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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

The Sinking of USS Indianapolis: Navy Department Press Release Charges and Specifications in Case of Capt. Charles B. McVay, III, USN, 3 Dec. 1945

NAVY DEPARTMENT


HOLD FOR RELEASE
UNTIL READ IN OPEN COURT MARTIAL
EXPECTED DECEMBER 3, 1945

To: Captain Thomas J. Ryan, Jr., U.S. Navy
Judge Advocate, General Court Martial, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Subject: Charges and specifications in case of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, U.S. Navy

1. The above-named officer will be tried before the general court martial of which you are judge advocate, upon the following charges and specifications. You will notify the president of the court accordingly, inform the accused of the date set for his trial, and summon all witnesses, both for the prosecution and the defense.

CHARGE I

THROUGH NEGLIGENCE SUFFERING A VESSEL OF THE NAVY

TO BE HAZARDED

SPECIFICATION


In that Charles B. McVay, III, Captain, U.S. Navy, while so serving in command of the USS Indianapolis, making passage singly, without escort, from Guam, Marianas Islands, to Leyte, Philippine Islands, through an area in which enemy submarines might be encountered, did, during good visibility after moonrise on 29 July, 1945, at or about 10:30 p.m. , minus nine and one-half zone time, neglect and fail to exercise proper care and attention to the safety of said vessel in that he neglected and failed, then and thereafter, to cause a zigzag course to be steered, and he, the said McVay, through said negligence, did suffer the said USS Indianapolis to be hazarded; the United States then being in a state of war.

CHARGE II

CULPABLE INEFFICIENCY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY

SPECIFICATION


In that Charles B. McVay, III, Captain, U.S. Navy, while so serving in command of the USS Indianapolis, making passage from Guam, Marianas Islands, to Leyte, Philippine Islands, having been informed at or about 12:30 a.m., minus nine and one-half zone time, on 30 July 1945, that said vessel was badly damaged and in sinking condition, did then and there fail to issue and see effected such timely orders as were necessary to cause said vessel to be abandoned, as it was his duty to do, by reason of which inefficiency many persons on board perished with the sinking of said vessel; the United States then being in a state of war.

JAMES FORRESTAL


1 April 1999