USS Indianapolis – Presidential Flagship

I’ve spoken previously about the USS Indianapolis and my father’s time on it. Commissioned in November 1932, the Indy spent most of the 1930’s on goodwill missions. She spent the first few months of World War Two in the South Pacific before heading to Alaska to participate in the campaign there against the Japanese in the Aleutians. In late 1943, she became the flagship of Admiral Spruance and during 1944 and 1945 participated in operations in the Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Marianas Islands, Peleliu Island, Iwo Jima, the Japanese home islands, and the Ryukyus. Her final mission was to transport atomic bomb components from California to Tinian Island in the Marianas. She sailed for the Philippines after and was sank on 30 July 1945 by the Japanese submarine I-58 resulting in the largest single loss of life at sea in the history of the US Navy.

The following pictures are of the USS Indianapolis during the 31 May 1934 Presidential fleet review held for President Franklin D Roosevelt in New York City.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) (at left). With President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board, acts as the reviewing platform as a formation of eighteen TG-1/2 (or T4M-1) torpedo planes passes overhead, during the fleet review off New York City, 31 May 1934. The President is standing immediately in front of Indianapolis’ second eight-inch gun turret. The ship at right, in the distance, is USS Louisville (CA-28).

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (center). Enjoys a joke with Ambassador to Mexico (and former Secretary of the Navy) Josephus Daniels, at right, and Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson, during the fleet review off New York City, 31 May 1934. They are standing immediately in front of the second eight-inch gun turret of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). President Franklin D. Roosevelt, embarked on the Indianapolis, receives a 21-gun salute from the Coast Guard Cutter Mojave, during the Presidential fleet review off Ambrose Light, New York, 31 May 1934. The President’s reviewing platform is located immediately before Indianapolis’ second eight-inch gun turret.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) (at left). With President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board, acts as the reviewing platform as the Battle Fleet passes across her bow, during the fleet review off New York City, 31 May 1934.
The President’s station was immediately in front of Indianapolis’ second eight-inch gun turret. Nine battleships are seen in line-ahead formation.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Steaming in New York Harbor with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board, at the time of the Presidential fleet review off Ambrose Light, New York, 31 May 1934.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). View looking aft from the forward superstructure as USS Sturtevant (DD-240) comes alongside , during the Presidential fleet review off New York City, 31 May 1934. A Curtiss O2U scout floatplane is on Indianapolis’ starboard catapult. Note the ship’s aircraft crane, searchlights, and the Presidential Flag flying from the mainmast peak.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval History & Heritage Command.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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