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By Lynn Vincent: Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
Meet U.S. Navy veteran and New York Times-bestselling author Lynn Vincent and acclaimed documentary filmmaker Sara Vladic, when they join us to discuss and sign Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History. A human drama unlike any other: the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.
Lynn Vincent (born 1962) is a conservative American writer, journalist, and author or co-author of 10 books. Vincent’s work focuses on memoirs, politics and current events. She is supportive of the Republican Party.
Vincent’s best-known solo work is Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together. The tale of a friendship between a wealthy Texan and a black homeless man has been on the New York Times Best Seller list since October 2008.
She co-wrote Sarah Palin’s 2009 memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life.
In 2010, Vincent wrote, with Todd Burpo, Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, the story of the four-year-old son of a Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery visits heaven.
Vincent, a U.S. Navy veteran, spent 11 years as an investigative reporter and feature writer for WORLD magazine, a conservative Christian newsweekly. She has lectured on writing at the World Journalism Institute, and at The King’s College in New York City.
Court-martial of Captain McVay
Captain Charles B. McVay III, who had commanded Indianapolis since November 1944, survived the sinking and was among those rescued days later. In November 1945, he was court-martialed and convicted of “hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag”. Several aspects of the court-martial were controversial. There was evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm’s way. McVay’s orders were to “zigzag at his discretion, weather permitting”, however McVay was not informed that a Japanese submarine was operating in the vicinity of his route from Guam to Leyte. Further, Mochitsura Hashimoto, commander of I-58, testified that zigzagging would have made no difference. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz remitted McVay’s sentence and restored him to active duty. McVay retired in 1949 as a rear admiral.
While many of Indianapolis’s survivors said McVay was not to blame for the sinking, the families of some of the men who died thought otherwise: “Merry Christmas! Our family’s holiday would be a lot merrier if you hadn’t killed my son”, read one piece of mail. The guilt that was placed on his shoulders mounted until he committed suicide in 1968, using his Navy-issued revolver. McVay was discovered on his front lawn by his gardener with a toy sailor in one hand, revolver in the other. He was 70 years old.
McVay’s record cleared
In 1996, sixth-grade student Hunter Scott began his research on the sinking of Indianapolis for a class history project, an assignment which eventually led to a United States Congressional investigation. In October 2000, the United States Congress passed a resolution that Captain McVay’s record should state that “he is exonerated for the loss of Indianapolis”. President Bill Clinton signed the resolution. The resolution noted that, although several hundred ships of the US Navy were lost in combat in World War II, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed for the sinking of his ship.
In July 2001, the United States Secretary of the Navy ordered McVay’s official Navy record cleared of all wrongdoing.
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