Editor’s note: James Arnold Frederick writes that he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965-1969. He served at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, Vietnam, from 1966-1967. He shared this tribute to his uncle Carl Lloyd Arnold, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the USS Indianapolis CA-35. He was lost at sea.
Carl Lloyd Arnold was born Nov. 5, 1925, on a farm on the east side of North Phillips Road, just north of the intersection of Sandusky road in Jackson Township, Allen County. His father was Walter A. Arnold (son of Cade Arnold), and his mother was Nellie D. Wingate Arnold.
Carl had one sister, Marcella Arnold Frederick Davis.
Carl started his schooling in 1931 in first grade at LaRue School on Phillips Road. His father, Walter Arnold, drove the school bus.
While in the first grade in 1931, the family moved to Lima. He continued his schooling at Washington School located at the southeast corner of South Pine and East Kibby streets. After completing grade school he moved on to South Junior High School for eighths and ninth grades. He then went on to attend South High School and graduated in 1943.
While growing up, he liked most things boys do such as riding his bicycle, playing baseball and fishing.
After he graduated from high school he went on a fishing trip to Michigan with his friend and neighbor, Bob Snider, and his family.
After high school he worked at Westinghouse Electric Co. During this time he and a girl from Central High School, Jo Ann Parr, began dating and were very interested in each other.
Carl was called up for service in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 19, 1944. He went for his basic training at Great Lakes near Chicago.
He completed his basic training on April 8, 1944. He then traveled by passenger train to Norfolk, Virginia. There he boarded the USS Storm King and cruised through the Caribbean Sea and passed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. He arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in the first of May 1944.
He boarded the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis on May 8, 1944. This would remain his permanent station.
They left Pearl Harbor on May 25, 1944, and arrived at Medero in the Marshall Islands on June 2, 1944. From there they went to Kwajalein Atoll. He commented in his diary that the islands they passed had been all shot up and the palm trees looked like poles stuck in the ground.
After leaving Kwajalein they arrived at the island of Saipan in the Marianas around June 9, 1944. Here they joined Task Force 58 under the command of Adm. Raymond A. Spruance. Spruance made the USS Indianapolis his flag ship.
Attacks on Saipan began on June 12. On June 14, the USS Indianapolis moved to within 4,000 yards of Saipan and started bombardment of the island. The Japanese were firing back and there was shrapnel flying all around. One of the men close by got hit in the back by shrapnel.
They sent four small boatloads of men in toward the beach to blow up some coral reefs so Marine landing craft could get through to the beach. Two men in one of the boats were killed and one injured badly by machine gun fire.
On June 15 the Marines landed on Saipan.
On June 15 Task Force 58 left the island of Saipan to confront a Japanese fleet that included two aircraft carriers in the Philippine Sea. On June 19 and 20, 1944, there was a pitched battle between the two opposing fleets. The battle was fought completely by aircraft and the two fleets never sighted each other. The Japanese lost over 300 aircraft in this battle and the United States lost over 90. Most of the American losses were from returning aircraft running out of fuel and ditching in the ocean. Most of these pilots were picked up by destroyers. This battle was called the Battle of the Philippine Sea and also the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.
After Saipan the USS Indianapolis took part in the shelling and invasion of the islands of Tinian and Guam.
After this there was shore leave at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a couple of days and then back for the invasion of the island of Peleliu and onto the island of Palau.
Carl had a leave in Pearl Harbor in October and then came back to the United States and had a 15-day leave and came home to Lima on Oct. 23, 1944.
After returning to San Francisco and then onto San Diego it was back to the South Pacific. He went back to Guam and Saipan. These islands were now secure and Saipan could be used as a base to attack Japan with B-29 bombers.
On Feb. 17, 1945, the task force made a raid on the Japanese homeland. They came within 80 miles of Tokyo. Carrier planes were used to attack airfields and any other targets of opportunity.
The USS Indianapolis returned on Feb. 19 for the invasion of Iwo Jima. While participating in the bombardment, they observed the first use of suicide planes, kamikaze, used by the Japanese.
On March 8-11, 1945, they went to the island of Ulithi for a few days of recreation. After that they boarded the USS Indianapolis and met up with Task Force 58 and proceeded to Kyushu, a southern island of Japan. Here they made air raids on Japan between March 18 and 21. After this the task force proceeded to Okinawa.
While off the island of Okinawa, the U.S. aircraft carriers Enterprise and Franklin were hit and badly damaged by kamikaze.
While participating in the bombardment of Okinawa on March 31, 1945, a suicide plane dived on the USS Indianapolis. The ship’s 20 millimeter cannons hit the plane but not before it dropped a bomb that hit the fantail on the port side. The stern of the ship almost went underwater. Carl was working on one of the ship’s catapult planes when the attack began. He heard the firing and jumped out of his plane. The concussion knocked the adjoining catapult plane upside down and fell on the plane he had been working on. A good friend of Carl’s, Jim Farrell, was in the other plane and fell out and was injured badly. A friend named Shea was in the plane when it hit the quarterdeck and he fell out, dislocating his shoulder. There were nine men killed and a number injured in the attack.
Funerals for the dead were held over the next three days.
While anchored off Okinawa, there were problems with Japanese swimming out to the ships at night and sneaking on board and attacking men with knives.
The ship’s crew gave the name of this harbor Death Valley after all the problems they had there.
On April 7, 1945, the ship, though crippled, left Okinawa and made it back to Guam. Here the crew took a shore leave and went to a Red Cross Canteen where they could eat some good food and listen to a good Marine swing band.
While at Guam, Carl was able to visit his friend Jim Farrell at the hospital on the island. He had a broken arm and some internal injuries.
On April 13, 1945, they received word that President Franklin Roosevelt had died.
The crippled USS Indianapolis limped back across the Pacific Ocean to Mare Island near San Francisco, California, for repairs.
During the month of May 1945, while the ship was in dry dock for repairs, Carl came home to Lima on leave. He visited with the family and while home he had his picture taken holding me. I was 3 months old.
When Carl went back to San Francisco to report for duty after the ship was repaired he left his white uniform, a flight suit and numerous other objects and mementos at home. We now have these objects in our possession.
On July 16, 1945, the ship left Mare Island and moved to Hunter’s Point Navy Yard in San Francisco where components of the atomic bomb were loaded on board the USS Indianapolis. They transported the top secret cargo to the island of Tinian in the Marianas. From Tinian the Army Air Corps B-29 bomber Enola Gay piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets would drop the first atomic bomb named Little Boy on the Japanese City of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
Another atomic bomb named Fat Man was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, by Maj. Charles Sweeney piloting a B-29 bomber named Bockscar.
After delivering the atomic bomb components to the island of Tinian the USS Indianapolis proceeded to the island of Guam. After being in port for a few days Capt. Charles McVay received orders to proceed to the island of Leyte in the Philippines.
The USS Indianapolis left Guam on July 28, 1945, and proceeded to the island of Leyte on a straight course without a destroyer escort. The Navy denied an escort for the heavy cruiser, which normally would have an escort.
Near midnight on July 29, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was hit by two torpedoes out of four torpedoes fired by the Japanese submarine I-58 commanded by Mochitsura Hashimoto.
There were 1,197 men on board the USS Indianapolis at the time it was hit. Approximately 300 were killed in the initial attack or went down with the ship. There were close to 900 in the water. Carl and one of his best friends, Otha Alto “Al” Havins survived the initial attack and made it into the water. They got separated and never saw each other again.
Carl was on a floating life net and Havins was in a life boat with McVay.
No SOS was sent out.
It wasn’t until the fourth day in the water — Aug. 2, 1945 — that a flying seaplane on a routine flight happened to spot survivors floating in the sea. The pilot landed to assist what survivors he could gather together, and he radioed for help. Destroyers came from all directions to pick up survivors.
The tragedy of the whole affair was the four to five days that the survivors were in the water. Over 580 died in the water over those five days. They died from starvation, exposure, drowning and, worst of all, sharks. There were 317 survivors.
It is not known exactly how Carl died. From all accounts we’ve heard from survivors over the years he had survived on the floating net up until the third day in the water — Aug. 1, 1945. He was seen the evening of Aug. 1 but the next morning, he was gone.
The Japanese surrendered Aug. 15, 1945.
Carl’s friend, Havins, survived and became a minister and lived in California until his death a couple of years ago. Carl’s friend Farrell wasn’t on the ship when it went down because of his injuries. He still lives in California today. After the war both Havins and Farrell made visits to Lima to see my grandparents and my mother, Marcella Frederick Davis. Havins and Farrell were true friends.
There is a marble cemetery marker in his memory at Memorial Park Cemetery east of Lima.
Carl was an aviation machinist mate petty officer third class at the time of his death and was 19 years and 8 months old. His parents received his Purple Heart posthumously.
Even after all these years, he is remembered with much fondness and love. He will never be forgotten.