Thomas McNabb, Jr. – Fireman, Second Class, United States Navy

Information provided by Thomas' Nephew, Ralph McNabb, February 1998.

Name: Thomas McNabb, Jr. Born: in Bad Axe, Michigan on August 06, 1926, third of four sons to Thomas and Hazel McNabb Residence at the time of death: Croswell, Michigan Inducted: February 20, 1945, training at USNTC Great Lakes, Illinois, Company 249.

On May 12 of 1945, Tommy was informed of his first assignment: the 610 foot Cruiser- USS Indianapolis (which was the flag ship of the Fifth Fleet in the Pacific; and the Ship of State for President Roosevelt). As Fireman 2nd Class in “A” Division of Section “A” on the Indy, he was an engineer on her 18-passenger whaleboats.

On March 31, 1945, while engaged in the fight at Okinawa, Indy was damaged by a kamikaze plane, which killed 9 crewmen. Indy was awarded her 10th and final Battle Star for her part in the Okinawa battle. She returned to Mare Island for repairs.

On July 16, 1945, a “secret cargo” crate was loaded onto Indy for transport to Tinian. After a record breaking Pacific crossing, Indy reached Tinian on July 26, 1945, and unloaded the cargo – the Atomic bomb!

Indy then proceeded to Guam for further orders to Leyte for training. Indy was never to arrive at Leyte: Unescorted, at 0014 Monday, July 30, 1945, Indy was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine 560 miles east of Leyte. Of the 1196 crewmen and passengers, 800-900 survived the sinking and were thrown into the water. Mis-communication and Naval policies at the time allowed the sinking to go unnoticed. Only by chance on August 2, did a pilot of an anit-submarine plane spot an oil slick and discovered the only survivors of the Indy's crew- 319 men. The sea, the elements, and sharks had pared the sailor's numbers down over the 5-day ordeal. Tom McNabb did not survive the ordeal and was listed as lost at sea.

In 1995, Tom's brother applied for and was granted an “In Memory Of” site and stone in Arlington's Memorial Section “H” site 530 (map grid- N28) for his lost brother. He posthumously recieved the Purple Heart.


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