USS INDIANAPOLIS SURVIVORS'
2021 Challenge Coin:
In early 2021 an email was sent out by Jason Witty, grandson of Survivor Eugene Morgan, for input on this year’s coin design. Two beautiful designs were submitted, and the decision was made by Jason, along with Jim Belcher, Jr., son of Survivor James Belcher, that both designs would be chosen as the winners by combining the 2 ideas into one coin.
What you see is the collaboration and input from the 2 fantastic submissions. :
Read what each of the design winners shared about their submissions, and then order your own 2021 Challenge Coin by emailing Jason Witty at email@example.com. Coins are $20 each, which includes shipping.
“Hi everyone, I am Lauren Stauffer and I will be 27 in July. My step-great uncle was John William Eddinger seaman 1/c who was lost during the sinking of the Indy. I am doing this in honor of his mother who lost both her boys in tragedies and of course for John too. His mother, Rosa Eddinger was my father’s grandmother. Even though technically she would be my father's step-grandmother, it is the only grandmother he knew. She found out her son died when he did not return home. I think about that almost daily. My father says she NEVER talked about this. The only thing he knew about John was that he died in WWII. It wasn’t until I started researching it, did his legacy continue to live on. I am a volunteer for the American Red Cross Services of the Armed Forces and a volunteer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart -social media. I have my Bachelor's in Military Psychology and I am pursuing my Master’s in Psychology with a concentration in Military and Trauma Psychology. I have a passion for the military because I have over a dozen people in my family who served our country. Both my grandfathers served as well. I say that my maternal grandfather had “undiagnosed PTSD” and obviously Rosa Eddinger suffered as a Gold Star Family. It is such a grand title that carries some of the worst baggage with it. For those reasons, that is why I am pursuing military psychology. I love researching my family heritage and continuing the legacy of my amazing grandfathers and extended family who served. I am also Vice President of my school’s psychology club where I honor all of our members veteran family members as well as our veteran and active duty members (given that my college is a military college). I have really enjoyed being a part of this and the most significant aspect of the front design of this coin is the separation line in the boat that represents the division of families that occurred that night on 7/30/1945. Not only were brothers lost that night but families lost their sons, fathers, brothers, grandsons, and patriots who were brave enough to be part of that mission."
Thanks, Lauren Stauffer
“Hello world my name is Shea Groves and I am 13 years old. I live in the state of Illinois and live in a town called Mascoutah. I am related to the Indy by my Great-Great Uncle Bobby and he was a Radioman 2. He was lost at sea and I wish I could’ve met him. I wished for my coin design to more like my personality and I wanted to throw in the details and images that I drew for it because they best described me and how I felt. For this coin I want it to be not just something that is held for a minute and it be put away. Just like all the other coins I want it to be held and thought of and be like yeah this represents our ship that we treasured and loved for eternity. My design was created by me and I told my grandma that I really wanted to do it even if I don’t get picked. I put it in my heart and soul and thought of what I could do to make it special to me and for all of you. I love the ideas that me and the crew to create this coin had. It’s better to have more minds than just one!!!!
“Love, Shea Groves ”
And a note from Jim Belcher, Jr., who helped with the final coin designs:
"I'm Jim Belcher, Jr, son of Survivor James Belcher RMC USN Ret., and I live in Waynesboro, VA. When Jason approached me about helping to judge the 2021 coin design submissions, knowing this year he solicited ideas/designs from our junior family members, I was thrilled at the possibilities. And I was not let down. Wow!
I feel this year's Indy Challenge coin covers our heroes in more depth than ever before, and I hope to see more Rescue & Recovery families join our ranks. Thank you, Shea and Lauren, for your moving designs. And thank you, Jason, for taking the helm year after year on this lasting tribute to our USS Indianapolis legacy. -Jim Belcher, Jr”
We intend on having another coin competition where designs will be showcased at the 2022 Fredericksburg, TX gathering, and attendees can vote on their favorite. So get your thinking caps on and start designing!!! Then be on the lookout for an email later this fall with details on next year’s coin competition.
2020 Commemorative Keepsake Book:
The year 2020 provides us an opportunity for reflection about the past and contemplation about the future. Time passes and memories fade if we don't share them.
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the sinking of USS Indianapolis (CA-35) and the tragic loss of 879 Sailors and Marines, this book is dedicated to the men and families of USS Indianapolis (CA-35) who continue to inspire and remind us to "Never Give Up!".
Written by the USS Indianapolis CA-35 Legacy Organization, it is a comprehensive overview of the story of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis. Included is a 60-page photo gallery focused on the young men who served on the final sailing crew. More than hundreds of rare photos, images of the crew and rarely seen documents are included in this special keepsake book.
USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Commemorating Seventy-Five Years, 1945-2020 is available for print on demand purchase. The price is $40 per book. All proceeds benefit the Legacy Organization’s mission to preserve and perpetuate the story of USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Please click this link to purchase.
2nd edition coming Spring 2022! If you have biographical information or photographs of one of our final crew members, please submit that information HERE.
Bronze Replica of the Congressional Gold Medal Acknowledging the Final Sailing Crew of USS Indianapolis CA-35:
The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the highest expressions of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions in the United States. Awarded by Acts of Congress, it honors those, individually or as a group “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is recognized as a major achievement long after the achievement”. The Congressional Gold Medal will be awarded to the final sailing crew of Indianapolis on the 75th Anniversary of its sinking, July 30, 2020. The Medal will be permanently displayed at the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Museum located in the Indiana War Memorials Building, Indianapolis, IN.
Persons interested in purchasing a bronze replica of the medal may order them directly from the United States Mint. The link to purchase is here.
The dark blue ¾ circle represents the percentage of crew lost at sea and the ¼ grey at the bottom symbolizes the percentage of survivors. Heritage, honor and legacy are the foundation.
"ONLY 316 SURVIVED" IS AVAILABLE NOW ON KINDLE!
Grab an e-Book copy for you and another for your loved ones, by clicking here!
As agreed and voted upon by the USS Indianapolis survivors, 100% of all proceeds will go to a special account set up for keeping the book in digital and hardcover publication.
We are accepting submissions for future updates.
If you have biographical information or photographs of one of our 316 survivors, please submit that information here OR please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make sure your loved one is included in future editions.
There is also discussion about a book for the Lost at Sea crew happening in the near future! Check our Scuttlebutt section on our Home page for more details soon!
LT CMDR EARL HENRY SR, LOST AT SEA:
Of the nearly 1200 men on the Indianapolis, one was Lt Cmdr. Earl O Henry (Sr). He was the ship’s dentist and he was also a terrific painter of birds; with no formal training, he spent his free time below decks painting these wonderful images from memory. He was probably hard at it at midnight when the ship was struck with torpedoes from a Japanese submarine.
He sent originals home to his wife and his infant son prior to the ship's sinking - so a significant collection exists. Only 6 weeks old when he lost his father, Earl Jr is the executor of his Father’s work and keeper of his memory. It is about all he has. You will hear his story in our film and it is poignant (get out your handkerchief). If you’d like to own one of these wonderful prints, and there are many, Earl Jr makes them available and they're very affordable; it's a piece of history and art that can only be described as ‘unique’.
Tune in on Jan 8 (PBS) for the whole USS Indianapolis story.