The USS Indianapolis was built before World War II in 1930 and commissioned into the Navy in 1932. She was of the Portland class of heavy cruisers and there was one other ship of her class, the USS Portland. In her pre-war years she shuttled President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a goodwill cruise to South American countries. It was on this ship that Roosevelt was made a Shell-back from a Pollywog because the ship crossed the equator. Although details are obscure, Roosevelt mentioned it was two days of intense hazing and initiation that should not be talked about.
Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt on the USS Indianapolis
LC-USZ62-96632: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, (center), onboard USS Indianapolis (CA-35). The President is shown with, (left to right): Eleanor Roosevelt; Mrs. James (Betsy Cushing); the President; James Roosevelt; and President Roosevelt’s mother, Mrs. James (Sara) Roosevelt, during the fleet review off New York City, May 31, 1934. They are standing infront of the second eight-inch gun turret. U.S. Navy Photograph, donated by Harold L. Ickes. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. (2015/12/11).
President Roosevelt waves to the crowds from the USS Indianapolis upon arrival in Uruguay. December 1936.
Pacific Tours of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
When World War II began, the USS Indianapolis served one time as the flag ship for Admiral Raymond Spruance. In 1942 and 1943 operations, the USS Indianapolis was involved in various task forces and special missions. Several times the USS Indianapolis was docked for repairs and refit due to battle damage from fighting the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Involved in the invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the USS Indianapolis engaged Japanese ships and gave support to U.S. invasion forces. The Indianapolis even went as far up as the Aleutian Islands to dislodge Japanese forces. In 1944, Operations saw the Indianapolis support the landings at Tarawa and Palau Islands. She was then sent to participate in the Battle of the Marianna Islands and the Battle of Philippine Sea. In 1945, the USS Indianapolis was sent with a large Naval Task Force to support the landings at Iwo Jima, where she slugged it out with Japanese guns on Iwo.
Following her service at Iwo Jima, she was sent to participate in the Battle of Okinawa. This is when a Japanese fighter plane bombed the ship. The bomb went deep into the ship and exploded in the mess hall killing her sailors, rupturing fuel tanks and causing extensive damage. Damaged, the Indianapolis limped back to Mare Island in California for extensive repairs and was then sent back into the Pacific to participate in more battles.
USS Indianapolis docked at Mare Island for repairs (U.S. Navy photo/Released):
USS Indianapolis at Mare Island, California in 1937 (U.S. Navy photo/Released) US Navy Photo
Photo: Sailors Under the Eight Inch Gun Turret
80-G-287122: Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN, Commander Fifth Fleet on board flagship USS Indianapolis (CA 35), July 18, 1944. Left to right, Lieutenant Junior Grade H.B. Chessher, Jr., USNR; Lieutenant G.R. Stratman, USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade T.L. Stevens, Jr., USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade H.W. Hinkle, USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade A.F. Lenertz, USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade J.Q. Adams, USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade A.R. Bell, USNR. (Second Row, Left to right): Lieutenant Junior Grade B. McInerney, USNR; Lieutenant C.R.. Huie, USNR; Lieutenant A.S. Lane, USNR; Lieutenant C.F. Fodd, USNR; Lieutenant J.C. Tillotso, USNR; Lieutenant W.M. Crickard, USNR; Lieutenant H.F. Parker, USNR; Lieutenant Junior Grade L.S. Myers, USNR. (Third Row, left to right): Commander (unidentified); Captain R.W. Morse, USN; Captain B.B. Biggs, USN; Captain C.J. Moore, USN; Admiral R.A. Spruance, USN; Captain E.P. Forrestal, USN; Captain C.H. Murphy, USN; Colonel J.E. Jones, USMC. (Fourth Row, left to right): Lieutenant Commander C.F. Barber, USNR; Lieutenant Commander C.F. Coleman, USNR; Lieutenant Commander G.M. Slonim, USNR; Commander M. C. Burns, USN; Commander J.R. Armstrong, USN; Lieutenant Colonel G.S. Eckhardt, AUS; Lieutenant Commander W. B. McCormick, USNR; and Lieutenant E.H. McKissick, USN. (6/18/2015).
Photo: Lieutenant Junior Grade W.G. Gwinn
80-G-490324: Lieutenant Junior Grade W.G. Gwinn, USNR, was the pilot of the PV-1 Ventura patrol bomber which sighted the survivors of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) sunk by Japanese submarine I-58, July 30, 1945. Photograph released August 15, 1945. (2015/11/10)
Author - Jerry Avalos Title Photo Credit: USS Indianapolis in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1937. US Navy Photo