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Pasket, Lyle M.

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Lyle M. Pasket was born on 17 August 1927 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from high school in 1945 and immediately enlisted in the US Navy. After Basic Training, he was assigned in June to the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), then in San Francisco for repairs. In mid-July, the Indianapolis left on a top secret mission, the transport from the US mainland to Tinian Island, in the South Pacific, of the first atomic bomb. After successfully completing this mission, the Indianapolis sailed for the Philippines; underway, just after midnight on 30 July 1945, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank in just twelve minutes. Lyle and almost nine hundred of the crew of more than 1100 survived the sinking, but due to communications problems naval search vessels were not dispatched to search for the crew. More than three days passed before an American aircrew sighted some survivors floating in the Pacific; by this time, more than five hundred sailors had succumbed to thirst, exhaustion, and shark attack. Lyle was one of just 317 men ultimately rescued from one of this country's worst naval tragedies. Lyle's recovery took more than six months; he spent several weeks on Guam at a naval hospital, then was transferred to facilities at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Chicago. Physically healed, he was subsequently stationed to the Philippines, where he remained from 1946 until his discharge in 1948. Lyle joined the Naval Reserve after discharge and was called to serve during the Korean War. After his Navy years, Lyle worked as a mechanic at Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis until his retirement in 1985. He and his wife resided in Bloomington, Minneapolis, from the 1950s to the 1970s, then in Eagan, Minnesota, where this interview was conducted.


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Lyle Pasket - Transcript.pdf (764 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Lyle Pasket