Indiana University to celebrate USS Indiana prow at Saturday's football game
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University will dedicate the prow of the World War II battleship USS Indiana in a ceremony before IU takes on Navy at this weekend's football game.The invitation-only ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium's Henke Hall of Champions on Saturday, Sept. 7. Speakers include IU President Michael A. McRobbie, Sen. Dan Coats, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Todd Young, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Col. Alan Pratt, commanding officer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.
IU Trustees MaryEllen Bishop and Patrick Shoulders are also expected to attend the ceremony, as are Vice Adm. Michael Miller, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, and Kirk White, IU's assistant vice president for strategic partnerships and military liaison for the Office of the President.
The ceremony is open to the media. Members of the media interested in attending who do not already have credentials should contact Mark Land with IU Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-322-9016 by noon Friday, Sept. 6.
Indiana University will also publicly celebrate the prow's dedication in several ways.
The USO Show Troupe will perform from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the prow at Memorial Stadium's west entrance, while other USO volunteers will hand out stickers and answer questions about the battleship.
Fans in the stands will see a short video about the prow following the first change of ball possession after the game's 6 p.m. kick-off. They will also see a live video image of McRobbie, guests and USS Indiana crewmembers, widows and family members sitting in a special section at the stadium.
"IU's Memorial Stadium stands as an enduring tribute to the sons and daughters of Indiana who have honored their country through military service for nearly 200 years, and as a somber reminder of the ultimate sacrifice many of those from Indiana have made in the name of freedom," McRobbie said. "So, it is especially appropriate that the prow of the storied USS Indiana now joins the guns and mainmast from that great ship as permanent fixtures at the stadium and at the university, which like this ship, proudly bears the name of our state."
"I am honored to be a part of the rededication ceremony of this great memorial," Secretary of the Navy Mabus said. "It commemorates not just the service of men and women of the Greatest Generation who fought to protect and defend our country during World War II, but the service of all men and women from Indiana who have answered the nation's call and made our military the most powerful force in the world."
The last ship to be named for the Hoosier state, the USS Indiana served in the Pacific during World War II. A collector of Navy memorabilia saved the prow -- the front portion of the ship -- from being scrapped, and the university acquired it earlier this year. It has been refurbished, and is now on display outside Memorial Stadium's west entrance alongside the ship's mainmast and two of its gun mounts that were gifted to the university by the Navy in 1966.
A 35,000-ton South Dakota class battleship, the USS Indiana was commissioned in April 1942 and earned nine battle stars for her service.