Richard J. Garfunkel
WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday
July 1, 2009
All archived Shows at:
Wednesday, July 1, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. Our guest today is Don Blum, from Greenburgh, NY, who is one of the last survivors of the USS Indianapolis, which was the last major capital ship, sunk in World War II. Our subject is his story, what really happened, and who was at fault!
Mr. Blum was born in 1924 and grew up in Scarsdale, where he went to the public schools and graduated from Scarsdale High School in June of 1941. He started at Stevens Institute of Technology that summer for introductory courses in shop and drafting and to get acquainted with the other freshmen. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941, many of his classmates left to join the armed forces. Because he was just 17, he was advised to stay in college because he would be more valuable as a trained engineer. When he turned 18 in '42 he enlisted in the Navy and applied for, and was accepted in, the for V-12 Program. This program was a intense college training for new naval officers to supplement the regular force of commissioned officers already serving the fleet. In June 1943, his program started at the Stevens Institute where he graduated in fall of 1944 and was sent directly to Midshipmen's school at Columbia University. He graduated in March of 1945 and was sent to the State of Washington to Gunnery School. In the middle of June 1945, he was assigned to USS Indianapolis. After reporting to the Naval Commandant in San Francisco he was transported to the ship at Mare Island where it was being repaired in dry dock. He reported aboard and was given orders to leave for Ammunition Handling School in Seattle. After three weeks of training he returned to ship and was told that the ship would be leaving next day for places unknown. He was just 21 and had never been to sea before.
Thirteen days later he was swimming in the shark-infested waters of the Pacific with hundreds of other survivors and the ship was gone. After being rescued with the remaining survivors, he returned from Pacific theater for 30 day survivor leave. He was then assigned to USS Franklin, a large carrier, located in Brooklyn Navy Yard, while being repaired after being hit by a Kamikaze. Eventually, with the end of the war, He was discharged. Later on, he was asked to testify at a Courts-Martial trial of the Captain of the Indianapolis.
After his service he joined his father’s small consulting engineering firm and was put to work almost immediately in New York. His brother was released from the Navy about six months before and they both worked together. After almost thirty years in that business, he retired and bought a sailboat and sailed up and down the East Coast.
Not long after his extended cruise, but short retirement, he went back to work designing buildings for an old client in the pharmaceutical business and has kept busy ever since. He is still active and is currently working with his son on another engineering endeavor.
Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.
One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at https://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest will be Doctor Lilly Link, who will discuss alternate medicine.
Richard J. Garfunkel