Pat Shingleton: "The Moon, The Indianapolis."
On July 29, 1945, moon rise over the Philippine Sea occurred at 10:30 p.m. Because of the illumination, Japanese submariners targeted the silhouette of a cruiser and torpedoed it. If not for the moon glow, the USS Indianapolis would have passed unnoticed. As noted in a previous column, SKY and TELESCOPE magazine predicted a repeat of this celestial scene, 12 years ago on the exact night and marked the 57th anniversary of the disaster. Of the 1,200 sailors, 900 escaped the attack, only 317 survived four days of exposure and shark attacks. The Indianapolis was delivering components of the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island for the bombing of Hiroshima. The bomber, Enola Gay, delivered the payload. Navigator Dutch Van Kirk, died yesterday.