EDGAR HARRELL – Corporal USMC, Survivor USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
The story of the USS Indianapolis is perhaps one of the more publicized events of WWII due to various films and popular culture (Jaws). The islander in me has always regarded the ocean with a sense of absolute awe. It’s beauty, mystery and ferocious power are staggering; it takes no prisoners. How men like Edgar Harrell survived the ordeal of the Indianapolis will forever elude me. His tremendous faith in Providence is inspiring to say the least.
Like the vast majority of veterans, he said nothing of it for years. Eventually his son David convinced him to write; the resulting book “Out of the Depths” is co-written by father and son. David was instrumental in facilitating his father’s signature in the log book. I am indebted to both of them.
(On this occasion the book was slightly delayed getting back. I was able to contact local Postmaster Cindy Wallace Avant who remembered handling the package the day before and assured us it was on its way back. Her kindness has been repeated multiple times by many people along this journey, I am grateful to them all.)
The number of survivors from the Indianapolis has been whittled down and these incredible men will not be with us much longer. There are still occasional reunions and public presentations. To learn more about their incredible legacy visit All Things USS Indianapolis CA-35.
The wreckage of the ship was discovered in 2017; one can only imagine the powerful emotions and memories conjured up for Harrell and his co-survivors.
The majority of persons invited to sign the log book have been asked randomly. The scale of the conflict was so incredibly vast; it defies comprehension. Intuitively one can imagine armies, campaigns, cities, victims, refugees etc that impact each other in the broader sense. As I began to research the signatories’ backgrounds, these large scale conflicts became redefined in very personal stories, from which individual connections emerge. Edgar Harrell’s ship the Indianapolis, had just delivered components of the bomb that fell on Shigeaki Mori’s city, Hiroshima, on 6 August 1945.