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    "The Indy"

    USS Indianapolis (CA-35).
    USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser, commissioned in 1932 in the United States Navy, the second warship named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. The name translates as "City of Indians".

    She is perhaps most famous for her top-secret, high-speed and ultimately perilous trip to deliver parts of "Little Boy," the first nuclear weapon ever used in combat, and her subsequent sinking, after a torpedo attack, with a great loss of life.

    The ensign of the Indianapolis is an approximately 63" X 120" 48-star, double appliqué, sewn stripe, bunting flag, finished with a roped header with loops top & bottom. The flag has a maker's mark on the upper obverse hoist and is marked on the reverse hoist, "UNSEVABLE ISSUE" and "USS Indianapolis". The marking about "issue" is a reference to the naval practice of turning in worn ensigns that were no longer serviceable when drawing new ensigns from supply sources. Before WWII, the U.S. Navy made most of her flags at shore stations that had a Flag Loft. Similar to the Sail Loft of old, a Flag Loft was where flags were made and repaired. Those that could no longer be used were so marked.

    When WWII began, the USS Indianapolis was conducting mock attacks on Johnson Atoll. She sortied with the ships from Pearl Harbor searching for the Japanese Fleet before being assigned to escort the USS Lexington with the Task Force for the New Guinea Campaign, before she was detailed to the Aleutians Campaign for screening and shore bombardment. After a refit and upgrade at Mare Island, the Indy became the flagship of Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, a position she would have for much of the war as the 5th attacked the Western Carolines; Palau; the Marianas; Yap; Ulithi, and fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, after which she underwent another refit and further modernization. Now overhauled, the Indianapolis participated in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns and bombarded the Japanese home islands before being struck by an aerial bomb which completely penetrated the ship, detonating under her keel. Although badly damaged, she was able to return to the States for repairs under her own power.
    While in the States, the Indianapolis was selected for a top-secret mission of utmost significance to national security - the delivery of Uranium-235 and other required parts for "Little Boy," the code name for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat. She left San Francisco on 16 July 1945 and arrived in Pearl Harbor 74.5 hours later, setting a new record. After refueling she proceeded on to Tinian, unaccompanied, to deliver her cargo, arriving on 26 July. After Tinian, she moved on to Guam before sailing to the Philippines for training before rejoining the fleet off Okinawa. While enroute on the night of 30 July 1945, under radio-discipline, the Indianapolis was torpedoed by the I-58. She took on a heavy list (apparently all the wartime augmentations had made her top-heavy) and she sank in 12 minutes, with 300 of her crew still aboard after setting over 900 men adrift.
    Although the Indianapolis got off a distress call, it went unheeded, and the surviving crewmen suffered mightily in the water with few life jackets and even fewer lifeboats. After four days, the lack of food, dehydration, exposure, hypothermia and shark attacks took a terrible toll and only 316 crewmen were rescued after being spotted by a patrol aircraft.

    After the war, the skipper of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles B. McVay III, the only WWII vessel commander court-martialed, was found guilty of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag." Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz remitted McVay's sentence and restored him to active duty. McVay retired in 1949 as a rear admiral. He remained distraught, however, and took his own life in 1968. He was cleared of any wrong doing by Congress in 2000.

    This is an opportunity to acquire a flag from one of the most famous ships of WWII, with a distinguished record, a compelling story, a tragic end and a critical role in the U.S victory.

    During WWII, the USS Indianapolis was awarded the: American Defense Medal with FLEET Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with ten campaign stars and the World War II Victory Medal.

    The ensign of the Indianapolis is in Fair Condition - used, worn, torn and soiled. The fly edge is frayed and splitting and there are numerous small tears throughout.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 665

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