WASHINGTON, August 19, 2017 – Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen discovered the final resting place of the USS Indianapolis, a navy cruiser that was destroyed by a Japanese torpedo during the final days of World War II, becoming one of the worst disasters in American naval history.
Allen and his research team found the wreckage on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Navy officials are keeping the exact location confidential but Allen share a few photos of the ship’s anchor and bell on his Twitter page.
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) August 19, 2017
During World War II, the USS Indianapolis carried 1,196 sailors and Marines who delivered components for “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb that sealed the defeat of Japan and helped end the war. The sinking led to the greatest loss of life at sea in Navy history. Out of the 1,196 crewmen, nearly 300 went down with the ship, while 900 faced intense exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks. The ship’s mission was so top-secret that no distress signal was sent out.
Survivors were spotted by a PBY Catalina that was on patrol at the time. Only 316 men survived. Captain Charles Butler McVay III survived and was court-martialed for not following proper defensive procedures. Despite the Navy being proven to have put the Captain and his crew in harm’s way, he became the only captain to be court-martialed.
After years of attempts to clear McVay’s record, in 2000 Congress passed legislation, which was signed by President Bill Clinton, that exonerated Captain McVay and ensured the record showed he was not responsible for the loss of life.
Allen and his crew continue to survey the wreckage and is planning to conduct a live tour of the site in the upcoming weeks. Allen is working with the Navy to honor the remaining USS Indianapolis survivors and families of crew members.
“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in the ending World War II is truly humbling,” Allen said in a statement.
The Indianapolis is best known in pop culture for the scene in “Jaws” when Quint, the salty sea captain played by Robert Shaw, describes the ordeal:
“Sometimes that shark, he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. Y’know the thing about a shark, he’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’… until he bites ya.”
This is not the only wreckage Allen has found, in 2015, he discovered the remains of the Japanese battleship Musashi and this year he discovered the World War II destroyer Artigliere.