Last Surviving Marine Aboard USS Indianapolis Dies At 96

USS Indianapolis / Facebook

On Saturday, May 8, 2021, veteran Edgar Hassell passed away at the age of 96.

He made history in 1945 when he was in the Marines during World War II. He was a crew member on the USS Indianapolis, helping guard components of the atomic bomb. The ship was on a top-secret mission and heading to an island 500 miles east of the Philippines when two Japanese torpedoes ripped it in half, sinking it.

Of the 1,196 men on board, 890 survived the initial sinking of the ship. Hundreds more died of hypothermia, dehydration, and shark attacks in the following days as they were stranded, swimming in shark-infested water. Just 316 men were rescued from the water after five days.

Hassell was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, and received an honorary promotion to the rank of Sergeant in 2018, and was the last surviving Marine who was on board the USS Indianapolis when it sunk.

His death was confirmed by the ship’s official Facebook page.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear that Edgar Harrell, the last surviving Marine of the USS Indianapolis sinking, has passed away,” they wrote. “Ed was beloved among the group, and traveled the world sharing the story of his ship and shipmates. He joined the crew as a sea-going marine in 1944, meaning he was one of the best of the best. During his time aboard ship, he helped guard components of the atomic bomb. After the torpedoing, he was a hero amongst his shipmates.”

Harrell was a man of God and felt the Lord throughout his entire time stranded in the ocean. He told his story in his book Out Of The Depths, which you can purchase here.

According to a comment from his brother, Bob Harrell, Edgar is in the middle row, directly under the center gun in the photo below.

While Harrell was the last surviving Marine of the USS Indianapolis, there are five living surviving crew members. The ship writes, “Let’s all do what we can to keep their Legacies alive.”

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