Sub's sail could surface in memorial on Canal
By Jeff Swiatek
The Downtown Canal might get a new military memorial: the 60-ton sail of the decommissioned USS Indianapolis nuclear attack submarine.
The Indiana War Memorials Commission outlined plans Monday to install the sub's sail, previously called a conning tower, on vacant land next to the existing memorial to the cruiser USS Indianapolis.
The commission hopes the Navy will donate the 17-foot-high sail from the sub, which was active from 1980 to 1998 and is now mothballed in Puget Sound in Washington state waiting to be scrapped.
To pay to truck the sail to Indianapolis in three pieces and turn it into the centerpiece of the new memorial, the commission is trying to raise $100,000 in donations this year.
"We want this to be a classy operation, something everybody can be proud of. It's something we are dedicated to do," Brig Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin, the commission's executive director, said at a meeting of the Canal stakeholders and Canal and White River State Park District Coordinating Committee.
The commission will ask the city to donate a 115-by-75-foot chunk of land along the canal for the new memorial. No city money will be sought to pay for the project, Goodwin said.
The commission would maintain and provide security for the sub monument, as it does for the memorial to the World War II cruiser, he said.
The commission already owns the control room from the submarine. It's installed in the Indiana War Memorial, at 431 N. Meridian St. The Navy soon might also donate the sub's periscope, Goodwin said.
The new canal memorial could include part of the 360-foot-long sub's hull, as well, said Bob E. Smiley, state commander of Submarine Veterans of World War II, who is chairman of the project to set up the sub memorial.
Julia Watson, a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Downtown Inc., said the submarine memorial sounds like "a nice enhancement" to the Canal.
The city of Indianapolis had its name on three military ships, Smiley said. The third was a cargo vessel