Dec. 20, 2019, marks the one year anniversary the crew of the USS Indianapolis crew received a Congressional Gold Medal for service to the United States. Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay honors one of those crewmembers.
Ollie McHone enlisted in the United States Navy on Dec. 14, 1942. After completing his training, McHone became a fireman. He began serving aboard the USS Indianapolis April 29, 1943.
In mid-July 1945, the USS Indianapolis participated in the top-secret mission to transport parts of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb which would be dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. After completing this mission, the ship headed to Leyte in the Philippines. Japanese submarine I-58 torpedoed and sank the USS Indianapolis July 30, 1945. Of 1,195 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 890 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks. Due to a gap in communication, the Navy did not become aware of the sinking for four days, delaying rescue operations.
In total, 879 of the 1,195 crewmen aboard perished, including McHone. He was 33 years old. The USS Indianapolis sinking remains the greatest single loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history.
During his service, McHone reached the rank of fireman first class. He received the Purple Heart posthumously.
McHone and his fellow sailors are commemorated at several monuments, including a memorial at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines and a National Memorial in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
We honor his service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Editor: Allison Penna
Graphic artist: Robert McPherson