(NEW YORK) — The last surviving Marine of the USS Indianapolis, the U.S. Navy ship that sank in July 1945, died this weekend.
Edgar Harrell was 96 and lived at the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Clarksville, Tennessee, the official Facebook page of the ship posted Saturday.
Harrell was one of the Indianapolis’s 316 members who survived the attack by Japanese forces, waiting for help in shark-infested waters for four days.
“During his time aboard ship, he helped guard components of the atomic bomb. After the torpedoing, he was a hero amongst his shipmates,” the post said.
Born on Oct. 10, 1924, in Trigg County, Kentucky, Harrell joined the Marines during World War II and was stationed aboard the USS Indianapolis in the Pacific. Harrell chronicled his experience during the war in a book that he co-authored with his son David. The book was called “Out of the Depths.”
After returning home, Harrell worked as a distributor with Pella Window Company, according to the Facebook post. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and received an honorary promotion to the rank of sergeant in 2018.
Harrell is survived by his son, two brothers, a son-in-law, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Saturday at Calvary Bible Church in Joelton, Tennessee, followed by a burial at Murray Memorial Gardens in Kentucky.
The attack on USS Indianapolis killed 880 sailors and Marines and is known as one of the worst disasters in U.S. naval history. The story of the USS Indianapolis has inspired books and movies, including a speech from the 1975 film, “Jaws.”
The remains of the ship were found resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean in August 2017.
As of today, there are only five surviving soldiers of the attack.
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