Men and Women of Bell County in WWII: USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Seaman 2nd Class Mikeska, Willie Wodrew (8422945). Born 1 Jan 1920 in Bartlett, TX. Son of Joe and Blanche Alexena (Blad) Mikeska. Enlisted in the Navy 2 Oct. 1943. Joined the crew of the USS Indianapolis 21 Dec 1943.

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Meissner, Oscar August (6254451). Born 2 Oct 1921 in Bartlett, TX. Son of August and Mary E (Sturm) Meissner. Married Attie Marie Hensley 10 Jan 1947. Entered Navy 25 Aug 1942. Assigned to USS Indianapolis 19 Apr 1943 as part of the Aviation Unit. Transferred to the Naval Air Technical Training Center, Chicago 25 Nov 1944.

The Taylor Daily Press 19 Aug 1942

Oscar Meissner Obituary

Oscar August Meissner died April 27, 2017.  He was born in Bartlett on Oct 2, 1921 to Mary and August Meissner.  He attended German-English School one mile north of Bartlett and graduated from Bartlett High School in 1940. He worked for James Bailey Chevrolet until joining the Navy in 1942.  While in the Navy, he served aboard the USS Indianapolis in the Pacific, achieved the rank of Aviation Machinist Mate First Class and received five Battle Stars.   Just prior to the Indianapolis sinking by torpedoes, Oscar was transferred to Chicagoattend an additional aircraft school.  Oscar was joined in marriage to Attie Marie (Toots) Hensley in 1947.  Returning from the Navy in 1946, Oscar returned to work at James Bailey Chevrolet for 10 months and then Naiver Bros Dodge/Plymouth until 1949 when he opened Oscar’s Motor Clinic & Auto Supply.  He retired in 2002. Oscar attended the University of Texas for teacher training, Temple Junior College with an associate degree in Mid-Management and also an associate degree in the Arts and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor for business law.   Oscar was a substitute teacher in Auto Mechanics at Temple Junior College.  Oscar was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 59 years, two children, Mary Sue Meissner and Oscar A Meissner Jr and his daughter Glenda Thornton Fry.  Survivors include son-in-law Edward C Fry of Bartlet; two grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and one great-great grandchild. 

At midnight 30 Jul 1945 the Japanese submarine I-58 (left photo) spotted the Indianapolis on its way to Leyte. Six torpedoes were fired into the Indianapolis, sinking the ship. Approximately 1196 sailors and marines crewed the Indianapolis, of that number only 316 survived their wounds, shark attacks and dehydration. They remained in the water for five days before being spotted by an American plane.

The Captains: Hunter and Prey