They both grabbed the attention of Hunter Scott. Don’t know who Scott is? Well, have we got a story for you! Currently, he is a US Navy aviator who is reviewing scripts for a movie based on his childhood experience that began with his National History Day Competitionentry. At age 12, Scott was watching “Jaws” with his father and heard the professional shark hunter Quint talk about his experience in shark-infested waters when his ship, USS Indianapolis, sankduring World War II.
The next day, Hunter was at the library learning about the greatest disaster in US Naval history. The USS Indianapolis had just delivered the parts for the first operational atomic bomb to the island of Tinian, and was heading out to the Leyte Gulf to join other ships preparing to invade Japan. On the way, she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Of the 1,196 sailors on board, only 900 made it off the ship. After five days in shark-infested waters before being rescued, only 317 men survived. Captain Charles McVay was court-martialed on two vague charges: culpable inefficiency in the performance of his duties and negligently endangering the lives of others.
Fifty years after the sinking of the Indianapolis, something did not ring true to Hunter and he started a 2-year process of interviewing the ship’s 150 surviving crew members and reviewing over 800 documents. Scott petitioned Congress to take another look at the Captain’s court-martial. He and members of the Indianapolis Survivors Organization were invited to testify before Congress, which resulted in the passage of a Congressional resolution signed by President Bill Clinton in October 2000 exonerating Captain McVay. Hunter’s story about the Indianapolis is retold in a book by Pete Nelson, “Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis.” Warner Bros. bought the rights to the story and is going to produce a feature film of it.
Along with Glenn H. Curtiss, Hunter isa prime inspiration for the Curtiss Explorers Program, a joint educational venture of the Curtiss Mansion and All Angels Academy. The Program teaches students in the 6th-8th grades to effectively explore the past to benefit the future by discovering and introducing or re-introducing our nation’s unsung heroes and (s)heros to the world.
Hunter made a special guest appearance at the Explorers’ annual awards program and encouraged the students to never underestimate the power and influence that one person can have in turning a wrong into a right. He encouraged the parents to become “dream builders” by being there for their children and helping to build bridges to success.
Hunter Scott is truly an inspiration and most definitely an honorary Curtiss Explorer. Thank you, Hunter!