In Memory of
Seaman, 2nd Class
Russell William Bruce
Redfield, South Dakota
Spink County
September 2, 1927-July 30, 1945
Killed in Action on the USS Indianapolis

Russell William Bruce

Russell William Bruce was born at Red Oak, Iowa on September 2, 1927.  He was the son of Edward F. and Stella Bruce. He had a brother, Roy Bruce. His father died when he was only 14 years old in Sioux City, Iowa.  The family moved to Redfield, South Dakota, and he attended the Redfield High School. He was a member of the local Boy Scout Troop.

Russell entered the service in Omaha, Nebraska on February 5, 1945.  He went to Nebraska to join the service because he was underage and could not register in South Dakota at the time.  He was stationed on the USS Indianapolis cruiser, which was going to the Philippines from Guam.

On July 30, 1945, two under-water explosions occurred and the Indianapolis filled quickly with water through the gaping holes on the underside of the cruiser.  Within fifteen minutes, the ship sank.  Seaman Russell Bruce was lost at sea. On September 24, 1945, Mrs. Bruce received the following telegram, “It is with great sorrow that I, as Commanding Officer of the USS Indianapolis, write to you concerning your son, Russell William Bruce, Seaman second class, United States Navy, who lost his life as a result of the sinking of the Indianapolis.”  The telegram continued, “Nothing that I can say will lighten the burden which is yours at this time, but I do want you to know that your son had done his part in the team work which made the INDIANAPOLIS an efficient fighting unit of the fleet.  Very sincerely, Charles B. McVay III, Captain, U.S. Navy.”

Russell Bruce was not yet 18 years old. He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.

Brittany Williams, 9th grade, Conde High School, Conde, South Dakota, February 13, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by Gordon Gavin, Rapid City, South Dakota, the Redfield Press and the bonus records.