Alumni Richard Hulver was creating an accurate history of the WWII naval Cruiser, the USS Indianapolis as an historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command when he found new information. He was able to cross reference recorded sightings with other accounts to provide an accurate account of where the vessel likely sank.
The fate of the USS Indianapolis has been a mystery in WWII naval history. It was lost in the final days of WWII on July 30, 1945 after delivering materials to Japan for the Hiroshima bomb. While 800 of the ship's 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived the sinking only 316 survived the five days before rescue.
About the task that was before him, Hulver said, "All the paperwork is lost. There was no signal that went out. So, basically, we had nothing but the recollections of the crew, the survivors. So, it was really an imprecise location at the beginning."(PBS Interview, August 24. 2017)
Hulver's research identified a naval landing craft that had recorded a sighting of Indianapolis hours before it was torpedoed. He used that data to narrow in the area where the vessel likely went down.
"So, about 11 hours before Indianapolis was sunk. If you can figure out where LST 779 was, that gives you another point on that, another data point on that route that can give you a better idea." (PBS Interview, August 24. 2017)
With this information, the research team developed a new position and estimated search, which was still a daunting 600 square miles of open ocean.
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen funded and led an expedition to search this area, and ultimately found the location of the vessel.
For more information on this remarkable story, visit America's Navy