Hupka shares memories as baker on the U.S.S. Indianapolis

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By Ann Wickett

“I think it’s great they found it. It’s been talked about for years,” said Clarence Hupka, upon hearing that the wreckage of the U.S.S. Indianapolis was found in the North Pacific Ocean on August 19, by the R/V Petrel, a research vessel owned by Paul G. Allen. It was located about 5,500 meters below the surface. Clarence Hupka, who currently resides at Ridgeview Towers in Tecumseh, is one of 19 living survivors left out of 317 survivors who swam in oily waters among the sharks for six days before they were discovered by a helicopter pilot, after the U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk in 12 minutes.

Hupka, a native of Cook, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in October of 1942. He served on the U.S.S. Indianapolis for 2 ½ years as a cook and baker. He attended training for cook and baker’s school in Wisconsin where he received a third class rating. In 1943, he received additional training in Kodiak, Alaska before boarding the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Shortly after going aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis, Hupka received a second-class rating as a baker. He ended up as a first class baker in the bakery shop and galley. One of the officers tried to talk him into becoming Chief Baker, but Hupka did not accept that ranking.


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