60 Years Later: A Small Town Discovers a Hero in Their Midst

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9781432718312: 60 Years Later: A Small Town Discovers a Hero in Their Midst

60 Years Later is the remarkable story of William Van Wilpe. On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis and her crew of 1,197 are attacked by a Japanese submarine, just days removed from delivering the components of the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. The damage inflicted by the Japanese torpedoes is so catastrophic; the Indianapolis sinks in just twelve minutes. The result of the ship’s rapid demise is the inability of the U.S. Navy to confirm the attack or be aware of the survivor’s helpless predicament. They are forced to drift in shark-infested waters for nearly five days before an aircraft spots a large oil slick and a full scale rescue is launched.

The USS Bassett is among the first ships to arrive on the scene shortly after midnight on August 3, 1945. They immediately deploy their Higgins Boats to retrieve the survivors and William Van Wilpe volunteers to help with the rescue. The small boats struggle through ten-foot swells a thick layer of surface bunker oil. But that is not all they have to contend with. The survivors are surrounded by schools of sharks whose daily feeding frenzies have steadily depleted their numbers. Seeing the difficulty of pulling the survivors onto the Higgins Boats in the ten foot swells, 19 year old Gunner’s Mate, William Van Wilpe ignores the shark fins and dives overboard to gather the survivors and boost them up to the boat crews. On several occasions during the rescue, his Van Wilpe’s shipmates witness him perform incredible feats of bravery and physical endurance. Van Wilpe is not the sole hero among the Bassett rescuers, but certainly the most notable. The USS Bassett is credited with rescuing 152 of the 317 survivors, countless of them by Van Wilpe’s daring rescue.

During the early stages of the rescue, a contentious altercation occurs between the Captain and several of his officers aboard the deck of the USS Bassett. In the aftermath, hard feelings result in the injustice of zero citations being awarded for heroism, although many are truly deserving. The ugly episode aboard the USS Bassett is essentially covered up by the Navy and forgotten. Van Wilpe reveals the details of those tense moments aboard the deck of the Bassett to the author, Tom Balunis in a 2007 interview.

After returning home from the war, Van Wilpe chooses to remain silent over his involvement in the USS Indianapolis rescue. No one in his home town of Wanaque, NJ is aware that he is a bona-fide hero, including his parents who go to their grave without ever learning of their son's heroism. Decades pass until one day by coincidence, the local high school librarian discovers Van Wilpe's referred to as a hero in a book about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The discovery leads to an all-out effort by the Wanaque VFW to petition the Navy for a medal for Van Wilpe. Obtaining a medal for heroism turns out to be far more difficult then imagined and the VFW enlists the help of Wanaque Councilman and the book's author, Tom Balunis. Balunis is successful, but not without great trials and tribulation. The Navy finally awards William Van Wilpe with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism in 2005, 60 Years Later.

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About the Author:

Tom Balunis is a Councilman and former Mayor of Wanaque, NJ. He is Chairman of the Wanaque Veterans Committee and one of their strongest advocates. He's led fundraising efforts for the Wanaque Veterans as well as the USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization. Tom resides in Wanaque, NJ with his wife Cindy and their three children where he's been active in community service for over 20 years.

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Balunis, Tom
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Book Description Outskirts Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 60 Years Later is the remarkable story of William Van Wilpe. On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis and her crew of 1,197 are attacked by a Japanese submarine, just days removed from delivering the components of the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. The damage inflicted by the Japanese torpedoes is so catastrophic; the Indianapolis sinks in just twelve minutes. The result of the ship s rapid demise is the inability of the U.S. Navy to confirm the attack or be aware of the survivor s helpless predicament. They are forced to drift in shark-infested waters for nearly five days before an aircraft spots a large oil slick and a full scale rescue is launched. The USS Bassett is among the first ships to arrive on the scene shortly after midnight on August 3, 1945. They immediately deploy their Higgins Boats to retrieve the survivors and William Van Wilpe volunteers to help with the rescue. The small boats struggle through ten-foot swells a thick layer of surface bunker oil. But that is not all they have to contend with. The survivors are surrounded by schools of sharks whose daily feeding frenzies have steadily depleted their numbers. Seeing the difficulty of pulling the survivors onto the Higgins Boats in the ten foot swells, 19 year old Gunner s Mate, William Van Wilpe ignores the shark fins and dives overboard to gather the survivors and boost them up to the boat crews. On several occasions during the rescue, his Van Wilpe s shipmates witness him perform incredible feats of bravery and physical endurance. Van Wilpe is not the sole hero among the Bassett rescuers, but certainly the most notable. The USS Bassett is credited with rescuing 152 of the 317 survivors, countless of them by Van Wilpe s daring rescue. During the early stages of the rescue, a contentious altercation occurs between the Captain and several of his officers aboard the deck of the USS Bassett. In the aftermath, hard feelings result in the injustice of zero citations being awarded for heroism, although many are truly deserving. The ugly episode aboard the USS Bassett is essentially covered up by the Navy and forgotten. Van Wilpe reveals the details of those tense moments aboard the deck of the Bassett to the author, Tom Balunis in a 2007 interview. After returning home from the war, Van Wilpe chooses to remain silent over his involvement in the USS Indianapolis rescue. No one in his home town of Wanaque, NJ is aware that he is a bona-fide hero, including his parents who go to their grave without ever learning of their son s heroism. Decades pass until one day by coincidence, the local high school librarian discovers Van Wilpe s referred to as a hero in a book about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The discovery leads to an all-out effort by the Wanaque VFW to petition the Navy for a medal for Van Wilpe. Obtaining a medal for heroism turns out to be far more difficult then imagined and the VFW enlists the help of Wanaque Councilman and the book s author, Tom Balunis. Balunis is successful, but not without great trials and tribulation. The Navy finally awards William Van Wilpe with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism in 2005, 60 Years Later. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781432718312

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Book Description Outskirts Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.60 Years Later is the remarkable story of William Van Wilpe. On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis and her crew of 1,197 are attacked by a Japanese submarine, just days removed from delivering the components of the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. The damage inflicted by the Japanese torpedoes is so catastrophic; the Indianapolis sinks in just twelve minutes. The result of the ship s rapid demise is the inability of the U.S. Navy to confirm the attack or be aware of the survivor s helpless predicament. They are forced to drift in shark-infested waters for nearly five days before an aircraft spots a large oil slick and a full scale rescue is launched. The USS Bassett is among the first ships to arrive on the scene shortly after midnight on August 3, 1945. They immediately deploy their Higgins Boats to retrieve the survivors and William Van Wilpe volunteers to help with the rescue. The small boats struggle through ten-foot swells a thick layer of surface bunker oil. But that is not all they have to contend with. The survivors are surrounded by schools of sharks whose daily feeding frenzies have steadily depleted their numbers. Seeing the difficulty of pulling the survivors onto the Higgins Boats in the ten foot swells, 19 year old Gunner s Mate, William Van Wilpe ignores the shark fins and dives overboard to gather the survivors and boost them up to the boat crews. On several occasions during the rescue, his Van Wilpe s shipmates witness him perform incredible feats of bravery and physical endurance. Van Wilpe is not the sole hero among the Bassett rescuers, but certainly the most notable. The USS Bassett is credited with rescuing 152 of the 317 survivors, countless of them by Van Wilpe s daring rescue. During the early stages of the rescue, a contentious altercation occurs between the Captain and several of his officers aboard the deck of the USS Bassett. In the aftermath, hard feelings result in the injustice of zero citations being awarded for heroism, although many are truly deserving. The ugly episode aboard the USS Bassett is essentially covered up by the Navy and forgotten. Van Wilpe reveals the details of those tense moments aboard the deck of the Bassett to the author, Tom Balunis in a 2007 interview. After returning home from the war, Van Wilpe chooses to remain silent over his involvement in the USS Indianapolis rescue. No one in his home town of Wanaque, NJ is aware that he is a bona-fide hero, including his parents who go to their grave without ever learning of their son s heroism. Decades pass until one day by coincidence, the local high school librarian discovers Van Wilpe s referred to as a hero in a book about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The discovery leads to an all-out effort by the Wanaque VFW to petition the Navy for a medal for Van Wilpe. Obtaining a medal for heroism turns out to be far more difficult then imagined and the VFW enlists the help of Wanaque Councilman and the book s author, Tom Balunis. Balunis is successful, but not without great trials and tribulation. The Navy finally awards William Van Wilpe with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism in 2005, 60 Years Later. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781432718312

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Book Description Outskirts Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 364 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 0.8in.60 Years Later is the remarkable story of William Van Wilpe. On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis and her crew of 1, 197 are attacked by a Japanese submarine, just days removed from delivering the components of the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. The damage inflicted by the Japanese torpedoes is so catastrophic; the Indianapolis sinks in just twelve minutes. The result of the ships rapid demise is the inability of the U. S. Navy to confirm the attack or be aware of the survivors helpless predicament. They are forced to drift in shark-infested waters for nearly five days before an aircraft spots a large oil slick and a full scale rescue is launched. The USS Bassett is among the first ships to arrive on the scene shortly after midnight on August 3, 1945. They immediately deploy their Higgins Boats to retrieve the survivors and William Van Wilpe volunteers to help with the rescue. The small boats struggle through ten-foot swells a thick layer of surface bunker oil. But that is not all they have to contend with. The survivors are surrounded by schools of sharks whose daily feeding frenzies have steadily depleted their numbers. Seeing the difficulty of pulling the survivors onto the Higgins Boats in the ten foot swells, 19 year old Gunners Mate, William Van Wilpe ignores the shark fins and dives overboard to gather the survivors and boost them up to the boat crews. On several occasions during the rescue, his Van Wilpes shipmates witness him perform incredible feats of bravery and physical endurance. Van Wilpe is not the sole hero among the Bassett rescuers, but certainly the most notable. The USS Bassett is credited with rescuing 152 of the 317 survivors, countless of them by Van Wilpes daring rescue. During the early stages of the rescue, a contentious altercation occurs between the Captain and several of his officers aboard the deck of the USS Bassett. In the aftermath, hard feelings result in the injustice of zero citations being awarded for heroism, although many are truly deserving. The ugly episode aboard the USS Bassett is essentially covered up by the Navy and forgotten. Van Wilpe reveals the details of those tense moments aboard the deck of the Bassett to the author, Tom Balunis in a 2007 interview. After returning home from the war, Van Wilpe chooses to remain silent over his involvement in the USS Indianapolis rescue. No one in his home town of Wanaque, NJ is aware that he is a bona-fide hero, including his parents who go to their grave without ever learning of their sons heroism. Decades pass until one day by coincidence, the local high school librarian discovers Van Wilpes referred to as a hero in a book about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The discovery leads to an all-out effort by the Wanaque VFW to petition the Navy for a medal for Van Wilpe. Obtaining a medal for heroism turns out to be far more difficult then imagined and the VFW enlists the help of Wanaque Councilman and the books author, Tom Balunis. Balunis is successful, but not without great trials and tribulation. The Navy finally awards William Van Wilpe with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism in 2005, 60 Years Later. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781432718312

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