MURPHY HONORS FATHER CONWAY IN CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

Murphy: “The legacy of Father Conway continues to inspire his family, fellow sailors, and the people of Connecticut.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday honored LT Rev. Thomas M. Conway, a Waterbury resident and American hero who sacrificed his life to care for fellow sailors after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, during World War II. Murphy placed a statement in the Congressional Record honoring Father Conway on what would have been his 110th birthday. 

“Father Conway, as chaplain, disregarded his own safety by swimming back and forth among the men, administering aid, helping to gather those who had drifted from the mass of survivors, and continuing to minister and organize group prayers. His heroism gave comfort to the dying and helped save the lives of the 321 sailors who were rescued from the sea,” wrote Murphy. “The legacy of Father Conway continues to inspire his family, fellow sailors, and the people of Connecticut. That is why next month, in recognition of his birthday, we pause to reflect upon and celebrate his courageous actions. His selflessness and bravery are the epitome of an American hero.”

The full text of Murphy’s statement is below:

Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, today I wish to honor the life and legacy of a World War II hero: LT Rev. Thomas M. Conway, born April 5, 1908, in Waterbury, CT. Father Conway, who was born 110 years ago next month, was an American hero who, after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35), went from lifeboat to lifeboat in shark-infested waters to care for his fellow sailors in a manner far above the call of duty.

The courage of the brave men who served on the USS Indianapolis, who delivered critical parts to the first atomic bomb used in combat, helped bring about the end of World War II. After their mission was complete, they were intercepted on their way to join with the rest of the Pacific fleet for the invasion of mainland Japan. Two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck the Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, sinking the battleship and immediately killing 300 of the 1,196 sailors

aboard. The remaining 900 sailors were left to fend for their lives in  the shark-infested Pacific, spending 3 days with few lifeboats or supplies and no way to notify the Navy of their peril.

Father Conway, as chaplain, disregarded his own safety by swimming back and forth among the men, administering aid, helping to gather those who had drifted from the mass of survivors, and continuing to minister and organize group prayers. His heroism gave comfort to the  dying and helped save the lives of the 321 sailors who were rescued from the sea. Father Conway's acts of bravery took a physical toll, and he succumbed to the elements shortly before rescuers arrived. As one surviving sailor said of Father Conway, ``He was the most visible person keeping the men together, giving them hope and sacrificing himself to keep his fellow sailors united, calm, and alert.''

The legacy of Father Conway continues to inspire his family, fellow sailors, and the people of Connecticut. That is why next month, in recognition of his birthday, we pause to reflect upon and celebrate his courageous actions. His selflessness and bravery are the epitome of an American hero.

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