The heavy cruiser, carrying 1,197 sailors and Marines, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine while sailing back to the Philippines after delivering components for “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb that helped end World War II. It took only 12 minutes to sink.
While 900 crewmen made it through the initial sinking, only 316 survived to be rescued when help arrived five days later on Aug. 2. Many had died of exposure or thirst, drowned or were attacked by sharks.
Families of those aboard the ship found out about the deaths of their loved ones just as the rest of the country was celebrating the conclusion of World War II.
Story: Leigh Hedger, IndyStar | Photo: Paul G. Allen