Lansing Veteran Talks About Being on the U.S.S. Indianapolis
If you've ever seen the movie, "Jaws", you probably remember the story Robert Shaw's character, "Quint" told Brody and Hooper about the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. The story is true, and even if there were a few facts they got wrong, it's (IMO) one of the greatest movie scenes of all time.
Over this last weekend, one of my friends heard Dick Thelen speak about the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Dick is from Lansing and was an 18 year old gunner's mate on the Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, when two Japanese torpedoes hit the ship and sank it in 12 minutes. The Indianapolis was on a secret mission to deliver the first atomic bombs to Tinian Island. And, because the mission was so secret, nobody came looking for them. Thelen ended up in the water and stayed there, covered in diesel fuel, without food or water, for five days. In the following video (not from this weekend, but from several years back) Dick doesn't mention the sharks, but at the speech this weekend, he told everybody he figured the sharks didn't want to eat him, because he was covered in diesel fuel. I think something bigger prevented it.
And it just goes to show - there are people with amazing stories, all around you.
Here's the video with Mr. Thelen:
Here's the "Jaws" version:
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