USS Indianapolis

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 from throughout the 1930’s during peacetime. Her twice served role as presidential flagship for President Franklin D Roosevelt will be highlighted in future posts.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Steaming at high speed while running trials at the time of her completion, 1932.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Leaving the upper chamber of the Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal, 4 March 1933.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Anchored off San Pedro, California, 22 April 1935, flying a Vice Admiral’s flag. Terminal Island is in the left background. Long Beach is in the right distance.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Crewmen holding one of her life rings, circa 1935.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Ship’s new Commanding Officer, Captain Henry Kent Hewitt, USN, inspects her Marine Detachment, as he assumes command, 16 March 1936. Also in the reviewing party are the ship’s Executive Officer, Commander Theodore S. Wilkinson (left) and First Lieutenant John D. Blanchard, USMC. Marines are “Presenting Arms” with M1903 rifles.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). At Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, circa 1937.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Ship’s complement and flag contingent posed on the forecastle and forward 8″ turrets and superstructure, while anchored at Berth Number One, Long Beach, California, in the last half of 1937. Seated in the front row, center, is Vice Admiral William T. Tarrant, Commander, Scouting Force, US Fleet. To his left, also in front row, is Captain Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Arriving at Portland, Oregon, for Navy Day, October 1937.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, circa 1938.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Aerial, starboard bow, underway. 1939.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Underway at sea, during the 1930s.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Silhouetted against the sun, while at sea during the 1930s.

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

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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:

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