Text: S.2101 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 115-338 (12/20/2018)
[115th Congress Public Law 338]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[[Page 132 STAT. 5033]]
Public Law 115-338
To award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the crew of the
USS Indianapolis, in recognition of their perseverance, bravery, and
service to the United States. <<NOTE: Dec. 20, 2018 - [S. 2101]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: USS Indianapolis
Congressional Gold Medal Act. 31 USC 5111 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``USS Indianapolis Congressional Gold
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis
received 10 battle stars between February 1942 and April 1945
while participating in major battles of World War II from the
Aleutian Islands to Okinawa.
(2) The USS Indianapolis, commanded by Captain Charles
Butler McVay III, carried 1,195 personnel when it set sail for
the island of Tinian on July 16, 1945, to deliver components of
the atomic bomb ``Little Boy''. The USS Indianapolis set a speed
record during the portion of the trip from California to Pearl
Harbor and successfully delivered the cargo on July 26, 1945.
The USS Indianapolis then traveled to Guam and received further
orders to join Task Group 95.7 in the Leyte Gulf in the
Philippines for training. During the length of the trip, the USS
Indianapolis went unescorted.
(3) On July 30, 1945, minutes after midnight, the USS
Indianapolis was hit by 2 torpedoes fired by the I-58, a
Japanese submarine. The resulting explosions severed the bow of
the ship, sinking the ship in about 12 minutes. Of 1,195
personnel, about 900 made it into the water. While a few life
rafts were deployed, most men were stranded in the water with
only a kapok life jacket.
(4) At 10:25 a.m. on August 2, 1945, 4 days after the
sinking of the USS Indianapolis, Lieutenant Wilbur Gwinn was
piloting a PV-1 Ventura bomber and accidentally noticed men in
the water who were later determined to be survivors of the
sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Lieutenant Gwinn alerted a PBY
aircraft, under the command of Lieutenant Adrian Marks, about
the disaster. Lieutenant Marks made a dangerous open-sea landing
to begin rescuing the men before any surface vessels arrived.
The USS Cecil J. Doyle was the first surface ship to arrive on
the scene and took considerable risk in using a searchlight as a
beacon, which gave hope to survivors in the water and encouraged
them to make it through
[[Page 132 STAT. 5034]]
another night. The rescue mission continued well into August 3,
1945, and was well-coordinated and responsive once launched. The
individuals who participated in the rescue mission conducted a
thorough search, saved lives, and undertook the difficult job of
identifying the remains of, and providing a proper burial for,
those individuals who had died.
(5) Only 316 men survived the ordeal and the survivors had
to deal with severe burns, exposure to the elements, extreme
dehydration, and shark attacks.
(6) During World War II, the USS Indianapolis frequently
served as the flagship for the commander of the Fifth Fleet,
Admiral Raymond Spruance, survived a bomb released during a
kamikaze attack (which badly damaged the ship and killed 9
members of the crew), earned a total of 10 battle stars, and
accomplished a top secret mission that was critical to ending
the war. The sacrifice, perseverance, and bravery of the crew of
the USS Indianapolis should never be forgotten.
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Award Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of Representatives
and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate
arrangements for the award, on behalf of Congress, of a single gold
medal of appropriate design to the crew of the USS Indianapolis, in
recognition of their perseverance, bravery, and service to the United
(b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (referred to in this
Act as the ``Secretary'') shall strike the gold medal with suitable
emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.
(c) Indiana War Memorial Museum.--
(1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal
referred to in subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to
the Indiana War Memorial Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, where
it will be displayed as appropriate and made available for
(2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the
Indiana War Memorial Museum should make the gold medal received
under this Act available for display elsewhere, particularly at
other locations and events associated with the USS Indianapolis.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary
may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck under
section 3, at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals,
including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead
SEC. 5. STATUS OF MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--Medals struck under this Act are national
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
[[Page 132 STAT. 5035]]
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of sections 5134 and 5136 of
title 31, United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be
considered to be numismatic items.
Approved December 20, 2018.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2101:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
Aug. 1, considered and passed Senate.
Dec. 12, considered and passed House.