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Lt Robert Taft Whitman

Death 30 Jul 1945 (aged 28)
At Sea
Burial Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Tablets of the Missing
Memorial ID 56778193 · View Source
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Son of Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Whitman who resided in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Robert served as a Lieutenant, U.S.S. Indianapolis (CA-35), U.S. Navy during World War II.

He resided in Fairfield County, Connecticut prior to the war.

The Indianapolis was struck on her starboard bow by two Type 95 torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-58 approximately half way between Guam and the Philippines. The explosions caused massive damage. The Indianapolis took on a heavy list, and settled by the bow. Twelve minutes later, she rolled completely over, then her stern rose into the air, and she plunged down into the sea during the war.

Out of a total crew of 1,196, approximately 310 went down with the ship and approximately 880 were set adrift. The Navy was, at that time, unaware that anything had happened to the ship until survivors were seen adrift in the water. When spotted they had been adrift three and a half days. Out of the 880 only 321 survived with 4 of them dying within the next few days.

Robert was declared "Missing In Action" in this attack and sinking.

He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Service # O-160540

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Historical Notes:

The sinking of the Indianapolis led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

The Indianapolis was assigned a secret mission which they completed only four days prior to the ships sinking. On July 16th they departed San Francisco heading to Tinian island carrying parts and the enriched uranium (about half of the world's supply of Uranium-235 at the time) for the atomic bomb Little Boy, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima. They successfully completed that mission.

Bio & Note by:
Russell S. "Russ" Pickett





  • Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56778193
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lt Robert Taft Whitman (9 Apr 1917–30 Jul 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56778193, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by CWGC/ABMC (contributor 6) .