BURNS HARBOR, Ind. — The navy has a new ship—the USS Indianapolis. It’s the 4th Navy vessel that has carried the name of the Circle City.
The ship is sitting on Lake Michigan right now and our cameras got a sneak peek inside.
About 70 people make up the crew of the latest ship to bear the name of Indianapolis.
“Twenty of those will be mine warfare then we will also embark a 23 personal for aviation operations,” USS Indianapolis Commander Collin Kane said.
The littoral combat ship is filled with Indy references and is designed to take on coastal threats like submarines, swarming small crafts, and mines.
“This ship, in particular, will have mine warfare mission package installed which has various service vehicles, boats as well as air-born systems for mine hunting,” Commander Kane said.
All the features you need to defend the United States of America, but something else needed a little heart and sacrifice.
“We protect our nation. We have to be prepared to do that. Also, be prepared to give our lives as a service for our country,” Commander Kane said.
A service over one thousand sailors gave on July 30, 1945 when the 2nd generation of the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.
“The five days they spent in the water waiting for rescue. The encounters with sharks, seeing someone right in front of their eyes be attacked by a shark,” Commander Kane said.
92-year-old Dick Thelen is one of the survivors.
He says thinking about his dad helped him survive 4 days and 5 nights stranded in the water.
“Every time I was ready to give up, I would feel dad’s grip and I can see dad’s face. I got home and told my dad that. He said how the hell did I do that? If I didn’t have him to think about, I would’ve given up,” Thelen said.
Thelen didn’t think he would live to see this brand-new ship, but he’s grateful and willing to pass along his knowledge to people like Joshua Gaskill from Lizton, Indiana.
“Getting the chance to meet the survivors was pretty damn awesome,” Gaskill said.
As Thelen heads off the ship to go back to his home in Michigan he can only offer Gaskill and all the other crew members one piece of advice.
“Don’t ever give up,” Gaskill said.
The future USS Indianapolis is being commissioned this Saturday at the Port of Indiana at Burns Harbor. You can watch it live here.