the war in the Pacific.

“Even in the worst defeats and disasters there is valor and sacrifice that deserves to never be forgotten,” said Sam Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. “They can serve as inspiration to current and future Sailors enduring situations of mortal peril. There are also lessons learned, and in the case of the Indianapolis, lessons re-learned, that need to be preserved and passed on, so the same mistakes can be prevented, and lives saved.”

Others have searched for Indianapolis in the past. Among the elements that made this effort different was Allen’s recent acquisition and retrofit of the 250-foot R/V Petrel with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000 meters (or three and a half miles).

“The Petrel and its capabilities, the technology it has and the research we’ve done, are the culmination years of dedication and hard work,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen. “We’ve assembled and integrated this technology, assets and unique capability into operating platform, which is now one amongst very few on the planet.”

The other key factor in the discovery was information that surfaced in 2016 when Dr. Richard Hulver, historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command, conducted research that led to a new search area to the west of the original presumed position.

Hulver’s research identified a naval landing craft that had recorded a sighting of Indianapolis hours before it was torpedoed. Using that information, the research team developed a new position and estimated search, which was still a daunting 600 square miles of open ocean.

Allen-led expeditions have also resulted in the discovery of the Japanese battleship Musashi (March 2015) and the Italian WWII destroyer Artigliere (March 2017). His team was also responsible for retrieving and restoring the ship’s bell from the HMS Hood for presentation to the British Navy in honor of its heroic service. Allen’s expedition team was recently transferred to the newly acquired and retrofitted R/V Petrel specifically for continuing exploration and research efforts.

The 13-person expedition team on the R/V Petrel is in the process of surveying the full site and will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks.

Their work is compliant with U.S. law, respecting the sunken ship as a war grave and not disturbing the site. USS Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Navy and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy. The crew of the R/V Petrel has collaborated with Navy authorities throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 22 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archaeology, Navy histories, ten museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

To learn more, visit history.navy.mil.