05-21-2009 - Memorial Day 2009 - The USS Indianapolis
Jaws 1975 written by Peter Benchley
Captain Quint on the... USS Indianapolis
I remember watching Jaws for the very first time. It was a summer blockbuster that broke all records to that day. My dad took us kids to The Roadium Drive-In on Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena CA on one hot summer night. Although Captain Quint is a fictional survivor, the epic movie tells the events of that tragic four days stranded in the ocean as The USS Indianapolis survivors waited for assistance while being surrounded by sharks.
As sundown broke, Quint is at the table in the cabin of the Orca talking of his experience with sharks. He recalls vividly that fateful night on the USS Indianapolis, during World War II, when life dramatically changed for him and for many of his fellow sailors.
On July 28, 1945 the ship left Guam, and headed to Leyte. Early one morning a Japanese submarine launched two torpedoes which hit the Indianapolis in her starboard side. Almost 1200 men were aboard the ship; 300 went down with the ship as it sank.
The rest of the men, approximately 900, went into the water. There were few life boats and no food. Quint recalls trying to stay with a group. The first night many groups huddled together to try to form a barricade to ward off the sharks that were circling the groups. The nights were the worst because they seem to drag on forever. The next morning Quint remembers the head count and now the numbers were decreasing rapidly.
He remembers hopes were high as each man struggled to survive. Sharks continued to swim around the men huddled into a circle. If you fell out of the huddle the chance of survival diminished. He also recalls the men who drank the salty ocean water. They become delusional and irrational meeting there death. Quint remembers the days were long and the nights unbearable. There were times he wished the ocean would just swallow him up. August 3rd seemed like forever, but on this day a plane spotted the remaining survivors and dropped a life raft.
Out of 900 men who went into the water only 317 survived.
Listening to the tale as told by Captain Quint was the scariest part of the movie... as much was left to my imagination. Today, we remember the the last major U.S. Navy ship to be lost in the Second World War, its survivors, and the loss of life in the tragedy.
Memorial Day Weekend 2009
Remembering all American troops, both past and present who have served this country.