After spending several years in California, the prow of the USS Indiana is now home to stay at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
The hull arrived in Bloomington in July, but the official dedication of the ship’s prow was held Saturday, prior to the start of the IU and Navy football game.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said having the prow of the ship in its namesake state serves as a reminder of Indiana’s contribution to the military.
“This doesn’t just honor the USS Indiana,”Mabus said. “This honors all Indiana Veterans and the people that manned the USS Indiana, and the people who serve today in all branches of our service.”
Those attending the dedication included IU President Michael McRobbie; U.S. Senator Dan Coats, R-Indiana; U.S. Senator Joseph Donnelly, D-Indiana; U.S. Representative Todd Young, R-9th; Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann as well as Secretary Mabus.
Twenty of the USS Indiana’s crewmembers also attended the ceremony, seven of which were from the ship’s original crew.
Senator Donnelly welcomed these crewmembers to the “family of Hoosiers” and thanked them for their heroic service, vowing to remember their sacrifice and treat the prow with respect.
“We are honored to have her home. As that ship kept us safe, we promise to keep her safe,” Donnelly said.
President McRobbie said the state’s commitment to the U.S. military is something in which all Hoosiers can have pride. He also wants the ship to honor the service and sacrifices made by past, present and future service men and women as well as provide a call of action to IU’s community.
“I hope the prow will serve as a reminder for students to dedicate themselves to lives of service; to make a difference for generations they may never know,” McRobbie said.
About the USS Indiana
The USS Indiana was commissioned in April 1942 and served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. At the time, the ship was considered one of the fastest and most powerful in the naval fleet. The ship was involved in several invasions, including Iwo Jima.
Following its decommission in 1947, the ship was sold for scrap metal but select pieces, including the prow, were preserved. The prow was on display at a seafood restaurant in California until its recent acquisition by Indiana University.
In 1966 the U.S. Navy gave IU the ship’s mainmast and two gun mounts. All three pieces are on display on the west entrance of Memorial Stadium.