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May 23, 2019

5/14/2019 10:29:00 AM
Part of nuclear sub to be added to area museum
Dedication of the USS Indianapolis SSN-697 Nuclear Submarine Monument will take place at 11 a.m. (EDT) June 8, at the Indiana Military Museum, at 715 S. Sixth St., Vincennes, Ind.

The ceremony represents a successful conclusion of a six-year effort to bring the Indianapolis to Indiana as a memorial to those who served not only on the 697 but on the two previous ships that carried the name Indianapolis.

The monument will include the sub's original conning tower (sail) which is placed on a simulated concrete hull. The appearance of the monument will give the visitor the impression of the sub approaching a surface level.

Open to the public, the ceremony is expected to attract numerous former crew members and their families, as well as four of the ship's former captains and other Navy dignitaries. Previous captains who have confirmed attendance include Harry P. Salmon, Jr., Harry Sheffield, Dave Zacharias, William Toti, and Betsy Gast-Bray.

The four captains who have confirmed attendance were all commanders of the 697, William Toti was the last. Betsy Gast-Bray is the daughter of Mrs. Bill Bray, who christened the Indianapolis. Commander Colin Kane, captain of the newly constructed USS Indianapolis LCS-17, has been invited and may attend.

The ceremony and dedication will be followed by a luncheon at the Robert Green Auditorium on the Vincennes University Campus and 12:30 p.m. with the ship's last captain, William J. Toti, as guest speaker.

Post-ceremony luncheon tickets are available through the Hoosier Base USS VI Sub Vets Association by contacting them at (812) 847-9070, or by mailing a check to Monument Chairman Bob Smiley, 3078 N. Cantlin Drive, Bloomington, IN., 47404, on or before May 24, 2019.

The USS Indianapolis (SSN 697), a nuclear fast attack, Los Angeles class submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Indianapolis. The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Conne., on Jan. 24, 1972, and her keel was laid down on 19 October 1974. She was launched on 30 July 1977 sponsored by Mrs. William G. Bray, and commissioned on Jan. 5, 1980, with Commander Harry P. Salmon, Jr., in command.

Many survivors of the WWII cruiser Indianapolis (CA 35) were present for the ceremony. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, served as home port for SSN 697 from 1981 until her decommissioning. In 1997 the Indianapolis was awarded the Battle Efficiency E, the 7th Fleet Anti-Surface Warfare Award and the Navy Unit Commendation. The ship twice received the coveted NEY Award.

The sail of the Indianapolis was transferred to the Indiana Military Museum on March 25, 2013 by the United States Navy through the efforts of the Hoosier Base of USSV, I and the Sub Vets of WWII who also raised the funds to construct this monument.

The USS Indianapolis (SSN 697), was 362 feet in length, and had a 33-foot beam. It had a surface speed of 15 knots and a submerged speed greater than 25 knots. Its submersible depth is still classified.

The crew consisted of 12 officers and 115 enlisted men. It featured four torpedo tubes to launch Mark 48 Advanced capability torpedos, as well as Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk land attack missiles and submarine launched mobile mines. Cost at the time of construction was $900 million.

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