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Oldest USS Indianapolis survivor dies at 98

Jim Jarvis among 316 who survived the sinking
Posted at 2:17 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 14:17:30-04

UNIONTOWN, OHIO — There are now just nine living survivors of the USS Indianapolis.

Jim Jarvis, the oldest living member of the 316 sailors who survived the 1945 sinking of the Navy cruiser, has died. Jarvis was 98 and lived outside Akron,Ohio.

In the closing weeks of World War 2, the ship had delivered some of the material used in the making of the first nuclear bomb dropped by the U.S. on Japan.

Then, early in the morning of July 30, the Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. 300 sailors on board went down with the ship, while 890 were left in the Pacific with little water or food.

Over the next four days, 574 died. Some were attacked by sharks, others died from exposure and lack of water. The death toll toll remains the single greatest loss of life on a military vessel at sea.

On the fourth day, a patrol plane spotted the wreckage and the men in the water and the rescue soon began.

In interviews much later in life, Jarvis said he always felt the survivors would be saved. He said thirst was his primary concern.

After the war, Jarvis married and raised a daughter. At USS Indianapolis reunions, he might be spotted wearing a T-shirt that said "USS Indianapolis Swim Team."

There's a memorial to the Indianapolis on the downtown canal.