The USS Indianapolis’ Secret Mission Turns into Tragedy

July 16, 1945. It’s the summer of 1945 and World War II is underway. The USS Indianapolis has just set out from Mare Island on a top-secret mission. The famous vessel is delivering enriched uranium and other components of “Little Boy” to Tinian Island. The mission is technically a success, but for the men aboard the Indianapolis, the challenges are just beginning. On July 30, the ship is struck by two Japanese torpedoes, stranding its sailors at sea. For three and a half days, survivors are left floating in the Pacific Ocean, fending off sun exposure, dehydration, and shark attacks – and waiting for help. Were any able to survive? And could this attack have been prevented?

Special thanks to our guest: Sara Vladic, co-author of Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man. She’s also the director of the documentary USS Indianapolis: The Legacy.

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