USS Indianapolis survivor headlines Veteran’s Day event

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ELIZABETH CITY – It’s a story embedded with sadness, but yet one full of America’s greatest heroes.

Next week, the College of the Albemarle will host “USS Indianapolis – Still at Sea” – a story of the heroic actions of the American warship that, after delivering the components of the first atomic bomb later dropped on Japan that helped hasten the end of World War II, was sunk by torpedoes from a Japanese submarine. Only 317 members of a crew numbering 1,197 survived.

One of those survivors is a Gates County native, F.J. Outland Sr. of Sunbury. He will join two other survivors as well as crew members of one of the rescue ships at the COA event to tell their stories.

In a fitting tribute to the nation’s brave men and women in uniform, the event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Veteran’s Day (Tuesday, Nov. 11) in the COA Auditorium. It will be repeated from 10-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Admission is free.

This legendary story will be narrated by Kim Neilsen of Seattle, Washington.

The USS Indianapolis was sunk July 30, 1945. About 300 of the 1,197 men on board died in the submarine attack. The subsequent delay of the rescue mission led to the loss of hundreds of Navy sailors and Marines. The rest of the crew floated in the water without lifeboats until the rescue was completed four days later. Three hundred and twenty-one crew member came out of the water alive, with 317 ultimately surviving. They suffered from lack of food and water, exposure to the elements, severe desquamation (shedding of the outer layers of the skin) and shark attacks.

College of the Albemarle is located at 1208 North Road Street (US 17 North) in Elizabeth City.