Ashes of USS Indianapolis Survivor Buried at Sea
On 30 Jul 1945, the Pacific War had nearly come to its end. She had just successfully delivered an atomic bomb to Tinian of the Mariana Islands, and was underway to the Philippine Islands for a training mission. About half way on her journey, she was spotted by Japanese submarine I-58 and sunk with two torpedo hits at night. Survivors floated for days before US Navy officials realized that the ship was lost. Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Eugene Morgan was among the 316 survivors of this sinking. "He was in his skivvies," said US Navy Machinist Mate 1st Class Jason Witty, Morgan's grandson. "He was tossed from his rack. There were fires. He got topside and the boat started to capsize." Most of those who survived, including Morgan, were haunted by nightmares of shark attacks and hallucinating comrades, caused by either starvation or drinking sea water.
Morgan became a firefighter in Seattle, Washington, United States after the war. It took him years to be able to speak of the incident; once he could, he recounted the story at local schools and with historical groups so that the Indianapolis' tragic end would not be forgotten. He passed away in Jun 2008 from a heart attack at the age of 87. His ashes were buried at sea at approximately the spot where USS Indianapolis sank more than 60 years ago. The ceremony was performed by Witty on 2 Oct. It was Morgan's wish to be reunited with his lost comrades.
Captain Dennis Carpenter, commanding officer of submarine USS Ohio, noted that he "thought it would be an honor" to be able to fulfill Morgan's wish using his vessel.
For more information:
AP: Ashes of USS Indianapolis survivor buried at sea (via Google News)
WW2DB: USS Indianapolis
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945