70th Anniversary of the Worst Disaster at Sea in US Naval History

New York Times Bestselling author, Michael P. Spradlin, gives a fictional account of real men who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. In the summer of 1945, the USS Indianapolis  had just delivered the world’s first atomic bomb to the waiting B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, before the historic flight to Hiroshima. The ship sailed to Guam and was ordered on toward the Philippines before the invasion of Japan. Between Guam and the Philippines, home to more than 150 species of sharks, the Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis with two torpedoes that were almost perfectly placed amidships. One hit the powder magazine where the ship’s ammunition was stored causing a massive explosion. The ship sank in twelve minutes.  Of the 1,196 men on board, about 300 hundred went down with the ship.

Four days after the USS Indianapolis sank, Lt. Adrian Marks was dispatched to search for survivors after another pilot reported spotting ‘a lot of men in the water.’ Defying orders, Marks and his crew landed the plane in high seas and pulled 56 survivors from the water. That night, the destroyer USS Cecil Doyle arrived and the men were rescued at last.  Only 316 men survived the most lethal shark attack and the worst disaster at sea in US Naval History.

Captain Charles Butler McVay III, skipper of the USS Indianapolis, was a lifelong navy officer who served with distinction throughout his career. After the rescue, McVay was court-martialed and found guilty of ‘hazarding his ship by failure to zigzag’, a technique used to make it difficult for submarines to target ships. His orders stated, he was to zigzag at ‘his discretion, visibility permitting.’ McVay was the only naval commander in World War II court-martialed for losing his ship in combat. Though he remained in the Navy and had the unwavering support of the surviving crewmembers, McVay took his own life in 1968. His conviction was overturned in 2000.

Kirkus Review says that Into The Killing Seas has “Extensive backmatter rounds out the incredible history. Readers ready for a strong dose of survival and war action will find this well-researched episode entirely gripping.”

This is Spradlin’s 19th book.  As the son of a World War II veteran, he grew up knowing almost every man his father’s age was a veteran of the war; an entire generation who served.  Seventy years later we are still living in a world influenced by its outcome.  Read more at http://www.michaelspradlin.com/