Documents reveal sea burials for 13 USS Indianapolis sailors & More Trending News


HONOLULU — Navy Seaman 2nd Class George David Payne was simply 17 years previous when a Japanese submarine torpedoed his ship within the final weeks of World War II, sinking the vessel and killing him together with greater than 800 different U.S. sailors.

For many years, his household thought he was lacking in motion. But now the Navy says newly analyzed paperwork present he was really buried at sea.

The teenager from the city of Wyoming, Michigan, is one among 13 sailors from the USS Indianapolis just lately found to have been given Navy committal ceremonies 77 years in the past. In response, the Navy modified their standing from “unaccounted for” to “buried at sea.”

“It’s reassuring that he was found and hopefully he didn’t suffer much,” his brother, David Payne, stated in an interview from Sparta, Michigan.

Payne stated it was a “shock” to listen to the information. He first thought it was a prank as a result of his household at all times believed George’s physique was by no means discovered.

Two Japanese torpedoes hit the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, when the heavy cruiser was on its solution to the Philippines from Guam. The ship sank in simply 12 to fifteen minutes. The Navy estimates about 300 sailors had been trapped inside and went down with the vessel.

The remaining 800 sailors deserted ship, however rescue vessels did not arrive for 4 days. Hundreds of sailors died within the interim from accidents, dehydration and shark assaults. Only 316 survived. It’s often called one of many largest tragedies in U.S. naval historical past.

“Survivors said it was terrible to be in the water and the sharks were just taking these young guys and older guys one at a time and eating them, and hauling them under and taking them away,” stated Payne. “And so that’s what we always envisioned. You know, we hoped that maybe if he was on the ship maybe he was killed outright — instead of suffering.”

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Payne, who was born a yr after the battle ended, by no means met George, who was the third of 12 kids. Payne stated his older brother was often called a “quiet, well-behaved kid.”

Rick Stone, retired chief naval historian a the Naval History and Heritage Command, stated researchers discovered the names of the 13 sailors in deck logs, commanders’ reviews and battle diaries stored by the seven ships that recovered our bodies.

These ships gave sea burials to 91 recognized males, however for unknown causes the names of solely 40 of them had been reported by the navy. Another 51 names weren’t. The 13 newly recognized come from this latter group. Stone stated researchers have open circumstances on the remaining 38 and have “good clues” for the identities of 5.

Stone suspects the names fell by bureaucratic cracks and had been by no means adopted up on.

It did not assist that the Navy introduced the lack of the ship on the identical day the battle ended.

“The sinking of the Indy, which would have been front page news a week earlier, was kind of relegated to one of the midsections of the newspaper,” he stated.

Researchers with Stone’s personal basis started trying for the data in January 2021. Stone stated he began a file on the Indianapolis whereas working on the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Agency and seeing hints that some sailors listed as lacking had really been discovered.

“Giving their loved ones and their families some kind of closure — I mean frankly and in all sincerity — it’s the greatest gift I can imagine,” Stone stated.

Stone’s group, Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation labored with the Naval History and Heritage Command, the Navy Casualty Office, the USS Indianapolis Survivors Association and the USS Indianapolis Legacy Organization to seek out their names.

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