The following Reunion and USS Indianapolis Survivor event information is being put out as early as possible to assist in your planning:
The USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization wishes to announce that the planned 2013 Anniversary Reunion dates shall be August 1,2,3,4 (2013) in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, specific location to be announced as soon as determined. Please set these dates aside on your calendar and keep an eye on this posting for updates or changes. Invited to attend are all Survivors and/or their families and friends, Lost-At-Sea crewman families and friends, Rescuemen and/or their families and friends, former crew and/or their families and friends, SSN-697 crewman and/or their family and friends, and any organizations or individuals with an interest in meeting the Survivors or people related to this honored ship, and learning more about the ship & crew history for personal or educational purposes.
With the exception of the Saturday evening banquet, all events and programs related to this reunion are open to the public. Many on-site education and entertainment programs are planned periodically during the day, and the reunion will culminate with a Memorial Service on Sunday morning honoring the entire 1197 men aboard the USS Indianapolis, as well as the nine crewman lost by Kamikaze attack at Okinawa on March 31, 1945.
The banquet is open to the public but will require reservations. Once the specific reunion site has been determined, reservation details, cost and forms will follow.
This reunion event is in addition and separate from the 2013 Indianapolis Air Show scheduled for June 15-16 (Father's Day weekend) that some USS Indianaolis Survivors plan to attend. All are welcome to come visit the Survivors and their guests at the Air Show too.
So please meet and greet these wonderful men at one of the two venues mentioned above in 2013. This is an unofficial announcement intended to aid in planning and inquiries. Please check back periodically and updates will follow.
Also, if anyone is interested in serving as a volunteer at either the 2013 Reunion or the Air Show, to assist the Survivors Organization, please leave contact information and a USS Indianapolis Event Coordinator will be in touch. Thank you!
Hello SCPO Lavery, thank you for your questions. The Honor Flight Network is the group you are thinking of, that flies WWII vets from various cities all year round to Washington DC so that they might see the nations capitol, their WWII Memorial, and many of the other monuments and memorials dedicated to veterans and their actions. Because the USS Indianapolis Vets are spread out all over the USA, to organize a flight of just these men, together, to Washington DC, is not possible within the framework of what the Honor Flight Network is set up to do. However, any of our Indy survivors, former crew, or rescuemen are eligible to sign up for a local Honor Flight and join other WWII veterans in seeing their monuments...and I will, because of your question, include Honor Flight information in our communications during the coming year to the Indy families. I do know that many if not all of the Indy survivors or their families are aware of the Honor Flight Network, and several have already flown to DC as part of this wonderful program over the past few years. My wife, Sandi, and I rode up from the Shenandoah Valley of Va to join Survivor Earl Riggins (USMC, Illinois) when he arrived on an Honor Flight a few years ago, and we had a memorable day accompanying Earl and 3 bus loads of WWII vets and their guardians for the day. One particularly special moment was when a WWII Navy vet approached me (he was from another bus, not ours). Mr. Don Taylor on one of the buses from Illinois approached me because of my USS Indianapolis hat, and said, "You're too young to have been on that ship. You know, we took them boys home to the states". Boy did I have a surprise for him. I tapped Earl Riggins on the shoulder, who was turned and speaking to someone ealse away from us, then introduced him to Don Taylor, a crewman on the USS Hollandia CVE-97. Don had helped get Earl and the Indy survivors get home in 1945 after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis! It's a very small world we live in. Talk about a joyful reunion! I'll never forget it.
As for a published register...? The Survivors Organization maintains a contact list that they use to keep in touch with all the Survivors, and they have a mailing list that is used to send out notices and invitations. For privacy reasons, I'm not sure a public contact list would be a good idea in these times. However, if anyone or orgnization specifically requested contact information for local Survivors, former crew or Rescuemen, to the extent that info is available, I'm sure a posting at this website or directly to the USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization, or to the support organization The Second Watch, would result in useful information.
I hope that helps. Thank you for your support of the men and families of the USS Indianapolis CA-35!
In the photo you see crewman Don Taylor of the USS Hollandia greeting USS Indianapolis Survivor Earl Riggins near the World War II memorial in Washington DC during an Honor Flight to DC in the Fall of 2009. Earl was on one of three Central Illinois Honor Flight buses, and Don was on another, and had not previously met that they knew. In the Fall of 1945, 64 years earlier, the USS Hollandia, an escort carrier, transported the Survivors of the USS Indianapolis from Guam to San Diego. Perhaps Don & Earl crossed paths then? That is my wife, Sandi, in the background, and her expression is worth a thousand words in describing our surprise and joy in seeing two WWII men reunited after all these years! I took the photo.
Indyson18 - Having recently finished "In Harm's Way", I was touched by this complete story that I was relatively unfamiliar with. How can I sign-up to volunteer with the 2013 reunion - maybe as a potential escort to travel with one of the survivor's, or help with travel donation, etc?? Please contact me directly........ firstname.lastname@example.org
My daughter and I would be honored to be a part of this reunion. We would love to be of any assistance where needed. Thank you