USS Indianapolis Congressional Gold Medal


USS Indianapolis (CA-35), 27 September 1939.


U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly’s bipartisan legislation to honor the sacrifice, perseverance, and bravery of the crew of the USS Indianapolis with the Congressional Gold Medal passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian recognition the U.S. Congress can award. Donnelly’s bill, which he introduced in late 2017, passed the Senate unanimously in August and was signed by the President at the end of 2018.

Donnelly, a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “The crew of the USS Indianapolis bravely served our country. I’m proud the House of Representatives passed this bill and that it now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. This bipartisan effort will give those survivors still living some of the recognition they deserve, and the families of the crewmen no longer with us another opportunity to honor their legacy of heroism.”

The Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was commissioned in 1932. She operated from Pearl Harbor and throughout the Pacific during World War II, and served as the flagship for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, earning 10 battle stars. After midnight on July 30, 1945, an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine attacked the USS Indianapolis, sinking the ship within minutes. Of the 1,195 U.S. servicemembers on board, approximately 900 made it into the water. After five days adrift in the Pacific Ocean, only 316 men survived.