Lt. Jones memory immediately transported him to that fateful night of late July in 1945. Both Lt. Harris and Lt. Jones were onboard that night. They had completed a super-secret mission of delivering the parts for the nuclear bomb that would later be dropped on Hiroshima, for Japan’s continuing refusal to surrender to bring an end to the conflict. Now, they were on their way to Philippines, to be on alert for the final strike. In the dark of the night, Japanese submarines would spot them, firing a barrage of torpedoes. Two of them struck the vessel deep, knocking out the communication system completely, while the ship started to sink within minutes. Hundreds of sailors jumped into the water without knowing whether any distress signal went out. They immediately got covered and soon gulping leaking engine oil, eventually making them sick. At the end of a long night, the sun rose in the morning, but there was no sign of any rescue mission indicating no distress signal went out due to the knocking out of the communication system. Thus, began the days of survival on sea, baked by the sun during the day, while trying to remain awake in the dark of the night. But, then came a new enemy.
Lt. Jones closed his eyes. He could still see those steely eyes of the encircling sharks. The animals would attack the weak ones only in the calmness of the dusk. The scream of the unfortunate victims would pierce the surrounding tranquility. This was also the time when Lt. Jones remembered actor Robert Shaw’s fictional character Quint describing the experience to the crew members in the movie “Jaws”. Quint would finish uttering “But, we delivered the bomb.”
In reality, four days would pass by, before a low-flying bomber pilot, on a mission, would notice the oil sleek. He would alert the authority, thus initiating the rescue mission for the remaining lucky survivors including Lt. Jones and Lt. Harris.
Though finally located, the U.S.S. Indianapolis would remain at its resting place as a war memorial, as a testament to the sacrifice of the men and women in uniform.