USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

This 2 hour movie is based on a true story. The Indianapolis was a heavy cruiser commanded by Captain Charles McVay, which had the mission of transporting the atomic bombs to Tinian Island in July  1945 to be loaded on aircraft and dropped on Hiroshima and  Nagasaki. It made the trip unescorted but was successful. The return trip, also unescorted, was a disaster.


On the way back, she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine commanded by Mochitsura Hashimoto. Two torpedoes struck broadside and the ship went down quickly. Three hundred men went down with the ship and 900 went into the sea with very limited life rafts and food supplies. The waters were shark infested and many were killed by sharks. Others died from wounds, dehydration and exposure.


After 3 1/2 days at sea, they were discovered by a PBY seaplane which landed on the water and was able to save several men. Naval ships were called in to help in the rescue. Of the 900 men in the sea, only 317, including Captain McVay, survived.


McVay’s problems just got started. He was court-martialed and convicted of dereliction of duty because he did not not zig-zag his ship in response to being targeted. However, he was acquitted of not ordering abandoning the ship in a timely manner.


The movie shows McVay shooting himself after his conviction. This seems to be the only deviation from fact, as McVay did commit suicide fraught with guilt for losing so many men, but not until 1968, more than 20 years later at the age of 70. Also, in 2000 he was posthumously exonerated by Act of Congress;  the resolution was signed by President Clinton.


The story was good, and mostly factual, but I felt uncomfortable watching the movie. It didn’t seem to be a “professional” job by the writers and directors. They could have done better. Perhaps they were under financed. I flipped a coin and it came down “No”.


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Retired old man getting tired of TV and looking to expand into Netflix presentations

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