On 31 March 1945 Earl Procai, Bugler 2nd class, was one of four Buglers aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis. Procai was one of nine sailors killed when a Japanese Army Peregrine Falcon fighter kamikaze suicide plane (A Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa; "Oscar" the WWII Allied name given the aircraft) intentionally crashed into the Indianapolis near Okinawa Japan.
Procai's final honors aboard The USS Indianapolis ~ the crew was brought to attention with a bugle call. Three times, the Marine detail leader uttered a deep command: "Aim...fire!" The honor guard fired three volleys into the sky over the rail. Then BGM3 Glenn Morgan raised the trumpet and sounded "Taps" for his dear friend. It was one of the calls they'd practiced together.
(from "Indianapolis" by Lynn Vincent & Sara Vladic / p.36 © July 2018)
Originally buried on Zamami Island, near Okinawa; Procai was was re-interred at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on 19 May 1949.
The USS Indianapolis served President Roosevelt as ship of state, and Admiral Spruance as the 5th Fleet flagship in WWII. She fought gallantly through many campaigns, earning ten battle stars. Her final top secret mission was to carry parts of the first atomic bomb used in combat to a U.S. air base on Tinian. Just a few nights later, on July 30th 1945, she fell prey to a Japanese submarine. In the next twelve minutes of fire and chaos, about 330 of her crew would be lost with the ship, and the rest--some 860 men--would be left alone in the Pacific in the middle of the night. For the next 5 days, without food or water, the crew battled the elements, dodged shark attacks, and clung to life as best they could. Her sinking led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. Of the 1,195 sailors and marines on board, only 316 survived.
BGM2, US Navy
World War II
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