In Harms Way

Topics: Distress signal, Navy, Naval War College Pages: 4 (1493 words) Published: March 26, 2013
Essay over In Harm’s Way
By Doug Stanton


Would captain Mcvay still be alive today if he hadn’t been convicted of failing to zigzag or sending out a distress signal? Would his life have been different? This essay will concentrate on what took place aboard the ship and the continuing debate on the guilt of Captain Charles Butler Mcvay III in the tragedy of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Mcvay was descended from a long line of navy men. He attended the Naval War College and completed his studies in International law. After leaving the naval war college, he worked on twelve different ships in the Atlantic and in the Pacific. In 1943, he was executive officer of the cruiser Cleveland in the battle of Solomon Islands and was honored for his service with the Silver Star. Later, he was appointed chairman of the Joint Intelligence Staff in the Office of Vice Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, DC. Mcvay was skilled and experienced man. He was taught by the best, and the navy knew he was ready to become Captain. With years of training, Mcvay was given the position of captain for the first time in 1945, to the USS Indianapolis. Mcvay’s first assignment was to leave San Francisco and deliver what was known as the “little Boy,” an atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. This was a top secret mission. What at first appeared to be a smooth operation would become a terrible ordeal. On Sunday July 29th, 1945, during the return of the secret mission the USS Indy was mortally wounded by two torpedoes and sank in minutes. This would have been prevented if a destroy escort would have been assigned. Ignored in the battlefield sea of Guam for five days, the 1,196 soldiers (not including the ones that died from the torpedoes) underwent five dreadful days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean only 317 brave soldiers made it home. An estimated 50 per day were eaten by sharks. Why no one warned captain Mcvay about the enemies lurking the Peddie route is...
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