Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

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Also, McVay's request for escorts had been refused, even though the Indianapolis lacked antisubmarine detection devices. In , the U. Congress passed a resolution exonerating McVay of any wrongdoing. Glenn E.

Citations: Boyd, Carl. Kurzman, Dan. New York: Atheneum, Lech, Raymond B. All the Drowned Sailors. New York: Stein and Day, Newcomb, Richard F. Abandon Ship: The Saga of the U. New York: Harper Collins, Charles B. McVay I, who had been president of the Pittsburgh Trust Company, made large donations to the Naval Academy and was rewarded with honorary membership in the class of The young man must one day match his own record. In the Spanish-American War, the father had shared the glory of victory as an ensign; in World War I he had commanded the Saratoga, the New Jersey, and the Oklahoma; and after that war he had headed the Washington Navy Yard where his son would be tried , the Bureau of Ordnance, and finally the U.

Asiatic Fleet. Yes, his son would be an admiral like himself. No questions asked. Charles III feared his father, but he loved him, too, if in the impersonal way a nonobservant believer might love God; in any case, as much as a son could love a father who cast an awesome shadow he could not escape. The elder McVay had not always been tyrannical, not before he had hardened himself to the point he considered necessary to reach the military pinnacle.

Yet Charles III never really knew the more loving and sentimental father because the elder man, like the son he would mold, was seldom home. In fact, when the son was born, the father, a young ensign serving somewhere on the high seas, didn't even know about it until days later.

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When he found out, he wrote to his wife, Edith, in a manner he would almost certainly frown upon as gushy nonsense in later years: I long to see you both. I was looking at your picture before going to bed, as I always do, and was hoping that the boy would look like his mother. I am happy and proud and very much in love with my wife.


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I believe I will be afraid of you--you have been through so much, and can look down upon poor me from your high position of mother. Now, almost fifty years later, the admiral was rather less humble. Indeed, he utterly terrified his wife and frequently, with his tongue lashings, drove her from the dinner table weeping. And though he apparently still viewed motherhood as a "high position," he no longer considered the mother someone to "be afraid of," or even to respect.

Life became unbearable for her, even more lonely and repressive than it had been in her Waikiki palace, especially with her husband often at sea; and her mother-in-law could offer her little support. Eventually, Kinau persuaded her spouse to challenge his father and move to an apartment of their own. The admiral was furious. How dare his son override his orders! Who would help pay the mortgage now? He would hardly speak with Kinau after this. She was a bad influence. Kinau tried to recover her self-esteem in the social whirl of Washington and Honolulu, a whirl too dizzying and sophisticated for McVay, who preferred more intimate get-togethers with drinking friends.

He would often sit alone and sip dry martinis all evening, then dine in silence and go to bed. Nor did he appreciate the classical music Kinau loved, any more than she could abide his jazz tastes.

Then one day she returned home and found him in bed with another woman. He was a kind man, but he was insensitive. Away from home most of the time, he grew distant from them and seldom took an interest in their schoolwork or other activities. Having experienced the cruelty of the martinet when he himself was a youth, he demanded little of his sons, carrying his detachment almost to the point of apathy, though he encouraged them to continue the family naval tradition.

Like the captain, Charles IV had striven to please the "old man," even while blaming him in part for his miserable, lonely childhood. Rarely did he see his father, and he didn't see his mother very often either, for she was usually out socializing. Even his English nanny cared mainly for his younger brother and virtually ignored him, except when she scolded him for misbehaving. Charles grew morose and bitter, and began lying to his family and stealing from school lockers. His father had wanted Quatro to enter the Naval Academy, but since the youth lacked the academic credits and suffered, in any case, from a serious eye defect, he urged him to enlist in the Navy.

The boy's grandfather saw to it that the Navy accepted him, calling the naval recruiting station personally.

He's 1-A. Understand me, young man? He's 1-A!

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Perhaps for the first time, to the captain's joy, three living generations of a single family were in the Navy simultaneously. But one day Charles was accidentally struck in the eye with a rifle butt and couldn't wear contacts for a while. The masquerade was over and he had to resign.

McVay was even more despondent than his son. But aside from this bitter disappointment, which stemmed more from respect for family tradition than from concern for his son's welfare, the captain hardly noticed or seemed to care about the boy. He was too wrapped up in his efforts to win the approval of his own father, who he knew would never be content until he became an admiral.

ISBN 13: 9780671739980

Meanwhile, Kimo, who might have filled in for his brother, joined the Army, adding to the captain's chagrin. Do you work in the book industry? Which of the following best describes you? Literary Agent. Publicist or Marketing Professional. Film Industry Professional. Other Book Industry Professional.

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