posted 03-26-2006 04:32 PM
I work for a printing company in Chattanooga and we print a newsletter for the US Navy League. I spoke to the gentleman who placed the order when he picked it up, and he gave me permission to post this. Chattanooga's Chapter of the Navy League is hosting a public banquet April 18th and have as a featured speaker USS Indianapolis survivor Edgar Harrell.
"Corporal Edgar Harrell, USMC was a member of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Indianapolis. On 16 July, 1945, Indianapolis departed San Francisco for the American B-29 base on Tinian Island with a top-secret cargo that would ultimately end World War II ~ components for the first operational atomic bombs.
After a record run, covering 5300 miles in 10 days, the Indianapolis successfully delivered her cargo 26 July 1945, and was ordered to set course from Guam to Leyte Gulf, Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan.
Traveling unescorted, at fourteen minutes past midnight on 30 July, she was hit by two Japanese torpedoes midway between Guam and Leyte sending her to a watery grave in twelve minutes. Of the 1,196 men aboard, less than 900 sailors and Marines entered the water.
Due to a series of Navy debacles, no one knew of their plight. Five horrifying days later, 317 men who had survived the terror of shark attacks, hypothermia, severe dehydration and salt-water hallucinations, were accidentally spotted and rescued."
Mr. Harrell wrote a book of his experiences called Out of the Depths: A Survivor's Story of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, and he will be signing copies of his book after the banquet.
I saw a documentary on the History Channel about this ship and asked about the possibility of getting an autographed copy of the book. The gentleman I talked to is checking with the organizers of the event, but he said he didn't think it would be a problem to take orders via email and mail out signed copies of the book after the banquet to anyone interested. He's also not positive of price, but was guessing about $15-20 per book. It's also $25 if you want to attend the banquet and hear the presentation, which I would love, but it's tuesday night and I have class. I can get registration info for anyone interested though.
I'm hoping one of our more knowledgable military collectors might pass this info along to the proper message board along with my email. I'm going to call back April 1st to get more information and find out who'll be coordinating things. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the book or who has questions for me to pass along please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would like to give an indication of interest when I call back, so they can plan to have more books if needed.
I apologize to Robert for using his message board for this, but I knew there were people here interested in military history and just wanted to share this. What Mr. Harrell and the other survivors lived through was truly incredible, and I can't wait to read his story.