tv USS Indianapolis Gold Medal Ceremony CSPAN August 16, 2020 9:01am-9:37am EDT
hiroshima. surviving crew members only 317 were not rescued for several days. next on american history tv on this 75th anniversary of the ship's sinking, congress awarded the entire crew, the congressional gold medal its highest civilian honor. the ceremony was held online and the house of representatives rovided the video. >> hello, it is my privilege to welcome you all to the celebration of courage and patriotism 75 years to the day since the u.s.s. indianapolis met its fate while sail thug the philippine sea to the end of world war ii. today, despite the unprecedented circumstances, we come together as a united states congress to bestow its highest honor, the congressional gold medal on the crew men of the u.s.s. indianapolis.
thank you to the entire indiana delegation, indiana governor eric holcomb and secretary of the navy and brigadier general goodwin for your efforts to make this event possible. thank you as well to leader mitch mcconnell, chuck schumer for helping to ensure that this virtual ceremony would be such a wonderful success. and thank you to honorary captain captain toby and all those joining online to recognize and pay tribute to the american heroes of the u.s.s. indianapolis. ladies and gentlemen, at this time, please stand as you are able for the presentation of the olors and the national anthem.
>> let us pray. dear lord, we ask your blessing today on the survivor of the -- survivors of the u.s.s. indianapolis, their family member, friends, and members of the legacy organization at this virtual reunion. ever since the first reunion on july 30 and 31 of 1960, which was organized by giles mccoy the 15th survivors, these men have gathered to remember and to give thanks. they know the importance of reflecting on the sacrifice of the men who were lost at sea and the lifelong hardships of the men who survived and continue to grieve for their shipmates.
and their final mission played a vital role in end the war. lord, we are blessed to be able to honor the survivors 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 u.s.s. indianapolis. we ask all of this in your holy name. amen. >> good day, ladies and gentlemen. i'm sam cox, the director of the naval history heritage command. today we commemorate the valor nd sacrifice on the 1, 195
sailors who serve aboard the indianapolis when she sunk by a apanese submarine on 30, july, 1945. only 316 of her crew survived the 12 minutes that it took the ship to i think 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 torpedo -- torpedoes. the ship served in 10 major battles from the first u.s. navy's offensive action in new guinea and the hot tropics to the friend waters to the andalusians and she served a as flagship who led the u.s. navy's across the central photographic the gilbert islands, the marshalls, the -- through hiroshima and on to okinawa.
she shut down nine enemy aircraft before she was finally hit and badly damaged by a japanese kamikaze suicide plane. follow her repair, she was given the top secret mission of taking key exoventse the first atomic bomb from the united states to the b-29 bomber base on the island and did so in record time. only a few days later, she had her encounter with i-58 in the middle of nowhere the middle of the night. the were numerous lessons learned from this tragedy that have been corporated into operational procedures of the u.s.s. indianapolis navy even today. and if there's a lesson from the survivors, it's 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 sincere thanks and appreciation to the brave
veterans of u.s.s. indianapolis and to your families for you record of service sacrifice. from pearl har ignore the final days of world war ii, you and your shipmates as part of our generation completed mission after mission, taking the fight on the enemy and changing the course of history. in the waning days of the war, you didn't stop when a come kazy struck your ship. you returned quickly to sea to carry out one of the greatest missions of world war ii. you didn't know the cargo you carried from san francisco on the islands in july of 1945 would change the course of the war. you just knew it had to make it through dangerous waters so you set speed records, kept the watch, braved the contested waters and delivered the atomic omb. if it wasn't for you, history may have turned out differently. we and all americans owe you forever a debt of gratitude we must hold close tour hearts
those who died on your return and those who perished over the horrific four days that followed. one of the darkest chapters in our naval history. we can never forget the astounding gift and bravery shown by 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 on the remarkable story of our navy to our traditions and to our ethos of service above self. and your service, your sacrifice, embody the core tenants of our navy, honor, courage, and commitment. so to you, the crew of u.s.s. indianapolis, we, the navy, salute you out of respect and admiration and we thank you for your service to make a stand -- us stand a little taller, a ittle browder for all you did. bravo constitutional yoo, shipmates and may god bless you
always. >> it is my great honor on this 75th anniversary to salute the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis. you and your shipmates answer the call at a critical time in the life of our nation, indeed the world in your courage and devotion to duty and the face of -- in the face of danger, preserved freedom both here, on the homeland and around the globe. you influenced generations of service members. as a navy man, i could not be more proud that the legacy of the u.s.s. 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. you're heroes in every sense of the word and totally, totally deserving recipients of this congressional gold medal. o on behalf of 6.7 million hoosiers, thank you, to you and your families, for your service nd your lifetime of sacrifice. >> thanks to you. i'm joe donnelly, the former senator of indianapolis and i am so proud have been the sponsor of this legislation along my colleagues so that the crew, the u.s.s. indianapolis would get this long deserving congressional gold medal. our ship, the crew of u.s.s. indianapolis is the stuff of legends.
it was the recipient of 10 battlestars. yes, that's right. 10 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 ending and the heart of this congressional gold medal are the men who served you should. they were skippered by captain 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 u.s.s. indianapolis is still today sailing the seas and serves our nation. d that crew's goal let ounce the seas today is to try to live to the example and the determination and the legend that was set 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 fightinging 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 u.s.s. indianapolis. may god bless the state of indiana and the city of
indianapolis and may god bless he united states of america. >> the u.s.s. indianapolis named after the state capital of indiana and her crew showed courage and fortitude beyond measure and service to our nation and to the cause of freedom and liberty. commissioned in 1932, the u.s.s. indianapolis was active in the pacific theater of world war ii and saw action many of the major battles fought in the pacific. she and her crew played an important role in helping secure victory over japan. unbeknownst on the crew the cargo contained on the ship would bring japan to surrender and save the lives of countless american soldiers. sadly, shortly after making its delivery, the u.s.s. indianapolis was hit and sunk by a japanese torpedo on july 30, 1945. about 300 men were trapped inside the ship and lost their lives when the ship went down.
900 men escaped from the ship 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 u.s.s. indianapolis, only 316 survived the sinking. the stories related -- relayed by the survivors tell a tale of fear and desperation but also of heroism and brotherhood. i'm honored to be a part of the ceremony for the u.s.s. indianapolis and recognizing the sacrifice they made to ensure our freedom. >> hello, hello, hello. i am extremely pleased to take part in today's ceremony honoring the veterans of the u.s.s. indianapolis and their families. also i want to thank our .ongressional leaders governor holcomb, the secretary and general goodwin and everyone who has helped make this
ceremony so special. 75 years after the tragic sinking of the u.s.s. indianapolis, the values displayed by the brave americans on board continue to guide us. and these very tough times, they are more important than ever. we are eternally grateful to the people on this ship and we can never fully repay tchet 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 to stay. 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 their freedoms they fought for are protected. so let's come together as americans to continue this important journey toward justice for all. thank you. >> hello. i'm senator todd young. as a marine, i want to extend my sincerest gratitude the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis, surviving one of the most harrowing attacks in naval history which 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 help put an end to the unspeakable evil of world war ii. in honor of your bravery, i worked with former senator joe donnelly to pass legislation grant the congressional gold medal to the crew aboard the u.s.s. indianapolis. this is the highest civilian
honor bestowed by the united states congress. and today, it's an honor to finally 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 courage continues to inspire. and i wish you all fair winds and following seas. god bless. ♪
the u.s.s. indianapolis the congressional gold medal. in july of 1945 after delivering -- he key greens of the atomic bomb the 1,200 sailors of the indianapolis embark on the 1, 300-mile voyage without ex skort nearly hours of july 30, the indianapolis was sunk by a japanese submarine and in 12 minutes, 300 sailors went down with the ship. the remaining 900 was strand at sea for four days without water or food, suffering from dehydration, exposure, salt water poisoning and shark attacks before the navy found them. by the time the rescue came, only 316 of the 1,200 have survived. it was the single greatest loss of life from one ship in u.s. naval history and one of the most tragic maritime disasters in world history. so today we present the congressional gold medal to the
eight surviving crew members of the indianapolis but it's a tribute intended for all 1,200 sailors. the final tragic hours of the indianapolis in no way diminish the sacrifice made by those 900 men and boys, 75 years ago at the -- half a world away. and we say thank you, a grateful nation pledges to never forget what happened to the u.s.s. indianapolis and to always remember the american patriots who is were lost in that terrible attack. i wish we could observe this moment together in person to say thank you and on the member of our fallen sailors in person but wherever you all may be, i offer you the sailors and family members of all the crew members my greatest measure of thanks. may you all be safe and healthy and god bless you and all your loved ones. >> those present at the commissioning of the u.s.s. indianapolis in november, 1932 knew they were looking at a mighty ship but they had no idea
it would incur a war-ending super weapon across the pacific. and a decade later, the men lining up at recruiting stations knew the navy would take courage and perseverance but even they could not have imagined how that would unfold on july 30, 1945. throughout the second world war, america's sons made many names into permanent synonyms for bravery. but the crew of the indianapolis remain in a certain class of their own. already, their ship had served as admiral's flagship and earned 10 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 worse of the enemy. they also had to face the worst of mother nature.
inan instant, her crew went from fight the battles without to fighting the battles within. it 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 ken. those who perish ned water gave our nation the ultimate sacrifice. those who survived share 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 tied of the war. so to her crew men who are still keeping watch who joined us today, your congress and your ation say thank you.
>> 75 years ago in the final months of world war ii, the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis departed san francisco's 100th point naval shipyard on a top secret mission. their record-setting voyage changed the course of history and enabled the united states to finally bring an end to years of brutal conflict. for their indispensable contributions to the stands for freedom and democracy, the u.s.s. indianapolis's 1195 crew men worthy of our greatest esteem. it is important to acknowledge that further tragedy that followed the sinking of the u.s.s. indianapolis in the early 1945. hours of july 30, that five night and four-day ordeal stole the lives of 879 brave sailors and cemented the u.s.s. 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 u.s.s. indianapolis veterans community and a sandwich of mine from san .rancisco tony king we all mourn this sad time. i wish you were here with us to see this historic day. today, just eight u.s.s. indianapolis veterans remain but their commitment to telling their extraordinary story continue to motivate countless americans to continue to fighting to preserve the blessings 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 immeasurably strengthened our nation. in anticipate accepting the ward, the men brings luster to the united states of america. on behalf of the united states congress, a grasteful nation, i am pleased to present this congressional gold medal the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis in recognition of the perseverance, bravery and service. now this gold medal will be proudly displayed at the indianapolis war -- indiana war museum where it will continue to educate and inspire generations of patriotic americans. thank you. ♪
the survivors struggled for almost five days in the water just to survive. decades, they continued to fight. they did not look for recognition for themselves. they did not fight for facttution for the awful that they were in the water. they fought to clear the captain's name. today, the members of the indianapolis speak on their behalf. i was proud to join them in their fight for their captain. over the years, i have come to know and admire nearly 200 of the survivors.
today, speaking for only eight survivors, they fought for only over 55 years to do the right thing for their captain. , honoring him. in 2001, i was proud to enter the exoneration language. that year, i was equally proud to help present something to the crew of the indianapolis. years for the5 navy to initially acknowledge the ship's accomplishment. congress again makes things right by honoring crew
that have done so much t for this country. this metal does not recognize only the survivors. it recognizes all of the crewmembers, both survivors and those lost at sea. it represents the fighting ships 's crew. best ofnizes among the the united states navy has to offer. this comes completely unexpected. for the rest of us, we know that it comes completely deserved. not one crew member of the whateverlis, not one, described themselves as a hero. say theywould all
served in a crew of heroes. on behalf of the entire crew of the uss indianapolis, the survivors lost at sea, family members, i would like to thank congress of the united states for this honor. andow how grateful they are would like to convey that gratitude on their behalf. thank you, and god bless. >> hello. my name is stuart goodwin. 25 acres of properties in downtown indianapolis that honor military servicemembers with emphasis on hoosier veterans, and included in these properties is the location of the congressional gold medal. the story behind the presentation of this national award is one of this country most historic military missions but the crew and family of this
combat world war ii u.s. naval vessel have never received the recognition they deserve. that is why this presentation represents the gratitude from our nation to all those who were touched by this amazing story. of uss indianapolis inflicted numerous actions that included instant death from life-threatening burns, broken bones, emotional distress, and the carew enduring four and a half days of strong sees and track attacks with no food and water. many survivors said it was their faith in god that pulled them through this horrific ordeal. we think most of us would agree that there are no words to radically express to those who survived, were lost at sea and , their families the resistant heartfelt gratitude for what they endured so we can live free. however, there is something we can do and we're doing it with this presentation. we can take every opportunity available to tell the story, thank all those involved, and pray for their souls. this national recognition presented to them will present
opportunitiesess to educate future generations about these warriors. we want to thank this opportunity to thank speaker mint ford the u.s. making this war possible. additionally, we would like to thank the uss indianapolis survivors organization for their decades of support to the crew and their families and the recently organized organization whose mission is to promote and perpetuate all those who served at the uss indianapolis. also thanks to the indianapolis warm moral staff who is research staff built the uss indianapolis museum. we also want to invite you have to visit the museum to view this distinguished gold medal in the exhibit where approximately 100,000 visitors will observe it annually. we hope to see you soon. thank you. >>