[115th Congress Public Law 338]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

[[Page 132 STAT. 5033]]

Public Law 115-338
115th Congress

                                 An Act

 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.>> 

    This Act may be cited as the ``USS Indianapolis Congressional Gold 
Medal Act''.

    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

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        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.

    (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.

    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 

    (a) National Medals.--Medals struck under this Act are national 
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

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    (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.


            Aug. 1, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 12, considered and passed House.