USS Indianapolis discovery brings closure for SW Kan. family

Published: Aug. 24, 2017 at 4:33 PM CDT
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After 72 years, a southwest Kansas family gets the closure they've sought for decades.

Toward the end of World War II in July 1945, a Japanse submarine sunk the ship.

The USS Indianapolis was found last week in the Philipines Sea, bringing closure to a family in Bloom, a Ford County town of fewer than 50 people.

Over the years, Debbie Smith and her family have collected pictures, articles and Navy badges of her great uncle, Lyle Herbert Donald, who served aboard the USS Indianapolis.

One special item they hold is a letter Donald's mother wrote to him on July 30, 1945, the day the ship sank.

"It's interesting to go back and look at all this stuff and think, 'your family member had a part in this,'" Smith says. 'Your family member was on that ship.'"

Seventy-two years later a chapter ends for Donald's family, but the history will remain for generations to come.

"...It just kind of puts peace over everything, you know," Smith says.