Adrian Marks, who valiantly saved the lives of 56 men during World War II, is a true hero.
The incident leading to Marks’ heroic rescue began 14 minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, in the South Pacific, when a Japanese submarine torpedoed the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Within 12 minutes, the ship sank, and 800 of its 1,196-member crew went overboard, most without life rafts.
Because the distress message failed to be sent due to an error, the Navy did not know the Indianapolis was missing. Two days later, August 2, 1945, a Ventura land-based patrol plane, piloted by William Gwinn, sighted some of the survivors. Unfortunately, it could not land and its radio antenna was tangled. The message it sent was garbled and indicated only that a life raft had been spotted. In response, Lt. Commander Adrian Marks took off in an amphibious Cataline-type patrol plane to investigate the sighting. When he spotted the survivors thrashing about in shark-infested water, Marks violated standing orders never to land an amphibious PBY in open sea. He landed the plane, and over the next several hours, he and his crew pulled 56 survivors aboard the plane. He called a ship from the Western Pacific to complete the rescue. After four and a half days in the water, only 316 members of the crew survived.
After the war, Marks joined his wife, Elta, in Frankfort, where he opened a law practice, specializing in real estate titles and deeds. He died March 7, 1998, in Wesley Manor.