tv USS Indianapolis Gold Medal Ceremony CSPAN August 11, 2020 4:17pm-4:56pm EDT
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hello. as speaker of the house it is my privilege to welcome you all to this celebration of courage and patriotism 75 years to the day since the "uss indianapolis" met its fate while sailing through the philippines sea toward the end of world war ii. today, despite the unprecedented circumstances, we come together as the united states congress bestows its highest honor, the congressional gold medal on the crewmen of the "uss indianapolis." thank you to the entire indiana delegation, indiana governor, and secretary of the navy for your efforts to make this momentous event possible. thank you as well to leader mitch mcconnell, leader chuck schumer and leader kevin mccarthy for helping to ensure that this virtual ceremony would
be such a wonderful success. and thank you to all of those joining online to recognize and pay tribute to the american heroes of the "uss indianapolis." ladies and gentlemen, at this time, please stand as you are able, for the presentation of the colors and the national anthem. >> colors present arms. ♪ o say can you see ♪ by the dawn's early light
♪ what so proudly we held at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ or the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ and the rocket's red glare ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ o say does that star spangled
members, friends and members of the legacy organization at this virtual reunion. ever since the first reunion on july 30th and 31st of 1960, which was organized by giles mccoy and 15 survivors, these men have gathered to remember and to give thanks. they know that it's important to reflect on the sacrifice of men lost at sea and the lifelong hardships of the men that survived and continue to grieve for their shipmates. they cherish their memories. over the years the survivors of the families have built tremendous bonds of friendship and mutual support. the men have sailed on the "uss indianapolis," one of only two heavy cruisers that were awarded ten battle stars for their bravery, and their final mission
played a vital role in ending the war. lord, we are blessed to be able to honor the survivors who are still living, continue to bless them and their families and all the friends and supporters who keep alive the memories of the brave men of the "uss indianapolis." we ask all of this in your holy name. amen. good day, ladies and gentlemen. i am sam cox, director of the naval history and heritage command. we commemorate the valor and sacrifice of the 1,195 sailors who served aboard the "indianapolis" when she was torpedoed and sunk by a japanese submarine in the last days of the war on 30 july 1945. 316 of the crew survived the 12 minutes that it took the ship to sink and the horrific four days adrift in the open ocean afterwards. it's also important to note that
the crew of the "indianapolis" were heroes long before she was hit by japanese torpedoes. the ship served in ten major battles throughout the pacific war, from the first u.s. navy's offensive actions in new guinea in the hot tropics to the frigid waters of the aleutians. during most of the war, she served as a flagship for admiral raymond, who led the u.s. navy's offensive across the central pacific from the gilbert islands, the marshalls, the marianas, the carolines through iwo jima and on to okinawa frequently bombarding enemy positions ashore in support of u.s. marines. she shot down nine enemy aircraft before at okinawa. she was finally hit and badly damaged by a japanese kamikaze suicide plane. following repair she was given the top-secret mission of taking key components of the first atomic bomb from the united states to the b-29 bomber base
on tinny island. she did so in record time. only a few days later, she had her encounter with i-58 in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. there were numerous lessons learned from this tragedy that have been incorporated into operational procedures of the u.s. navy even today. if there is a lesson from the survivors, it is never, ever give up. thank you. >> on behalf of every sailor, marine and civilian in the department of the navy serving today, i send our thanks and appreciation to the brave veterans of "uss indianapolis" and to your families for your record of service and sacrifice. from pearl harbor to the final days of world war ii, you and your shipmates, as part of our greatest generation, completed mission after mission, taking the fight to the enemy and changing the course of history. in the waning days of the war, you didn't stop when a kamikaze struck your ship. you made it safely back to port
and returned quickly to sea to carry out one of the greatest missions of world war ii. you did not know the cargo you carried from san francisco to the mariana islands in july of 1945 would change the course of the war. you just knew you had to make it through dangerous waters. you set speed records, kept the watch, braved the contested waters and delivered the atomic bomb. if it wasn't for you and your shipmates, history may have turned out very differently. we, all americans, owe you a forever debt of gratitude. we must always hold close to our hearts those who died when your ship was torpedoed on your return, and those who perished over the horrific four days that followed, one of the darkest chapters of a naval history. we cannot forget the astounding gift and bravery shown of those who live to tell the tale, and we can never relinquish the important lessons our navy learned from that tragedy. each of you added significantly
to the remarkable story of our navy, to our traditions and to our ethos of service above self. and your service, your sacrifice, embodied the core tenants of our navy, honor, courage and commitment. so, to you, the crew of "uss indianapolis," we the navy salute you out of respect and admiration and we thank you for your service to make a stand a little taller, a little prouder for all that you did. bravo zulu, shipmates, and may god bless you and your families always. >> it's my great honor on this 75th anniversary to salute the crew of the "uss indianapolis" and recognize your valiant service. you and your shipmates answered the call at a critical time in the life of our nation, indeed the world, in your encourage and
devotion to duty in the face of danger, preserved freedom both here on the homeland and around the globe. your bravery set an enduring example and influenced generations of servicemembers. as a navy man, i could not be more proud that the legacy of the "uss indianapolis," your legacy, is carried forward today by a magnificent ship that sails under the same stars and stripes and proudly bears the same name. and by its crew who now follow in your footsteps. yo you're heroes in every sense of the world and totally deserving recipients of this congressional gold medal. on behalf of 6.7 million
hoosiers thank you for your service and your lifetime of sacrifice. >> thanks to all of you who are here to honor our heroes. i'm joe donnelly, the former senator from indianapolis and i'm so proud to have been the sponsor of this legislation along with my colleagues so that the crew of the "uss indianapolis" would get this long-deserving congressional gold medal. our ship, the heavy cruiser "uss indianapolis," is the stuff of legend. it was host to president roosevelt. it was the recipient of ten battle stars. that's right. ten battle stars. for its service in world war ii. and it was the ship chosen for the secret mission that helped end world war ii. but the heart of the indy and the heart of this congressional gold medal are the men who served on her.
they were skippered by capture mcvay and they fought to defend our country, put their lives on the line, they never gave up against incredible odds and they showed incredible grit and determination and patriotism. those of us who are from indiana and indianapolis are incredibly proud that the crew and the ship carried the name of our capital city into battle with such amazing success and determination. the name "uss indianapolis" is still today sailing the seas and serves our nation and that cruise goal that is on the seas every day today is to try to live up to the example and the determination and the legend that was seat by heavy cruiser
"indianapolis" and the crew. to our crew, thank you, from a grateful nation, for your courage, for your service, for your bravery while fighting to defend the united states. this gold medal is well deserved and it only scratches the surface of how much we love you, care about you and are grateful for your amazing service to our country. may god bless the crew of the "uss indianapolis." may god bless the state of indiana and the city of indianapolis and may god bless the united states of america. >> the "uss indianapolis" named after the state capital of indiana and her crew showed encourage beyond measure and service to our nation and to the cause of freedom and liberty. commissioned in 1932, the "uss
indianapolis" was active in the pacific theater of world war ii and saw action in many of the major battles fought in the pacific. she and her crew played an important role in helping secure victory over japan. unbeknownst to the crew, the cargo contained on the ship, enriched uranium, would bring japan to surrender and save the lives of countless american soldiers. sadly, shortly after making it delivery, the "uss indianapolis" was hit and sunk by a japanese to torpedo. about 300 men were trapped inside the ship and lost their lives when the ship went down. 900 men escaped and went into the water where hundreds died over the next four days before help arrived. of the 1,196 men who served aboard the "uss indianapolis," only 316 survived the sinking. the stories tell a tale of fear and desperation but also heroism
and brotherhood. i'm honored to be part of the ceremony awarding the entire crew of the "uss indianapolis" the congressional gold medal and recognizing the sacrifice they made to ensure our freedom. >> hello, hello, hello. i'm extremely pleased to take part in today's ceremony honoring the veterans of the "uss indianapolis" and their families. also want to thank our congressional leaders, and members of congress, and everyone who has helped make this ceremony so special. 75 years after the tragic sinking of the "uss indianapolis," the values displayed by the brave americans on board continue to guide us. in these times, it's more important than ever. we're grateful to the people on this ship and we can never fully repay the debt we owe them.
they endured unspeakable hardship and tragedy all in the name of service to our country and in the defense of freedom. we honor the hundreds who died as well as their loved ones who still grieve this day. and we thank the survivors particularly those who are still with us who have spent their lives making sure we never forgot the heroism displayed that day. it is my hope that this congressional gold medal helps future generations of americans also remember the sacrifices of the greatest generation. in the meantime, we still have more work ahead of us to properly honor them by ensuring the freedoms they fought for are protected. let's come together as americans to continue this important journey toward justice for all. thank you. >> hello, i'm senator todd young. as i marine i want to extend my
sincerest gratitude to the crew of the "uss indianapolis." surviving one of the most harrowing attacks in naval history. what you experienced in the pacific waters in 1945 must never be forgotten. you and your shipmates were on a mission to save the world and you helped put an end to the unspeakable eventually of world war ii. in honor of your bravery, i worked with joe donnelly to pass legislation granting the congressional gold medal to the crew aboard the "uss indianapolis." this is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the united states congress. and today it's an honor to be able to help present this medal in honor of your service and sacrifice to our great nation. on behalf of hoosiers and all americans, i say thank you. your bravery and encourage continues to inspire and i wish
♪ >> it is my privilege to join my colleagues from the house and senate to present the sailors of the "uss indianapolis" the congressional gold medal. in july of 1945 after delivering in secret the key ingredients of the atomic bomb, the 1200 sailors of the "indianapolis" embarked on the voyage from guam to leyte without escort.
in the early hours of july 30th, the "indianapolis" was sunk by a japanese submarine. 300 sailors went down with the ship. the remaining 900 were stranded at sea, suffering from dehydration, exposure, salt water poisoning and shark attacks before the navy found them. only 316 of the 1200 had survived. it was the single greatest loss of life in u.s. naval history and one of the most tragic maritime disasters in history. we present the gold medal to the eight surviving crew members of the indianapolis, but it's a tribute intended for all 1200 sailors. the final tragic hours in no way diminish the sacrifice made by those 900 men and boys 75 years ago. as we say thank you, a grateful nation pledges to never forget
what happens to the "uss indianapolis" and to always remember the american patriots who were lost in that terrible attack. i wish we could observe this moment of history. wherever you all may be, i offer you, the sailors and family members, my greatest measure of thanks. may you all be safe and healthy and god bless you and all of your loved ones. >> those present at the commissioning of the "uss indianapolis" in november of 1932 knew they were looking at a nighty ship, but they had no idea it would carry a war-ending weapon across the pacific. the men lining up knew the navy would take courageous, but even they could not have imagined how that would unfold on july 30th, 1945. throughout the second world war, america's sons made many names
into permanent synonyms for bravery. but the crew of the "indianapolis" remained in a certain class of their own. already their ship had served as the flagship and earned ten battle stars in hard-fought engagements all across the pacific theater. already her crew had secretly put gears in motion to end the war. but their fight didn't end with the worst of the enemy. they also had to face the worst of mother nature. in an instance, her crew went from fighting the battles without to fighting the battles within. they fought to stay alert, to look after each other, literally to hold on for dear life. our nation lost hundreds of heroes in those harrowing days. just last month, we lost one
more, tony king. those who perished in the water gave our nation the ultimate sacrifice. those who survived, shared their wisdom and example with us for decades more. but the true legacy of the "indianapolis" was secure before those torpedos struck. her crew turned the tide of the war so to her crewmen who are still keeping watch, who have joined us today, your congress and your nation say thank you. >> 75 years ago in the final months of world war ii, the crew of the "uss indianapolis" departed san francisco's hunter's point on a top secret mission. their record-setting voyage changed the course of history and enabled the united states to
finally bring an end of years of brutal conflict. for their contributions to the advancement of freedom and democracy, the "uss indianapolis" 1195 crewmen are worthy of our greatest esteem. it's important to acknowledge the further tragedy that followed the sinking of the "uss indianapolis" in the early morning hours of july 30th, 1945. that five night and four day ordeal stole the lives of 879 brave sailors and cemented the "uss indianapolis" and its crew forever in the hearts of the american people. 316 men returned home and dedicated their lives to ensuring that the memory of their fallen comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice would continue to be honored. sadly last month we lost a cherished member of the "uss
indianapolis" veterans community and a constituent of mine from san francisco, tony king. we all mourn with his family at this sad time and wish he were with us to see this historic day. today just eight "uss indianapolis" veterans remain but their commitment to telling their extraordinary story continues to motivate countless americans to answer the call of service and to continue fighting to preserve the blessings of liberty and freedom. bestowing on them the congressional gold medal enables them to now take their rightful place in the pantheon of american heroes whose exceptional valor and service have strengthened our nation. in accepting the award, the men of the "uss indianapolis" bring luster to it as their service brings luster to the united states of america. on behalf of united states
congress and a grateful nation, i'm pleased to present the congressional gold medal to the crew of the "uss indianapolis" in recognition of the perseverance, bravery and service. now this gold medal will be proudly displayed at the indiana war mutual wheseum where it wil continue to inspire americans. thank you. ♪ ♪
>> 75 years ago the "indianapolis" plunged into the depths of the pacific ocean when it was struck by two japanese torpedos. that sinking is not what thrust the "indianapolis" into the annals of history. what we're memory oralizing here today is the accomplishments of the crew, not the fact that they were sunk. the survivors of the sinking of the "indianapolis" struggled for almost five days in the water, just to survive. then for the next five decades they continued to fight. they did not fight for recognition for themselves. they did not fight for restitution from the navy for the awful fact that they were forgotten in the water and left
to die. they fought to clear their captain's name. the surviving crew members of the "indianapolis" have asked me to speak on their behalf. they pulled me into their fight in 1998 while i was still captain of the nuclear fast attack submarine "uss indianapolis" and i was proud to join them in their fight to exonerate their captain. over the years, i have come to know and admire nearly 200 of the survivors. today as i speak these words only eight survivors remain. they fought over 55 years to get the navy to do the right thing for their captain. but in the end it was an act of congress that exonerated him.
in may 2001 i was proud to enter congress's exoneration language into captain mcvay's service record. that year i was equally proud to help present the navy unit to the crew of the "indianapolis." it took over 55 years for the navy to officially acknowledge the ship's accomplishments, but it got done. and today it is congress again that makes things right by honoring a crew that has done so much for this country. this congressional gold medal does not recognize only the survivors, it recognizes all of the crew members, both survivors and lost at sea. it recognizes a fighting ship's crew, one that helped end the most terrible war this world has
ever known. it recognizes among the best that the united states navy has to offer. this honor was not sought by them. they did not ask congress to receive this completely unexpe. as for this rest of us, we know that it comes completely deserved. not one crew member of the indianapolis, not one, would ever describe themselves as a hero. but they would all say that they served in a crew of heroes. on behalf of the entire crew of the u.s.s indianapolis, survivors lost at sea and family members, i would like to thank congress of the united states for this great honor. i know how grateful they are living in debt, and i must
convey that gratitude on their behalf. thank you and god bless. >> hello. my name is stewart good p win, brigadier general. we manage 25 acres of properties in downtown indianapolis that honor mill tir service members. included is the u.s.s indianapolis ca-35 museum. the story behind the presentation of this national award is one of this country's most historic military missions, yet the crew and families of this highly decorated combat world war ii naval vessel have never received the recognition they deserve. that is why this presentation represents the gratitude of our nation to all those touched by this amazing story. the seeking inflicted numerous actions that included instant deaths life threatening burns, broken bones, emotional
distress. and the crew endured four and a half days of strong seas and shark attacks, with no food or water. many survivors said it was their faith in god that pulled them through this horrific ordeal. we think most of us would agree there are no words that can adequately express to those who survived the heart felt gratitude for what they endured. however, there is something we can do and we're doing it with this presentation. we can take every opportunity available to tell their story, thank all of those involved, and pray for their souls. this national recognition will provide countless opportunities to educate future generations about these warriors. we want to thank speaker pelosi, the indiana house delegation and the u.s. mint for making this possible. we would like to thank the survivors organization for their decades of support to the crew
and their families and the legacy organization whose mission is to promote and perpetuate the memory of all who served the u.s.s indianapolis. also thanks to the indiana war memorial staff who designed built and maintained the museum. we want to invite you to visit the war museum to view this distinguished gold medal in the museum exhibit where approximately 100,000 visitors will observe it manually. we hope to see you soon. thank you. you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3, explore our nation's past. c-span3, created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. weeknights this month we're featuring american history programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on
c-span3. tonight a look at our series on the presidency, first herbert hoover and fdr, the political relationships between the roosevelt and kennedy families, and jfk's response to the nuclear arms race and civil rights. watch tomorrow. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span3. "the presidents" available in paperback, hard cover, and ebook from public affairs, presents biographies of every president, inspired by conversations with noted historians about the leadership skills that make for a successful presidency. in this presidential election year, as americans decide who should lead our country, this collection offers perspectives into the lives and events that forged each presidents' leadership style. to learn more about all our
presidents and the featured historians, visit c-span.org/thepresidents. available in hard cover, paper back and ebook. u.s. navy veteran harlan twible recounts surviving the sinking. the crew had just delivered bomb parts to tinian island. surviving crew members, only 317 out of 1,196, were not rescued were several days. the national world war ii museum recorded this interview. >> i was born in gilbertville, massachusetts, march 10th, 1922. >> you just recently had a birthday too,