The story of the sinking of the U.S.S Indianapolis during the Second World War has always fascinated me. I never could imagine that the ship went down without the Navy launching a search for her. She had delivered her highly sensitive cargo and was heading back through the Leyte Gulf. They were traveling under the conditions and instructions outlined by CINCPAC. However, these instructions were false. The captain and crew were under the impression that the waters they sailed in were relatively free of enemy ships. “Out of the Depths” by Edgar Harrell, USMC, along with David Harrell is the story of one man’s journey – out of the depths.
Unknown to the skipper, their ship was being monitored by a Japanese submarine and at the most opportune time, the sub launched torpedoes which wrenched the front of the Indianapolis away from the rest of the ship. There were almost 1200 sailors, marines and passengers on this ship. Only 900 lived through the sinking and of that 900, more than 600 perished during the next five days and nights before they were rescued. Those men died from horrible wounds sustained during the sub attack, died from salt water poisoning, or from constant shark attacks on those trying to stay afloat on the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
I was totally immersed in the story of Edgar Harrell and him comrades as they struggled to survive in the most horrendous of conditions. Mr. Harrell’s faith was strengthened during this ordeal, as many others either found God or a renewed devotion to Him. They had nothing else to rely on as they waited almost in vain for rescue. There are many reasons to blame the fate of the Indianapolis on CINCPAC, the Navy, and those who could not admit that the United States was responsible for the deaths of over nine hundred souls.
This is a well written book and a testament to the faith of those who served our country…faith in God, in our nation and in themselves. It is a story of unprecedented courage and resourcefulness. I cannot imagine these young men experiencing this horrible fate and cannot fathom how they kept from despair in the face of certain death.
The Inspiring Story of a World War II Hero's Miraculous Survival at Sea
July 30, 1945--The USS Indianapolis and its 1,196-man crew is making its way toward a small island in the South Pacific. The ship is sailing unescorted, assured by headquarters the waters are safe. It is midnight, and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend the night in their hot and muggy quarters below. Fresh off a top-secret mission to deliver uranium for the atomic bombs that would ultimately end World War II, they are unaware their ship is being watched. Minutes later, six torpedoes are slicing toward the Indy . . .
For five horrifying days and nights after their ship went down, Harrell and his shipmates had to fend for themselves in the open seas. Plagued by dehydration, exposure, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks, their numbers were cruelly depleted before they were miraculously rescued. This is one man's story of courage, ingenuity, and faith in God's providence in the midst of the worst naval disaster in U.S. history.