Navy Issues Posthumous Navy Cross to USS Indianapolis Chaplain - USNI News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  flynavy1  •  2 weeks ago  •  5 comments

By:   Mallory Shelbourne (USNI News)

Navy Issues Posthumous Navy Cross to USS Indianapolis Chaplain - USNI News
The Navy on Friday issued a posthumous Navy Cross to Lt. Thomas Conway, a chaplain who died after the sinking of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Speaking during a ceremony at Lt. Thomas Conway's church in Waterbury, Conn., Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite recounted how the chaplain helped his fellow shipmates after their …

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By: Mallory Shelbourne January 9, 2021 6:26 PM

USS Indianapolis in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1937. US Navy Photo

The Navy on Friday issued a posthumous Navy Cross to Lt. Thomas Conway, a chaplain who died after the sinking of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35).

Speaking during a ceremony at Lt. Thomas Conway's church in Waterbury, Conn., Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite recounted how the chaplain helped his fellow shipmates after their cruiser sank into the ocean.

"We all know the story, or we should, that in the next three days, Thomas Conway swam from group to group of the survivors, encouraging them, inspiring them, offering baptism or last rites," Braithwaite said. "Father Conway wasn't a young man, but he gave his all in his duty as he swam from group to group. Three and a half days in the water. Nothing to drink. Nothing to eat. And yet he went on."

Lt. Thomas Conway

Conway and his shipmates were serving aboard Portland-class heavy cruiser Indianapolis when it was struck by Japanese torpedoes on July 30, 1945. Three-hundred sailors died within 12 minutes of the torpedoes hitting the ship, Braithwaite said, and 900 sailors ended up in the water when the vessel sank. The sailors spent several days in the water and many, including Conway, died before 316 survivors were rescued.

Advocates had long worked to obtain the Navy Cross, which is the service's second-highest award, for Conway. According to a 2018 report in The Associated Press, the service could not award to the chaplain the Navy Cross because no senior officers Conway served with were alive to endorse the bid, as mandated by Navy rules.

Braithwaite apologized for this during Friday's ceremony.

"But I am here today to correct the record and to right a wrong. And I'm also here to send a message that we shall never forget. I want every sailor and every Marine who has served, is serving or will serve, that the leadership of the Department of the Navy will not forget their courage, their honor, and their commitment," Braithwaite said.

"Today, ladies and gentleman, the Navy is here, I am here, to say that we are sorry," he continued. "We are sorry for not recognizing the heroism, the dedication, and the valor of one of our own."

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FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    2 weeks ago

Long time in coming........

We have the watch Lt. Conway, you stand relieved.  Rest in peace Sir.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Well deserved.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
2.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

We all know that the Navy is never wrong on anything Kavika......  It just took them 76 years to get this one right.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Senior Guide
3  Thrawn 31    2 weeks ago

God that would have sucked to have been on that ship. There is a reason just about everyone has heard of it.

Good on him though.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
3.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3    2 weeks ago

The fact that they brought in the CO of the Japanese sub that torpedoed the Indy to testify against the Skipper is a perfect example of how the brass needed to cover their asses....  More recently..... Remember the Iowa explosion in turret #2...  

 
 
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