USS Indianapolis survivors react to ship being named
The announcement of a request to name the next Navy combat ship the USS Indianapolis received a standing ovation from those who survived the sinking of the ship in 1945.
The survivors were in town this weekend for the 68th reunion.
Only a quarter of the men made it off the USS Indianapolis in 1945 after she was attacked by a Japanese submarine during World War Two.
"I was in the service less than two years," said USS Indianapolis survivor Don McCall.
Of the nearly 1,200 crewmen aboard, 317 sailors survived. Only 38 are alive today.
Don McCall is 88-years-old.
"I think about the guys that didn't make it. Those are the guys. They call us heroes. They are heroes. They are still out there," said McCall.
Alongside his fellow survivors, McCall celebrated their 68th reunion this weekend right here in the city the famed navy cruiser was named after.
Saturday, these men learned there will be another USS Indianapolis.
On formal letterhead, signed by the secretary of the Navy, a request to Congress has been made to name the next Combat Ship the USS Indianapolis. Congress must first find the money and approve the combat ship.
"It just makes you swell up and cry," said survivor Don McCall.
"We were hoping for something. I had no idea," said Harold Bray.
"Everything about the USS Indianapolis and my father is emotional," said Honorary Survivor Earl Henry.
Earl Henry Junior, never met his father.
He was just 6-weeks old when the Senior Henry was the dentist abroad the USS Indianapolis. He was also a talented painter. The sailor drew this painting aboard the cruiser.
"Tied to the tail of the bleeding serpent is a tattered Japanese army flag. It would be incorrect politically to paint this today but not then in the pacific in august 1944," said Early Henry Jr, as he described the painting.
The junior Henry says he too is thrilled by the Secretary's announcement about the next combat ship to carry on the USS Indianapolis name. He plans to be there when it's commissioned.
The survivors told Eyewitness News, Rear Admiral Rick Williamson said the combat ship would be built in Michigan once Congress approves the plan and finds the money. It may be commissioned as early as 2015.