Franklin (CV 13) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1946

Page 1 of 148

 

Franklin (CV 13) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Cover
Cover



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Text from Pages 1 - 148 of the 1946 volume:

BIG BEN THE FLAT TOP The Story of the U. S. S. FRANKLIN CV-13 □ □□ □ □□ DO DO ana CD 1 ■? BIG BEN THE FLAT TOP The Story of the U.S.S. FRANKLIN all rights reserved Albert Love Enterprises 1090 Capitol Avenue Atlanta. Georgia ReprintedBy ' TheUSS FranklinCV13 MuseumAssoc Inc " 1990 i;o the Memorg oftht ©Ificcrs and Men ttiho laid dottin their lioes for their countru ttihile serving aboard the B.3. JFranklin Wt the Jformer Shipmates igaji i:ribute as shipmates toe appreciate their sacrifice because toe toere close to them toe toorked side bu side toith them entered combat toith them feared and laughed and grotoled toith them toe praued toith them l ence shall toe altoaus retiere the memoru of their sacrifice Man their Souls Kest in peace Joseph TC. 0 ' £allahan, 3. J. KILLED IN ACTION Victor F Abate, RI1M2C Allen R, Burkhamer. S2C William V Dennis. 21 B Anthony C Gixilcski. WT3C 1 LKI. Ruben E Ahcll, Ji Eugene W Bui roughs, S2C Philip G. Detingcr. AMMIC Jack 1 Goctz C.crald R. Ackcrman. SM.IC Wiilard H Burton, SIC Raymond F, Dcsmanas. SIC Mitchell A, Golden. SIC Harm K Adkins, S2C George D Bush, S2C John R Deuel. RDM3C Ellas J. Goldsmith. S2C 1 uihcr V Adkinson. S2C George E Bu a, PHM2C Samuel T. Dcvine. AMM2C Roger A- Gooch. S2C Joaquin Aja. ACOM Edward S. Bvc kowski, S2C Michael J DePalma. SIC Paul F. Gotthck.SIC rhoma J, Akins. S2C Webber W. Callicott, RDM3C Norman Di ek. SIC Ernest O Grafton. S2C Rosario V. Albanesc, ARM3C Peter Campbell, FIC Joseph B Dougherty. S2C .lames L Graham. S2C Rov S, Albiston. SIC Joseph 1. Campiglia, RM2C Romelia J Downen. RDM3C Paul (irata. AOM3C Idward C. Albnghl, ART2C Robert F. Campora, RDM3C Albert N. Drake. S2C James M, (iraves. S2C 1 rcderick A Aldcnsio. ART3C John W. Cannon, SFIC Roben F. Dnssel. Y3C Kenneth B Gray. AOM2C It Dai id A Allen Calvin B Capell, S2C George L. Dube. S2C Oscar G (iray, S2C lames R. Allen. S2C Patsy Capobianco, S2C Richard H DulT. GMIC Joseph J. Greco. SIC Harold Alt, AMM2C Peter J. Carawlanis. RDM3C John T. Duncan. S2C Delwyn F. Greenlaw. S2C I.,awrence J Ambroselli, AMM2 C Christopher J. Carr. SIC FTJG. David R, Dunlap Robert A. Gregg. SKVIC Royd R Ames, l ' HM2C Donald D Carr. S2C Willam A. Dunlap. SKV2C Henry G. Greitner. W 1 3C Guynn 1 , Anderson. COX Joseph Carrara. Jr.. SIC Edmund E Dupras. EM3C Raymond GnfFin. SIC Henry Anderson, RDM3C Fawrence C Carstens, S2C Fuke J Durame. CPHOM Ft James R, Griswold John B. .Anderson. SIC Willam H Cartwright. S2C Joseph H fiurden. GM3C Robert J Grobarick. AMMJC Robert E. Andrews. S2C Morris E. Cruthers. F2C Benjamin M. Durrance. CSF AbrahmGroll, SIC Frank J. Angell. Jr.. WT2C Clyde M. Cason. S2C Benjamin B Dye. PRTRIC Llarryl A Grose. RMIC It Richard T. Angell Charles D. Castellucci, S2C Joseph Ebeiline. SIC Fernand J, Guidroz, S2C Charles 1, .Ashurst. STM IC Darrel F. Centers. .AOMJC Dan Edwards. Jr.. S2C Phihp W, Gwaganski. AMM2C Keyro Atanasoff, SSMB.IC Frank F, Cerra. SIC John Edwards. Sr.. SIC WiUiam J Gwin. SIC William M, Atkinson, SIC Joe Chacon. SIC Richard F Flhs. FC3C Frank J Hack. A()M3C Marcos R Baca, S2C Bliss F Chambers. SIC Melvin H Fndress. S2C Carl F Hagerstrom, GM2C John N Bachman, A0M2C Herben V Chambers. WT2C John R Epting. S2C William J Haggenv. EM3C Walter Baggett, Jr., S2C Mark Champion. CMMA Richard B Enckson. S2C James E Hall. SIC F rl R, Baker, A0M2C Kermit W. Chilcote. S2C Joseph W, Eslinger. MMIC James W, Hall. RDM2C Walter C. Baldwin, RDM3C Stanley J Chivas. RDM3C Edward Evans. AMMIC Millard P Hall, Sr., S2C Roben 1 Bamburg, F2C Frederick W, Chnstman. SIC Lloyd T. Fairchild. S2C Alben 1. Hallman, III. S2C Werner F Banicke. CSKP Cecil V Clark. S2C Norman E. Faiss. AMMJC David F. Halpin, SIC Abraham J Barbash. S2C Walter F Clark. SIC Domenic Falcone. S2C Vernon H. Hames. S2C James Barrield.AMM2C William R. Clark. S2C Olto F. Fedcwa. S2C Troy W, HamiUon. COX Fred . Barr. RMIC Richard J Clarke. SK3C John A Felmer. S2C Louis M Haney. SIC John J, Barretlo. Jr.. SIC Cletus Chbum. S2C Patnck F, Feneck. S2C James F Hanlon. S2C Joseph Barron. SF2C Earl W Clouser. AM2C Nat Ferrel. SIC Roben H Hannah. EMIC Henry A Bartlett. AMM:C Thomas W, Cobum, S2C Peter R Fiesel.Jr., RM3C Alben W Hans. AMM2C Carmelo S Bartolotla, SIC Robert Cochrane, S2C William E. Fike. AOM2C Kenneth M. Hansen. RDM3C Byron W. Barton. SIC Charles V, Codrea, RDM3C Paul M, Fineberg. AOM2C Edward Harbin. SIC Clifford E. Beane, S2C John T. Coffey. AOM3C Kenneth C. Fischer. Y2C Larrv ' C Harding. S2C Willie C Beck, S2C .America A Colatacci. SIC William W Fish. BM2C Albert D Harlow. BMIC Raymond O. Beck with, SIC Willie R Colben. S2C Ining Fishman. S2C Carl M Harmon. Y3C Bills D, Belcher, S2C Carl E, Coleman. RDM3C Thomas P Flannery.SIC James A Harper. S2C WiUiam F. Beloit. AM3C EstilV. Collins. SIC James H. Fleenor. S2C Robert D Harns. Jr., S2C Fred Bennett, AM M2C William G. Collins, AM3C Russell E, Fleming. ART3C Robert J Harnson. AOM.3C Flwood H, Berberich, F2C Valentino C. Columbo. S2C John H, Fluhr, S2C William E, Harnson. BMIC David Bert, SIC Earl N. Combs, RDM3C James A. Eorberger, SIC CIvdc M Hart. S2C Manin W Bergman, F2C James W. ConanI, RDM3C Billy G. Forbes, S2C John J Hart. SIC Philip A. Berkowil?, COX James H Conlon, S2C TTiomas P. Ford, Jr., S2C Thomas Harte. EM2C Charles E Berringer, Jr , FIC Charles C Conner. AMMIC Donald W Forsyth, YIC Ft Philip E Hathaway Walter P Bigusiak, RMIC Ihomas J Cook. SIC Thomas A. Foster. S2C David M. Hatton.Jr., ' s2C Mark D Bingaman, VIC Willord W, Cooprider. S2C Nathan L. Fourroux. GMIC 1 owell Hawthorne, SIC William H. Birchall, Jr., FIC Walter V. Copeland. AOM3C Cecil E. Fonts. S2C Doddrid E Haves, S2C Clarence J, Blair, CM3C Odis L Corbctl. ACOM Edmund E, Fowler. SIC William R. Hayes, S2C Raymond D Blair, CPRTR Edward Correia. SIC LCDR, George W Fox Theodore P Hendncks, S2C Ray M, Blanchard, Jr., AM2C Thomas W. Cosson. EMIC Rosano Frangiamore, SIC Evan R. Henncks, S2C Warren H Blankenship. AM IC Roland R. Courcy, S2C Harry J, Freund, GM3C Archie 1 Henson, S2C William C. Blanton. MIIS3C Radford S. Coward, S2C Donald C, Fnend. AMM2C Everett E Herelord. SIC Fester R Blosh. AMMIC John F, Cox, SIC Roben E. Froehly, CRT Willard W Hcrken, AMIC Arthur F, Bobo. S2C Walter B. Cox, S2C James F. Frost, SIC George N. Hermant , F2C Morris Bochenek. SK2C Wayne F, Cox, SIC AlfordC. Gaddy, AMM2C Thomas C. Herrod, S2C George M, Booth. S2C Herman N. Criswell, S2C MichaelJ. Galbo. SIC William G, Highfield, BMIC .Anthony V Bosco. SIC Paul B, Cronin, SSML3C SylveslerL. Galles. EMIC Franklin H. Hill, EM3C .lohn W Bowen. S2C Grant A Crook, SIC Wallace Galloway. SIC Robert Hillas, ARMIC Edward J Boyd. FIC Donald F. Cross, AM M2C Charles A. Garber. A0M.3C Ferren B Hinds, AOMIC Fhomas L. Brasel. S2C Ciraham Y Crossley, SIC Bernard J. Garland. S2C Rhudv 1 Hinkle, AMM2C Roben C Bresnahan. SIC Stanley F. Dallon, A0M2C Edgar P. Garon. FIC Harold W Hit eman, AMM. C Edmond E Breton. S2C Ernest E Damico, AMM3C Alben C. Geiger. S2C Calvm H Hocanson, S2C Floyd N, Brown. MM3C William M. Danforth, AOM2C Herbert Geller. PHM3C Anthony Hoffman, S2C John E, Brown. AOM2C John FJarjany, CEM Donald Gerard. SIC SamuelHofl man, ACOM John F, Brown. Y2C Rolland P Datzman, Y3C Willnd J. Gibeau, S2C John Hogrogian, S2C John Brown. Jr.. CEM Clarence F. Davidson. AM3C Edward J Gibson, AOMIC Frednck F, Holdsworth, AM2C Thomas F Brown. BMIC Everett E Davidson, MM3C Roben G Giffen, SIC Velvin W Holland, SK2C Earnest V Br ant. S2C Arthur F. Davis. S2C LTJG. William R, Gilfillan Laverne A. Horton, Jr., SK2C Everett Brvant. Jr . RDM2C Frank F Davis. SIC Ray A. Gill, S2C Jack A Huddle, SIC Clarence E Buckley. SIC Roy E Davis. S2C Erie J Gillenberg, FMIC Grady Hudson, STM2C Edwin C, Buescher. EM3C James R Delap. PHM3C Cloth , Gilhs. AOM3C ,lames E. Hudson. SCIC Ft, Victor C Buhl Roy F De Uy. S2C William F, Gilmore, ACMM Willard D Hughes. HC Willard D, Bulson. S2C Carmine Del Sole. SSMB2C Loren a D, Gilstrap. S2C .lohn H, Hummel. F2C Elwood B Bumbaugh. MM3C George .1. E)emoleatsos. S2C .lacob Gindi. S2C Georges Hurd. SIC Harold Burke. S2C Edwin J Dempsey. SIC Clarence O. Gleason. S2C Anthony G. Ingelido. SK2C Jackson P Burket. RDM3C Lawrence B Dcndinger. SSMF3C Alan F. C.oble. AFM2C Duane F li vin, S2C KILLED IN ACTION (CONT.) Thomas Jackson, ST M 1 C Lawrence H Mardis, PHOMIC Richard D. Patterson, S2C Hughlin H, Smith, Jr., S2C William L. Jackson. CPHM Paul J. Marino, AOMIC Raymond H. Paugh, CEM Ralph V. Smith, PHMIC Harold G. Jacobsen, S2C Earl J. Mamn, SIC Francis J. Paulson, AMM2C Thomas G. Smith, S2C Henry Jalufta. AOMIC J. C. Mamn, S2C Raymond F. Peck, SIC Victor N. Smith, SIC Carl L James. S2C John J. Martyn, S2C Jack S. Pendleton, AM3C Francis .A. Snodgrass, AMM IC Esteen James. S2C Felix McAbee, BM Morns Perlman, RM3C John W. Snyder, Jr., SIC Fredrick W. Jerdo. S2C Donald E. McCauley. S2C Arthur E. Perreault, F2C Robert E. Snyder, FIC Aiidles E Johnson. S2C James F. McCloskey. PHM3C Phines J, Perry, PTR3C Raymond H. Sokolowski, SIC James B- Johnson. Y2C Robert F. McCracken. F03C Laddie E. Peterek, ARM3C Demetreos C. Solovicos, S2C James E. Johnson. S2C Eugene D. McDonald. MM3C LTJG. Allan J. Peterson Oscar W. Songer, FIC George R. Johnston. AOM3C Havard McDonald. STMIC John M. Peterson, S2C Robert J Soukup, SIC Virgil E. Johnston. RDM2C Julian McDulTie. S2C Wiliam M. Pewiil, AMM2C Joseph Sozzi, AMM3C Howard G. Jones. TM3C Charles S. McGarrv. SIC Michael Pidanic, SIC Roy N . Spam, S2C Bernard W. Joslin. SIC Leonard McGlone. ' jr.. FC3C Samuel Piel, CMMA Peter J. Spalluto, FIC Thomas K. Joyner. S2C Robert E. McGonigal. S2C Claylon A. Pike, SIC John T. Sparks, S2C Charles E. Kai. S2C John J, McGuigan. AOM3C James J. Pipolo, SIC Ollie 0. Spears, CM3C Eorrest E, Karr, SIC LTJG- Thomas R. Mclntyre Richard C Plaggerman, RDM2C Shelby Speck, SK2C Joseph T. Kar atsky, HAIC Howard P. McKenzie. SIC Robert V. Plymptom, F2C Albert B. Spitzkopf, SIC Howard H. Keener. S2C John A. McMullan. S2C LT. Arthur A. Poat, Jr. Chester K. Sprague, FIC Claude Keeney. Jr.. GM3C Roger D. McWilliams. PHM3C William S. Polansky, S2C Ernest C. Sprowl. AOM3C Richard G. Kelley. EM3C Ellis E. Meeks. GM2C Walter E. Pollick, S2C LT. Fred L. Stalcup. Jr. Thomas C. Kelley, SIC Peter Mekus. Jr , RDM3C Paul Pollock. EMIC Pete Stallings. S2C Joseph J. Kempowic . S2C Celido G, Mendoza, Jr., AOM IC Anthony J. Pompa. S2C Harold L. Stancil. AMMIC Kenneth T. Kidd. AM3C Alfred Merchant, S2C James R. Powell. QM3C Alexander. L.Steele. SIC Ralph W Kiefel. SIC Frank H. Miller, Jr. AMM2C Douglas R. Preset. S2C James M. Steele. SIC Phihp H, Kimball. S2C George J. Miller, AOMIC Julius M. Price. Jr.. SIC Elwyn E. Stephens. S2C Waller 1. Kimmich, AMM3C Samuel A. Miller, S2C Rocco Provenzano. SIC Edward M. Stepkovitch. SIC ThomasN . Kirk, RM2C Finas A. Milligan, Jr., S2C Albert N. Pugh, S2C Dave H. Steppach, Jr.. PH0M3C Julian S, Kling, SIC Raymond Milner, GM2C Ward E Putnam. PHM2C Robert C. Stem. S2C Vernon H. Knutson,GM3C Alfonso Mintoni, MM2C Richard E. Ratzel. AMM3C Roland G. Stillman. S2C Frank P. Konopka, SIC Frtd M Mitchell, MMIC Harry E. Ray. A0M2C Theodore A. Slraub. A0M2C Emil V Kopec. ARTIC Morton J Mitlleman, MM3C Charles G. Reader. SIC John F. Streck. YIC Frank J Kopec. S2C James M. Mi.xon, Jr., S2C James E. Redmond. ART2C Walter G. Strehlow. FIC Leonard R, Krause. F2C Marvin R Mi cll. S2C WillardE. Reed, SIC Gordon Stripling. Jr.. S2C James H. Krenske. AM3C Raymond L. Moe, AOMIC Wilmer L. Reed, SIC George C Studeny. ART2C Matt J Krynski. SIC Joseph W, Mohr, AM3C John R. Reeves, S2C William A. Sutherby. SFIC Robert P. Kubala. RDM2C John V. Montagu, AOM2C Roland L. Reynolds, S2C Donald W ' , Swanson. S2C Glen W, Kuhn. SIC GarlanC. Moody, SIC Charles C. Roach, SIC Austin B. Swearingen. S2C John S. Kujawski. AMIC James T. Moore, S2C Willmore Roberts, SIC LeoS. Swiski.SIC Valentine F. Kust. SIC Joseph R. Moran, EM2C Alexander B. Robertson, SK2C Frank E. Syrek. AOM3C PaulF. Kuta. SIC Granville Morgan, FIC Thomas S. Robertson, EMIC Dwight Taylor. EM3C Franklin G. Kyrklund. SIC William E. Morgan, SIC George H Robinson, A0M2C Jay A. Taylor, AOM3C Marvin C. La Forest. PHOM2C Charles O Moseley. S2C George W. Roe, S2C LT. Volney Taylor, Jr. Leslie G. Lainson. S2C Robert G. Moslander. SIC Flden D. Rogers, S2C William J. TavJor, Jr., S2C Albert J. Lambert. MM3C LTJG. Frednck W. Mueller, Jr. James B Rogers, Jr., SM3C Vet E. Tenney, A0M2C Dwight J. Lancaster, S2C James E. Mulligan, EM2C Albert L. Routson, CTMV William A. Thomas, FIC ENS, Paul 0- Larson James P. Murphy, SIC Morris O. Sacramento, CK2C Orville W Thompson, FIC Peter Lasky, S2C Kenneth J. Myers, S2C John 1. Sadler, PTRV2C James V. Thoorsell, S2C Guy J, Laizaro, AM3C Richard V. Napiwocki, AMMIC Kenneth L. Salada, Jr., S2C Herbert S. Thorgersen, AMM2C Vernon L. Leach, S2C Clifford V. Nelson, S2C George A. Salerno, SIC Marshall Thornton, S2C Philip R. Leake, Jr., S2C Donald E. Nelson, SIC James W. Sanderbeck, FC3C Leo Toomaian, F2C Anthony S. Leanza, F2C Robert R Nelson, SIC Christopher C. Sanders, Jr.. S2C Louis A. Toro. S2C Bernard J. Lea y, SC2C William L. Ness, GM2C Gabnel L. Santiago. Jr.. S2C Michael A. Towev, RDM2C Tilben R. Ledbetter, CBM Norben J. Neudorf, S2C George B. Saunders. Jr.. AM3C Carl B Trager, S2C Robert E. Lee, SIC Henry J. Neukam, ACOMA Joseph F. Saunders. SIC Johnny Tremonte, PRIC James W. Lee. GMIC Harry E. Newman, Jr., RMIC Arthur E, Schelle. S2C Frank J Tnano, S2C Russell H. Lehnoff, S2C Charles P. Newton, COX Andrew J. Schmidt. EM2C Pasquale Trivisonno, SIC Raymond E Lennon, EMIC Eugene P. Newton, CHOMM George R. Schroder. S2C Joseph F- Trombino, S2C Charles E. Leslie, AOMIC Harr W. Nicholas, SIC Melvin H. Schreifels, S2C Ralph G. Trotter, SIC Chester R. Lewis, S2CC Peter H. Nicholas, SIC Arthur W. Schultz. S2C Edwin S. Trzepacz, AMM2C Evan M. Lewis, Y2C John S. Ninos, RDM3C Howard F. Schwartz. SIC Michael J. Tschida, S2C Fred A Liddell, SIC Joe E. Norman, HAIC William P. Schweitzer. RDM3C Herman Tucker, SMML3C Johnnie Lindsay, SIC Robert W. North, AOM3C James V. Scott, S2C Clarence E. Tyler, FIC Henry F. Linebarger. COX Horace J. Norwood. YIC William J. Sear. Jr.. SIC Robert C. Ltterback, SIC George J. Lingham, AOM3C William R. Nutick. S2C Clifford R Sefned, S2C Francis J. Vamos, RTIC Dock Little, AMM2C John R O ' Connell S2C Richard L. Seidler, AMM3C Charles M. Van Camp. AOM3C John R. Utile, S2C Norman G. Ogden. S2C George Seivwnghi, Jr., .AOM IC Ralph D Van Etten, SIC George R. Loftus, SIC William J O ' Hara. SF3C Joseph 1. Serpe, S2C Russell E. Vasev, TMV3C John R. Logue, COX Orville K. Oliver, ACM M JohnT. Shaw, AMM3C Lebert W. Vaughn, SIC Charles R Long, S2C Cheater O. Orcndorff, S2C Gerald A. Shea, ART2C Charles E. Venable, SMIC Wiley H. Love, Jr., S2C Robert N Orr, SFIC James M. Shealy, EM3C Earl K. Vincent, RDM3C William F. Loviit, AOMIC FranklvnG, Ory, AMM3C Leon G. Shebloski. Jr.. S2C Alvin L. Voss, SIC James L. Lown,-, SIC Herbert J Ott, SIC James J. Shcehan, COX Frank J. Waggoner, F2C Santos D. Lucas, ST3C Warren H, Ousley, EMIC Grady W ' . Sheppard, ACM Gong W. Wah, S2C Warren P. Lucas, S2C Donald E, 0 erlin, F2C Christian G. Shireman, S2C Harrv R Wall, SIC John Luchik, Jr., CSKP Elwin A, Owen, FIC James J. Short, SIC Phihp M.Walsh, SIC Edward F. Lukoski, AMM3C Tony A, Ozbolt, ACMM James N. Shreve. S2C Henry S. Walters, F2C Guy Lyon, PHM2C RobenG. Palmer, SIC Paul E. Simard, SIC Stanley R. Walton, SIC Harrison A. Mackenzie, AMM3C Lewis J, Parise, SIC Omer D. Simms, SIC Howard J Warner, S2C John F. MacUne, ACOM Boney B. Parker, Jr, SIC Donald E. Simpson, S2C Joseph S Wead, S2C Joseph A. Mangina, SIC Fred L. Parker, S2C Robert W. Slaylon, SIC Earl r. Webb, S2C James W. Mann, S2C Johnnie F. Parsley, SIC James R. Smilev, SIC Murrel H. Webb, PRTRIC Robert C. Mansur. S2C James F, Patterson, SC2C Harold L. Smith, ARM3C William M. Weeks. ARM2C KILLED IN ACTION (CONT.) George i- W ' cidcnbachcr, S2C Robert W Bogert, AMM3C John Natysvn, AOMIC CORP Walter A Sandy George M, Welcome, MM3C F 1 . Milton J. Bonar Gerald L.Nold. Jr.. Y.3C FSGI Charles J St I.aurent .lamciE. Wells. SIC Henry F. Borja, ARMIC Raymond A, Pagel. ACRT SCil Francis J. Stinson, Jr I I , .John V-. Weniger FJJG Richard H Bridge LI JC; John F Pcnner CORP Ralph W. Ihompson Samuel I-, West, AMM.IC LFKi Robc-rl F Brooks FT James R Rickard S SG I Robert W. Tucker Howard C Whtallcy. SIC ENS IhomasB Brooks. Jr. Clarence F. Rilter. ACRM PFC Joseph W Wixson Vergil D, Widcner. MUS2C Waller Brooks. Jr. ARMIC Gene E Smith. RPIC Dennis C Wilkerson. PHM IC William B Butlei, ARM2( Frank .A, Stepanek. YIC Clyde H. Williams, sr2C Robert D Chandler. ARM2C Howard 1. Stone. AOMIC John E. Williams, SIC LUG Richard H Clive Stanley W. Tumosa, CAP Leslie A. Williams, AM MIC L I . Raymond B. Cook Eugene V Upton. Jr.. AOM IC l.ibcn C, Williams. GM.K ' ENS. Norman E. Drouin Robert E Wakefield. ARM3C William E. Williams, RDM.1C ENS. Chris N. Gibbs LJ George R. Watkins Viclor W, Wise, SIC LI , John H Finrow ENS Julius E. Watson Walter J. Wise, (iM2C Andrew E Harlin, AMIC Kenneth I. Wcslbv. AR FlC William Witkowski, SIC James L. Hatt, ARM3C ENS Wilmon P. Wheeler .lohnS. Wolak. Jr.. AOM2C LJ JG. Joseph L. Heinrich David A. Wilkinson. ART2C Howard 13 Woodard, S2C Walter D. Hevev, AOM3C Louis A. Willelt. PR3C Lonnie H. Woolard, S2C LCDR. CarlB. Holmstrom William C Yocom, PRIC Carroll G-Wnghi,SK3C LT, Ancil C. Hudson Frednck C. Yagic, COX LTJG. Harmon R Hudson Marine Squadrons VMF-214 Omer Yocum, Jr.. S2C Edward Hughes, ARM3C MISGf Rogert L Bass George A. Young, Jr . R[ M3C Benjamin I Jones, Jr., ARM3C SGI Stevens D Brown Harr Zassman, SIC FNS Robert F. Jones CAPF. Roger W. Conant Andrew J Ze ' lmski, SIC Rubc-n H. Kiiocke. ARM3C S SGT. Glenn L. Donlea Dale F Zimmerman, S2C LUG. Joseph Kopman LF. Edward W Larkin. Jr MTSGT. Truman A Grandy S, SGT. Louis R. Granaman Marine Detachment ENS. Roger W Le Strange SGT. Joseph Harlow F ' l l WillLim H Burcry Albert D. Loenthal ARM3C S SGT. Edwin W. Hill RFC Francis P Burke ENS Roben H Martin SGT, Clinton N Hitchcock RFC Joseph J, Ccrione, Jr, LI Enc Magnusson 2ND LT. Robert L Hugler PFC Edgar E Core FFJCi Donald A McPhie 2ND LT Dallas 1. Hyatt PFC Fern Davis. Jr ENS Benjamin .1 Miles TSGT Willard C Johnson PFC James F. Dillon LFJG Thomas (j. Norek CAPT. Roben M Jones PLSGT. Paul E, H Dolbier Wilham J. Olsen. ARM2C CORP. Abraham Kuperwasser PFC John H Eady Grier P Osborne. AMM3C MTSGT. Frank T. Lukasek PFC Richard E Geidl ENS. Jean P. Parent S SGI Kenneth Ci. McDonald SGI BerKn H, Goddard Leonard Pickens. ARM3C TSGT Frank G Pavlica PFC Slaniey E GixJek Francis J. Ploger. Jr.. AR M3C MTSGT, Charles E Phillips PFC Frederick F Grimm Stanley P Rajza. ARM3C SGT, Larry K Reade PFC Mario J. Maggio Ralph T Robineile. ARM3C TSGT. Harrv R. .Schlemm PFC Frank J. Mikula Harold J Shane, AOMIC S;SGT. Patnck J. Sculley PFC Clair E Oberhollzer Harry J. Steele. ARM3C TSGT. Herschel C Shropshire CORP. David W Oilman LI Rupert J Weber. Jr SGT. William M. Smith CORP. Conrad I Rovsion James D. Whitlinghill. AM MIC S SGT. Lawrence C. Stark SGT Hubert F Sims LT William H. Winecolf TSGT. Charles R Stephenson GYSGT. James W. Truax LTJG, Warren F Wolf 2ND LT. Joseph E. Stout PFC William E. Van Fleet S SGT. John N Fhompson PFC Quenlin G. Weinkaul Air Group 5 2ND LT. Oscar D Ftb.mi PFSGT James 1 Wooten Donald J Adkins. ARl IC Robert I, Baucum. ARM3C CORP. Wendell H. Williams CORP Daniel W Wright Comcardiv 2 and 4 Wiliam R Black. AOM2C MTSGT Robert F. Wunrow David Albert. SFMIC ENS Paul A, Casebeer S SGT. Dean C Young Jack C. Bachlotte. RMIC Charles C, Chelette. AOM IC Willard J Bird, Y.IC Theodore K, Dorak. ARMIC VMF-452 Robert Boyd, SI MIC ENS, Glenn E, Druhnger S SGT Earl J Auman Ernest Cage. SJ M.IC Adolf J Dusl. AOMIC CORP. George J Backalukas Carl H. Castleman. S2C LCDR Allan C Edmands TSGT, Louis Barrilleaux Hoyle V CoUrane, RMIC LFJG. David R. Evans S sen, Joseph J Bcaudrs FT. Francis J. Crowlev Lloyd E. Fairbrother. ARMIC S SGT Utah F. Bond OrvilleC Drosdal. RM3C Patrick M Finn. ARMIC MTSGT, William T, Ecker Alexander Elias. Jr.. Y2C .Mbert J Green. AMMIC SGT. Richard T Eckert Joseph Eppoleto. S2C I.TJG. Howard A. Heyman SGT. Robert E Eggleston LT. Howard P Fleming James H Hobbs. AOMIC SGT, Davis J, Fit patrick Belver H. Fullilove. S r.3C Roy N. Hute. AKM3C PFC Everett R Gastineau CAPT Arnold J Isbell Charles R Jenkins. ACRM SGT, Warren H Hagan Domenick Joe. Y3C Chester 1 Jones. .AEMIC SGT, George F Holland LT. Alfred F. Johnson Clarence C Kasch. YIC SGT, Roy C, Hoover Peter J. Katlye. Y3C Donald H Kenlield. YIC S SGT. James F. Jones Alvy F. 1 isbon, Y3C Charles G Kiiighl. YIC TSGT. Julius Kollar James O. Maz7ier. SIC ENS. Patrick C. lacey CORP Frank I Kuchyak Ernest J. Poe. SI 2C Ardell D I eit ke. ARM2C TSGJ Hubert J. I ee Homer D, Sanford.CRM I.I Myrle Leonard CORP James N Iindley Isaiah Spencer. CK IC Oscar i light. ARMIC CORP Orlan ' Marsh FT. James R. Stewart LUG, Willam W Lipscombe. Jr IS I LF. Wallace MattsField Joel A Waller. Y2C Elmer J, I.owry. AOM3C ISGI. Wallace C Mclean Keith A Webb, SM3C Gordon F Fvons. .ACMM David W. MacFeod. AOM3C SGI. John A Minichiello 2ND LI Ihomas D. Pace Air Gruup 13 ENS Charles H, McAllister CORP. John F Papaleo LUG. Marshall D Harnell. Ir, James W McNamara. ARMIC ISGI Peter Papaleo LTJG. Frednck .A Becknian. Ji Willard J Miller, ARMIC M I sen Jerry V Pavlovsky Eugene E. Black. ARM2C I F Addison F, Moore CORP Richard F Roberts LT. Clarence F, Blair ENS, Horace J, Murphy SGT. Donald R. Robenson AC K () ' Li:i)(,MEN ' r Tins BOOK is as nearly as possible an aullienlic iiistmy ol llic U.S.S. t lunklin. Tlic data was assemliled from official action reports, ship ' s records, the history of Air Group Thirteen, and from conversations with crew members. The story was i)repared by Lt. hn iii K. liuuman, U. S. N., with the advice and assistance of Mr. Paul W arrick, of Atlanta. Ga. Grateful acknowledgment for material and editorial assistance is made to many officers and men who served in the V. S. S. Franklin; in particular, to Gomdr. liichard L. Kibbe, U. S. N.. Capt. Leslie E. Gehres, U. S. N., Capt. James M. Shoemaker. U. S. N.. Capt. Joe Taylor. U. S. N.. Capt. Benjamin Moore, U S. N., Capt. F. F. Agens. U. S. N., Chief Boilermaker Robert C. Stewart. U. S. N.. Lt. Comdr. Donald A. Gary, U. S. N.. Ch. Mach. W iiliam E. Green. U. S. N., Comdr. T. J. Greene. U. S. N.. Lt. Comdr. James Moy, (MC) U. S. N., Chief Yeoman William Tyree, U. S. N., Aviation Ciiief Ordnance- man Carl Orndorff, U. S. N.. Lt. Comdr. Philip X. Walsh, ChC. U. S. N. R., and Comdr. Jose|)h CrCallahan. ChC, U. S. . R. Also to Lt. (jg) Jack Slilwill. Chief Musician H. K. ' " Saxie " ' Dowell Lt. Joseph LaRocca, and Lt. Kiiulc eidman, who are now separated from the naval service. All pictures are official U. S. Navy photograjjhs. Credit for many of them is due Chief Photog- raphers Mate Luke J. Durante, who was killed in action 19 March. 194.S. The art work, including the cover design, was pre])ared by Thomas Leo, Seaman First Class, U. S. N. R. Attempts to achieve accuracy of detail, especially in connection with individuals names, have been handicapped to a certain extent by meager records, separation of personnel from the service and partial destruction of photographic files and records during the action of 19 March, 1945. It is sincerely hoped that no grave omissions have occurred. The interest and assistance of the Commanding Officer. Comdr. H. H. Hale. U. S. N., have made this book possible. March 19th. 1946. U. S. Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N. Y. Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey FO REWO RD We who had the privilege of serring in. iinil with. th( " flat-tops " of our Navy have always knoivn llictit to he fighting ships. The story of the Frank lin is the story of one of these fighting ships: one that dealt out destruction from The Marianas to tin ' home islands of ,Jap ni: one that veritably returned from the jaws of what seemed certain destruction : their stubborn ivill to win: the inx ' riran tenacity and reluctance to give in no matter what the odds: these were the pulsating character- istics of our ships and men. characteristics that will alicays kei ' p our ictiy of life, our freedoms, inviolate. Our enemies who survived this past war trill never forget the " flat-tops " of our powerful fleets. U e nho knew these graceful ships (uid knew the men tvho fought and lived them sludl forever honor their bnncry laid ichi vements. W. F. Halsey Fleet Adniir;!! I . S. ;ivv The Franklin is launched THE FRANKLIN Marshall D. Barnett Hungry for the ocean ' s surge, for white plumes across her bow- Thirsting for a draught of oil, to snort, to roll, to plow; She doesn ' t believe in luck or omens: she is on Gods side of this war; She mothers red-blooded Americans who know what they ' re fighting for; Longing for the touch of men, someone to pull her hook; Looking for the enemy; the devils are in her book; She ' s ready to die tomorrow, if dying she can turn the tide; That men may live once more, where harmonious love abides; Grim missionary of Peace. but she is mighty full of fight; Sent out with tender touches, to set the world aright; We salute you, proud warrior of steel, with Mizpah we say adieu ; Our eyes will be on your actions; our prayers will be for your crew. Lieutenant (junior s rude) Marshall D. Barnett, U. S. A ' . R., of Bombing Squmhon Thirteen, ivas killed in action 24 October, 1944. uhilr his squadron was attacking the juixmese Second Fleet in the Sulu Sea Philippine Islands. BIG BEN THE FLAT TOP " . . . stood on the dock and set down my seabag. Then I pushed my hat hack on my head and just looked. There she was . . . my ship. No name, no planes, no bridge, no guns. Just a great, big hull — the biggest hunk of steel I ' d ever seen in my life. It looked like a floating table top. On that I was going off to fight a war ... " C H A 1 T E K ONE BIG BEN IS BORN On December 7th, 1942, the first anniversary of the stupid and infamous aggression which plunged the United States into giolial conllict, the keel was laid of the U. S. S. Frank- lin, an airjdane carrier of the Essex Class, in a graving dock of the Newjjort News Shipbuilding and Drydock Com- pany, on the shores of the Atlantic, in Virginia. Most of the lads who one of these days wouKl man the ]ilanes that would thunder across her deck into enemy skies or who would push her planes, load her bombs, fire her guns, were still in school or working at home — though a handful ot them, even now, were with a hardpressed fleet fighting for Guadalcanal, and others were off Africa, forging the steel noose which one day would throttle the men who ruled with horsewhips. But none dreamed that a ship was born that morning which they would sail and fight through one hundred and two thousand comliat miles in five major Pacific campaigns; a ship whose warbirds would send scores of Japanese ships and hundreds of Japanese planes to destruction; a ship whose bombs would sink the mighty carrier Zuiho and a dozen other warships. This was to lie the carrier on whose decks they would live through the thunder of exploding bombs with enemy planes crashing all about them, where they would fight and die to save her from a holocaust ol fire. Four times they would suffer with her in battles where the Jap broke through and from the last battle sexen hundred and four of them would sail her thirteen thousand miles and write into history the story of the most heavily damaged warship ever to reach port under her own power. Home from the very shores of Kyushu, shattered but un- daunted, eager to return and avenge her dead. These early days after the keel was laid knew not the noise of combat action, but they were far from peaceful as workmen and engineers toiled at top sjieed. under the sun and by the glare of electric lights at night, hastening the giant carrier ' s construction. It was not a simple task of providing a hull to support the eight hundred and eighty foot ilight deck . . . almost as long as three regula- tion football fields. In ten months she must be forged by master American craftsmen into almost a sentinent being, nearly 30,000 tons of warship. Her topmast would tower 150 feet above the water; the ' idth of her beam would be 106 feet; the massive flight deck would rise 60 feet above the sea. Four engines would be installed, with the power of 150,000 horses, to thrust her through the water at any speed up to 32 knots with ease, and for days on end. There musi be huge tanks for fresh water, for salt water, for fuel oil, for high-octane gasoline, lubricating oil — • great generators not only to supply enough power to light a city but also to furnish that essential force to turn the guns, swing the rudder, raise the swift ten-ton elevators which hauled the planes from hangar deck to flight deck. This power would keep radio and radar alive, run the ven- tilators, spin the fans, hoist the fifteen-ton anchors and — what was also important — cook the meals in the great modern galleys. Thirteen quadrujjle mounts of 40 mm. machine guns would bristle from her gun galleries and island structure. Forty-six high speed 20 mm. machine guns would guard her flight deck and twelve five-inch rifles would add a lethal five-mile punch to her armament. So Big Ben was born, ten months prior to her launching on October 14th, 1943, when Captain Mildred A. Mc- Afee. Director of the WAVES, splashed the traditional magnum of champagne against the massive bow and the dock was flooded to lift her gently from the chocks until she floated in the sea. Now speed became ever more vital as the 2,500 officers and men who would compose her crew were being as- sembled from all over the fighting world, as well as from more peaceful, but sweating, training bases. A carrier — first and last — is a mobile base for her war- planes; her fighters, dive-bombers and torpedo planes. All the .seemingly endless preparations, from the moment the first rivet was pounded into the keel, focused on the day when the ])laiies could thunder off the flight deck to take the skies over an enemy target. Captain James M. Shoe- maker, U.S.N., a naval aviator, now designated to be Franklin s first Commanding Officer, knew well his task and Big Ben ' s mission. Commander D. L. Day. also a naval aviator, would be Executive Oilicer: her first Air Officer. Commander Joe Taylor, had won the Navy Cross in New Guinea and had won it again as the flying commander of a torpedo plane squadron in the battle of the ( oral Sea. Then, too, the 600-odd petty officers and chief petty officers who were to be the backbone of her crew began to assemble at the Receiving Station, Newport ,News, Va, in December, 1943 — scarcely a year after her keel was laid. Practically every man of the 600 was a veteran of two years of history ' s toughest naval war. One chief water- tender had helped bring the cruiser New Orleans out of a flaming Pacific battle i n whicli her bow had been blown Captain James M. Shoemaker, U. S. N., on the Navigation Bridge asunder by enemy torpedoes; others were familiar witli the grim road to Murmansk. Some, like " Old Bean " Har- rison, came from the heroic " Old Lexington; " there were Paul and Baker who had fought on the Enterprise. Many had come from the ships that stood off the Leaches at Salerno, or from the Armed Guard ' s crews that dueled with Goering ' s Junkers in Norway ' s icy waters. Tiiese men had met the enemy in fierce engagements around the blazing world, and they knew him. Tlie 50 officers first assembled were for the most part, young reserve officers, with a sprinkling of Naval Academy men and ex-chief petty officers, but veterans all. The next step for this nucleus crew was to report to New- port, R. I., where Franklins crew would be trained for a month as a unit in the then-new Precomissioning School for Large Combatant Ships. From the day of their arrival there, December 7th, 1943, Newport Training Station was disappointing to many of the men. To them the principal mentors on this station seemed to be ancient chief petty officers of the peace-time Navy, recalled from retirement for this shore duty, who apparently did not understand that this was really a war and not the Junior Miss affair that 1918 had been from the Navy ' s standpoint. The super- regulation Gl haircuts meted out to everyone, the rigidly enforced regulations (such as no smoking on the streets, shore leave up at midnight), the general atmosphere of Newport in December, 1943, left nearly every man with a bitter feeling that was not soon forgotten. They knew this was a brief respite from sea duty and battle; it could not but rankle when they suddenly found themselves again being treated as " boots. " But the training was excellent. A carrier — $60,000,000 w orth of her — is a complex thing, requiring a lot of learning even to find one ' s way around. Using models and blueprints, skilled instructors taught every man the details of his ship. He learned how to find his place of work, the amusement center, the hospital, church, library, restaurant, sleeping quarters, and all the other factors that make a ship a sailor ' s home. Comdr. Taylor, now far from his action in the Coral Sea, frowned and fretted as he made shipshape the Air Organization Book, heart and soul of a carrier ' s plan for action. Comdr. H. S. " Speed " Cone. Supply chief, never stopped in the swift well-organized activities which were to win for his department many compliments as one of the best sup]dy jobs in precommissioning history, setting a record which remains unequalled, for Franklin s outfitting was completed in 66 days. Comdr. F. C. Agens, Engineering Department head, newly returned from the Pacific, found time from the task of readying Big Ben ' s machines, so ably started by his assistant, Lt. Comdr. T. J. Greene, to instruct even the deck watch officers in the intricate machinery they would control from ihe Bridge. Comdr. Day oversaw the huge operation and kept order forging ahead where confusion would have been so easy as to be almost excusable — even in such an epoc-making emergency as a world war. Captain Shoemaker first met his men at Newport. His introduction of himself deserves a niche not only in the annals of llic Fruuklin Iml in liistory itself. A stron{;ly- linill, cletermineil man: lilack-liaircil. in aviation greens, liis words ucrc luicf luit paikcd uitli puncli as lie ad- ilrt ' ssfd his men on a liill( ' r-c(dd day: " " Gentlemen. I liave been ordered by the Hureavi to be the first Commanding Offirer of the U.S.S. Fninklin. CV nniber Thirteen. e will put the Franklin in coinmission and bring her to the firing line faster than any carrier in history. Six months from now you will have seen what your first Jap looks like. Thirteen is my lucky number. Good hunting! " It was more than a |)romise. for it was a fact. The going was rugged at Newport but there were bright spots as well. The first day at quarters Comdr. Day intro- duced Saxie Dow ell. famous orchestra leader who was to lead Franklin ' s liand. The band, whose leader had composed " " Three Little Fishes. " " " Playmate " and other |)0|)ular songs, was popular with the ship from the start. Most members were well-known musicians in their own right: " " Jumbo. " the massive master of the tuba . . . " Red " James, the boy who did things with men " s hearts when he bore down on his trombone: Dean Kinkaid. arranger for Dorsey. The first selection that Saxie and his men played was one of his own composition. " Big Ben the Flat-top. " There may have been significance in the manner in which the words and music reveal the spirit that animated the crew of the Franklin and of every other carrier in the fighting months to come. Every man had to take swimming practice, contradicting the old and false legend that sailors are the poorest swim- mers in the world; these suinmiing lessons saved many a life in the temjtestuous days which were ahead. Fire-fighting instruction was given — another lesson which came into use on Big Ben. Gun crews studied their weapons and learned how to use them by actual firing |)raclice. Engineers studied the maze of valves, pipes, intricate wir- ing systems — together with the machinery and auxiliaries — that we re the nerves, the muscles and almost the brains of the ship. Heads of Air. Gunnery, Engineering, Communications, Damage Control, Navigation, Medical, and Supjdy Depart- ments — the whole works — sweated constantly over jjcrfect- ing the million-on-one details which must be figured down to the proverbial gnat " s eyebrow before a major warship is ready to fight, or even put to sea. " Big lien the Flat-top, mistress uj sea and sky . . . If ith every ounce oj strength we ' ll help our fighting aces fly; As from her decks those motors roar and racket out to sea We ' ll give a mighty heartfelt cheer for those wings of Victory. " Officers, men — even the men behind the bass drum and the clarinet — were already instilled with the knowledge that a carrier ' s function was to get Navy fliers in action, to get them to the spots on the ocean wastes where they could do the most damage to the enemy; and. with every ounce of energy and sacrifice, to bring them back if human effort and endurance could manage it. Saxie Dowell and the men on Big Ben knew they had the best band in the Nai y At Newport the crew had been steadily increasing. Every day brought new arrivals from naval training stations all over the nation. Some veterans were among these fresh arrivals, enough to provide a healthy leavening of ex- perience for the two thousand, five hundred and forty- four men which the top chiefs of the Navy had set down as needed for the crew of Big Ben. On January 29th, 1944, when the officers and men re- ported to Newport News, Virginia, and boarded their ship, already the nickname, " Big Ben, " had come to stay. It had simply dropped down out of thin air; no one will ever know the name of the casual genius who first used it. All Essex class carriers are named either for famous ships or famous battles, so the Bunker Hill, the Intrepid, the Hornet. The Franklin, fifth ship of her name in the Navy, was named after an eight-gun sloop of the American Revo- lution which had served her country bravely and with distinction. But that Franklin had been named for the il- lustrious Benjamin Franklin — therefore the nickname, ready-made, both respectful and affectionate. On the morning of January 31st, towed by tugs, she entered the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia. That afternoon she was placed in commission with impressive fanfare and under the official gaze of many dignitaries. The crew was drawn up on the flight deck — the Marine Guard was at attention — Big Ben ' s officers faced the plat- form which had been erected for the ceremony. The pilots of Air Group Thirteen, Big Ben " s own fliers, were pres- ent. Rear Admiral Felix Gygax, commandant of the Fifth Naval District, and Artemus L. Gates, assistant secretary of the Navy, were notable among the several hundred guests. In the wan sunshine of a winter afternoon with a chill- ing breeze, after the martial music of the band, no man who was there will ever forget the brave, solemn words of the Secretary: " This is the fifth Franklin. Her predecessors have fought and won many battles and have left a record of sea-worthi- ness and valiance which rise up before her as a challenge. She will meet that challenge. " As Secretary Gates spoke every person on that windswept flight deck remembered that far away, on distant battle- fronts, .American boys were fighting and dying. This mighty carrier would reinforce them. This crew, more boys, would soon be fighting beside them. In the end, through all the misery of war, America would triumph . . . A wave of emotion swept the gathering as Captain Shoemaker arose to accept command. " Mr. Secretary and Honored Guests: " We have followed the final stages of construction of this great ship, and know from personal observation that in a material sense she is as nearly perfect as possible. Today our Franklin becomes a unit of our Navy, and we are charged with the large responsibility of training our- selves to have complete knowledge of all the potentialities of our ship, to the end that she will soon be ready to take her place in the line of battle. " This is no easy task. The ship ' s company and the ail January 31, 1944; Big Ben ' s crew ussemlilcd for romrnissioniiii: ccrrnu ny ■ HO|to| M E 1 1 m m d 1 » J B HH|| Bi K B ■ -■ ' ■ a L H 1 Captain Shoemaker prepares to accept command, as Secretary Gates addresses Big Ben ' s crew and guests group togetlier compose the most complex combat team in the world. " Knowing this, we in the Franklin highly resolve thai the trust reposed in us shall prove to have heen well justi fied. and that our ship will join the Fleet ready in all respects to strike hard, again and again, until the enemies of this great nation shall have been beaten to their knees. ' ' The watch was set and Carrier Number Thirteen. United States Ship Franklin — " Big Ben the Flat-top " — was well on her way to the wars. C H A P T E R TWO " . . . never worked harder in my life, nor met more people. Guys who were only names on the pay list two months ago were now my buddies. On rope- yarn Sundays we ivould play acey-ducey on the focs ' l or sivap lies as we caulked-off in our bunks. But other times, it ivas drill, drill, drill . . . ' We knew every bulkhead and rivet on that big pig-iron barge like we knew the kitchen linoleum back home ... " THE SHIP THE MISSION : To seek out an d to destroy the enemy, where ever he may be. THE MEANS: Those swarms of dive- bombers an d torpe do planes and rocket-firing fighters which will soar from her decks. THE METHOD : " Keep ' em flying 9? Comdr. D. ,. Day. Executive Officer until Sept. 24th, 194 1 For nearly three weeks Big Ben lay majestically beneath the huge cranes at Pier Two in the Norfolk Navy Yard while her innermost being seethed and churned. In the mind of her Captain there was a master plan : under Comdr. Day and the firm, devoted Department Heads, it came into be- ing. From lists of names on the " atch. Quarter, and Sta- tion Bills, the divisions were born — each division with its Lieutenant, with his " jgs " and ensigns, his petty officers, each division with its Port and Starboard Watch. Men came to know their own important assignments; the faces and names of their shipmates. Each came to know his battle station and his place in fire drill, abandon-ship drill, collision drill, torpedo defense, flight quarters. He had to become familiar with the meaning of bugle calls, the boat- swain s pipe, and to accustom himself to the orders that flew through the ship over the metallic vocal chords of the " squawkboxes. " The men not only began to know their own duties, but also to realize the importance of their own divisions and, in turn, to understand how the function of each division must mesh to perfection with that of every other division if Big Ben was to become the fighting ship which every man wanted her to be. Into the master plan would fit the Engineering Depart- ment, under Comdr. F. C. Agens. ex-Bunker-Hill " Chief " , with its " M " or machinery division that lived with, tended, and loved the mighty engines; with its " A " division to groom and pamper the many auxiliaries necessary that those engines might run; its " B " division, keepers of the four giant firerooms with their boilers: the " E " division to tend the river of electricity from its throbbing source in the huge main generators down to the last rivulet entering some re- mote light. All so that Big Ben might come up to 28 knots and into the wind, and the captain could give the word " Commence Launching " ' , and those Helldivers and Avengers could roar down her deck and into the sky. Or so that she might steam swiftly through the stormiest waters with her sister carriers to l)last an enemy liase and tlieii lade lac k into the ocean mists from which she liad come. In that last, desperate moment, wheti the l() " s are harkinf; and the 20 ' s commence to open in a wild staccato, and tlii ' captain shouts his commands, then the Kiifiineeriiif Depart- ment would he ahle to live up to its hoast and its creed: " We answer all bells. " The ; ■ heiiiy men lik " " Poi) " Tur- ner, watertender first class, who looked too old for comhat duty, hut actually was 50 years young, and would have nothing hut the toughest for himself. He went forward, that fateful March 10th and won the Bronze Star. Men like Esslinger, Mintoni, Hummel, Brown, Darjany, and hosts of others gave their life ' s blood that a thing of steel .should answer all bells. R-One Division and R-Two Division of the Damage Con- trol Department, under Comdr. W. R. LeFavour, who had only recently been a submarine commander, soon acquired the air of haughty efficiency which was to characterize them. Custodians of the holds and voids, ever-vigilant watchers of the status boards in Central Damage Control ; welders of steel, hewers of wood, experts of improvise and ' " Can Do " ' , these boys were busy with a purposeful zeal from one end of the road to Kyushu to the other. In each of the eight Damage Control and Repair parties that stood by the length and depth of the ship when battle threatened, the key men — masters of fog nozzle, of " Foamite ' ' . of shoring timber, of the last hatch and water-tight door — these were boys from Damage Control. Their deeds would become legend- ary. Chief Shipfitter Durrance would die beside his burn- ing rods as he strove to cut his way through a bulkhead to free Doctor Fox and the eighteen hoys tra[)|)ed in the sick- bay with him. The Navigation Department, under the beloved Com- mander " Benny " .Moore, with its expert quartermasters, and its departmental auxiliary, the ship ' s band, was worthy of its name from the first day. hile the quartermasters had their jobs to perform on the bridge, the band had their battle stations down in the powder handling rooms or on the stretcher details. In the evenings on the hangar deck before movies the band played their hearts out. with every man-jack who could muster within hearing distance as their cheering audience, . mong their most enthusiastic followers, in later days, were the crews of destroyers fueling along- side, who never tired of a flight deck serenade. Their fa- vorite request was " Sidewalks of New York. " The Marines came aboard as a detachment under Ca|)tain Herbert Elliot; they kept their own compartments as shin- ingly clean as their rilie racks; they manned their own group of 40 mm. mounts and stood their sentry and orderly watches with military precision. The spirit of this outfit from the first day aboard was typified by the grim sort of courage that forced Private Steve Novak Itack into the smoking wreckage of a compartment from which he had just escaped, to lead his shipmates to safety. Or Private . L. Kliemozwitz, with that handful of volunteers on Bis; Ben ' s last 40 mm. quad, blazing away desperately at a div- ing Jap bomber with such effect that the bomb missed the ship when another hit would have .sent her to the bottom. Tho.se were Big Ben ' s Marines — the 7lh Division of the Gunnery Department. Comdr. F. K. Agi ' iis, Chief Engineer until May 4th, 1944, came from the Hunker Hill to found the Black Gang Comdr. If . R. LeFaiour. Damage Control Officer until Feb. ' 2nd. 194:). .in ex-suhmtirinc skipper. Comdr. Benjamin Moore, , avigaior to Sept. 24th. lOt-l: Executive Officer until Dec. 20th, 1944 Big Ben ' s Marine Detachment Aft, down on the third deck in the ship ' s liospital. Com- mander F. K. Smith ' s Medical Department had little trouble with the battle of organization — the Hospital Corps of the Navy is a self-integrated outfit and only the ' ' cream of the crop " is assigned to ships. No one, at any time, heard much from this department, but somehow it was always there when the need was mighty. Lt. Comdr. L. H. Birthisel. Jr.. the fiery Texan whose gleaming high leather boots had spurned the snows of New- port as he S])urned any soil or subject alien to the " Lone Star State, " was " Gun Boss. " Tlie Fighting First Division the Terrible Tliird. all the Gunnery Divisions from One to Eight, came into being branded with the fire-breathing im- print of a master gunner and rustler-chaser. It was a job well done. The Jap pilots who flamed into the Pacific can bear witness to the fact. The Communication department, under Lt. Comdr. D. L Mather, was composed of the radiomen, K-One; the signal- men, K-two; the yeoman, mailman and printers, K-three. The radiomen — with sparks on their sleeves — were to flash out contact reports and receive the orders that helped to doom the last proud fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy; the signalmen — wearing the crossed flags — would send many a battle signal whipping from the halliards in the gusty winds of the Pacific, and they would be the most alert " gang " in the Fleet if Chief Harry Reese had his way. Yeomen, man- ning vital talker circuits in battle, would spend their waking moments with every report and request Big Ben could de- Lt. Comdr. L. . Birthisel, Gunnery Officer until December 1944 Comdr. F. K. Smith, (MC) . Flight Surgeon and Senior Medical Officer until June, 1945 A Hellcat ' s pliine captain, ivary oj the prop, stands by with a nheel chock vise. Mailman Kaymond T. Lorentz, with his five helpers, would he the most important men ahoard ship as letters he- gan to come and go. The printer ' s work was never quite finished and the deht due Chief Raymond D. Blair for his unselfish devotion to the ship ' s paper will never he re- paid — Chief Blair was killed in action. Under Comdr. Cone, the Supply Department had many activities. There were more than three thousand tons of groceries to fill Big Ben ' s larders to he ordered and stored ahoard! there was government insurance to sell; payrolls must he met — and were. The pencil-pushing storekeepers checked and accounted for every last item and penny. The Commissary Section hrought aboard the flour, sugar and other stores from freight cars on the dock. The Disbursing Section called S50,000 an average payday; hit a bumper record of S750,000 when Big Ben pulled into Bremerton, handling seven and a half million dollars in the first III months of service. The Aviation storekeepers ran their own department store. All of those sections roinjiosed the S-()ne Division. S-Tvvo Division was made up of steward s males, cooks, bakers, and laundry men. These .sound like lunndruin tasks, hut every man had a battle station — passing powder, keep- ing watch on the guns, on repair parties. A task is not humble or menial when a man is at his battle station for many hours through the night, then passes food or clean clothing to his shipmates all day — and still grins. To every plane on a carrier comes a lad to be its constant guardian and protector. This man is not an officer, but is called a " captain " — a plane captain. And while he does not have stripes of gold on his sleeves or golden wings on his chest, he loves his plane just as surely, he sacrifices himself just as uncomplainingly, as only a real " Captain " could. He boasts of her deeds, he sorrows in her hurts; he is the last to touch her before she roars down the deck, the gladdest to greet her when she lands aboard. His only duty is his plane. i ' o tear in her sleek fabric, no rip in her tires or broken cable to her radio must ever mar her performance. Lack of gas, lack of bullets, or faulty lubrication must never make her the prey of crafty Zeke or Jaj) AA, or the victim of a crash landing at sea. In his leisure hours he polishes her gleaming skin; he sleeps beneath her folded wings, or on the cushions of her cockpit. In the anxious hours, while gunners stand tense and the combat air patrol is busy just over the edge of the sea, many of the quiet little knot of men " sweating it out " by " Combat Information Center " are plane captains. The story of the Wx Department is the story of the plane ' s Comdr. Joe Taylor, Air Officer until Dec. 1944; Executive Officer Dec. ' 44 to June. 1945, ivatches the planes come in, from Flight Deck Control captain. The Air Department is to its ninety planes what the plane captain is to his one. With Comdr. Joe Taylor at the head of its fifty officers and twelve hundred men, the Air Department was the reason why Big Ben was in exist- ence; the reason behind all the other frantic activities which were readying her for combat. All the intricate construc- tion, all of the master plan, led up to that moment when the command comes: " Pilots, man your planes! " ' It was then, and only then, that an aircraft carrier became a fight ' inff force, an element in actual warfare. o The Air Department had its divisions, and what divisions! V-One, flight deck: arresting gear and barrier men must be quick of hand and true of eye. Misjudgment can be fatal to plane and crew. The eight-man teams of plane- pushers braved the menace of whirling props in the half- light of dawn to pull the chocks and lower the wings; they shuffled and reshuffled planes from dawn to dusk that the " Strikes " might leave on time. A few minutes delay and re- turning gasless aircraft might be forced to crash in the sea. The catapult crews forward, under Lt. M. C. Woodburn, must be able to fire a dozen fighters into the air in a few minutes to meet the threat of approaching bombers. V-Two. on the hangar deck, was composed of mechanics and metalsmiths of superb skill; men to whom replacing a damaged wing was a minor operation. V-Three, the operations section, had yeomen and admin- istrators who ])lowed through the paper work and passed on the Air Officer ' s commands. V-Four, the division for combat information, was most complex of all. Charged with responsibility for all radars and radios on ship and planes, it also supervised every sur- face lookout, the aerological department, the photographers and the recognition officers. Its fighter director team of a hundred radarmen and their officers under Lt. Comdr. Bob Bruning would be Big Ben ' s first line of defense. Some day. when enemy planes would flicker on the radar screens, fighters of the combat air patrol would roar off to intercept, guided by " vectors " radioed from Combat Information Cen- ter — " CIC " — where Lt. Jim Griswold and his tense teams crouched over their plotting tables. V-Five, the service division, had its life-breath given it by Chief Otis Lee Corbett, a son of the old South, who died in action off Kyushu. It dispensed the bombs, the machine gun bullets, the high-octane gasoline and torpedoes, because an aircraft carrier, as well as being a floating and movable airfield, must also be a service station of wide variety. And . . . V-Six. the squadrons: combat air crewmen for all planes; lads with the silver wings that testified they were aerial gunners; others with the golden wings of pilots. Most General storekeepers in their ' ' No cash — you carry ' ' store on the Fourth Deck. STANDING: F. Melvin; C. Delello; Gene Levine; C. L. McDuffie. SECOND ROW: Robert Strieker; Charles Russell; Leo Smolinski; Leroy I ' ancl. top: Billy Stribling; Manny Solomon; David Lashinsky The " outfitlin ' est " supply officer in the Navy! Com-dr. H. S. Cone, (.SO, JJSN, re-outfitted the battleship Nevada after Pearl Harbor, set a record on Big Ben. and left the ship only to outfit something bigger — the super-carrier Midway. Big Ben puts to sea the first time. February 2Ist, 1944 of these were now with the planes at the Naval Air Station. Oceana, Virginia — nearly every man a volunteer from some shore station. There will be more about them . . . much more. Tension was mounting, activity was increasing throughout the vast and impatient bulk of Big Ben when, on February 21st, all these preparations began to be translated, for the first time, into real meaning — for it was on that day that she was eased gently into Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay. De- serted by the last of the puffing tugs and left to rely on the power of her own giant engines. Big Ben was on her own. It was not time to steam straight for the Pacific. Much was yet to be done; trial runs, gunnery practice, special tests, and the gruelling carrier landing qualifications which must be undergone for Ah Group Thirteen. The first flight quarters sounded February 27th, a mo- ment more historic and significant than any man on Big Ben realized that day on Chesapeake Bay. This time, all hands watched with awe as the divisions of the Air Department went about their then-mysterious business and Comdr. Joe Taylor brought his Avenger to rest on the deck, catching the second wire with its tailhook. Tliis was Big Ben ' s first landing! Warplanes would roll down that flight deck and land again more than nine thousand times during her com- bat service. On c •2 e -c: a. g 0 -ii -T ' i -r« n . jU ht deck is a f ( «i « ' roi ,s place The next day Air Group Thirteen began to land aboard, from their training base at Oceana Aaval Air Station. For two weeks Big Ben prowled through the narrow con fines of Chesapeake Bay while the pilots sought to qualify in both day landings and night landings. The tlight deck crews, the plane-pushers, the entire Air Department, gath - ered experience, skill, and that subtle quality, for which war experience coined the awkward but expressive word : ■ " know-how. " Flight quarters, naturally ceased to be a novelty, but the men never tired of watching the planes come sweeping in. nor of the acrobatics of the Flight Deck Officers, signaling above the roar of motors. The busy teams of men in bright-hued jerseys and hel- mets — red for fire-fighters, green for ordnance people, yel- low for flight deck crews — were engaged in dangerous work. The slijistream behind a 300-knot fighter warming up for a take-off equals a tornado in concentrated strength and can blow an unwary sailor over the side in the twinkling of an eye. The propeller blades are a constant deadly threat to the men who work about the planes. The seeming safety of the gallery beside the flight deck disappears quicker than a man can think when a five-ton plane misses a wire and bounces in that direction at more than fifty miles an hour Then theres the hazard of fire. An axiom on a carrier is " never smoke when you can see an airplane. " ' The words: " Smoking lamp is out above the third deck " became a fa- miliar chant, reminding all hands that planes were being gassed or having their fuel removed until their next flight. On March 15th, Big Ben took a breather; came into the Naval Operating Base at Norfolk and rested her tired new beams and bulwarks beside Pier Seven. Just a breather, because she came here to take on her full complement of supplies and to fill her tanks with high-octane and fuel oil for the shakedown cruise. Pilots of the squadrons came aboard to live and among the ships Junior Olhcers was a mighty wailing and a donning of sackcloth and asiies as they left the rooms in which they had been quartered to take their rightful places in the large Junior OHicer Bunkrooms. Aft. in the crew " s quarters, many a woeful seaman moved his belongings to some less desirable berth that the Air Group men might have their j)laces. Loud were the cries, but Ll. D. G. Billington, the Berthing Officer, was unimj)ressed. and soon Big Ben had taken Air Group Thirteen to her bosom. It was here in Norfolk, on a Saturday afternoon, thct eoman First Class Joe Norwood married his best girl, Nadine, of Miami. Florida. Lt. Comdr. Kelly. Air Oper- ations Oflicer. was best man. Streck. Hand. Fisher. Kai. Pederson. Johnson, Blown — all his fellow yeomen — weie there to wish him well and assist in the celebration. Little Joe Norwood, good yeoman, and most of those buddies, are sleeping now in the lijue Pacific. But Big Ben has not for- gotten. CHAPTER THREE " ... We had some great times, too. Scotland Beach . . . Port of Spain there were some real guys in that old division ... " SHAKEDOWN With a farewell blast of her whistle to Cape Henry ' s fading shoreline Big Ben and her escorting destroyers, tlie W ' ainwrighl and the Rhind, stood south on March 20th. 1944, bound for Trinidad, in the British est Indies — and the shakedown cruise. As the weather warmed. Big Ben and her crew stretched tliemselves. Divisions came to morning quarters in whites, less blouses. Men took on a tan. The Bos ' n, Mr. Spiewak. became more conscious of unsightly blemishes on Big Ben " s skin and the boatswain ' s mates, with their divisions, set about remedying winter ' s stain. The din of chipping ham- mers, wire brushers and scrapers echoed endlessly about the decks. The Gulf of Paria is a large, landlocked arm of the South Atlantic between the island of Trinidad and the main land of South America. It has two entrances, the northern called the " Serpent ' s Mouth. " the southern named " Dragon ' s Mouth. It was into the channel of the Serpent ' s Moutli that the little group of warships steamed on March 24th, shad- owed by the mighty bulk of Big Ben. They anchored off the U. S. Naval Air Station. For nearly a month in the calm waters of this warm sea Franklin and her destroyers ca- reened through practice missions during the day, anchor- ing at night behind the safety of the port ' s submarine nets. Shakedown cruise ... It gives the captain of a new ship the opportunity to weave the men and the departments into one fighting unit, before taking her into battle. There was gunnery practice. At five miles, with five- inchers, at two miles with 40 mm. guns, at one mile with forty-six high-speed 20 nmi. machine guns — every conceiv- able target situation was practiced for use in the comliat that men knew was on the way when these quiet waters and planned maneuvers were left in Big Bens wake. And the Air Department filled the air. Here it was thai the men of Big Ben fastened their devotion on the planes which were their pride and joy. They strained their eyes and their hearts watching the fighters in the preparatory burst — and the bomb-toting Helldivers and the torpedo- lugging Avengers as they flashed down in screaming dives from every corner of the tropical sky. The attacks were simulated, but in deadly earnest, on the destroyer-towed targets. There were mock battles, using Big Ben ' s Hellcat fighters, under Lt. Comdr. W. M. " Wild Bill " Coleman, to intercept Lr. Comdr. R. L. Kibbe ' s Helldivers and Lr. Comdr. Carry French ' s Avengers. Desperate battles, radar and Grummans defending the Franklin, would thunder to a conclusion, far out at sea. When the last " enemy " had been " splashed. " Big Ben ' s defenses would relax and the attackers would come whipping in for the kill. Torpedo planes, skimming low over the blue water, would flick from side to side at a terrifying 300 knots to avoid imaginary AA and then roar over the Franklin ' s decks. Dive-bombers plunging from the skytop, grew by the split-second from insignificant specks into hurtling monsters that would fill a gunsight to the Plane- pushers fold an Airnger ' s wings, as the flight deck officer signals the pilot I l4 A Helldiver, a split second before it crashed rims, pullinj; out of their daring dives, it seemed, just be- fore they crashed on the deck. There was shore leave and every man had his day. The men had swimming from liie white beaches of Scotland Bay and they could play at baseball, volleyball, football. There were cocoanut trees, too, for the men who cared to climb. But cocoanut trees have rough bark, as " Yogi " McMulleii, piccolo-loving seaman, discovered when a frond snapped at the top of a tall one and he landed on every wrinkle going down. Air Group Thirteeris Commander — Conulr. ( ' . C " Sunshine " Hoiverton The restricted zones of Port of Spain led many a curious lad to venture forth in search of some justification for the Navy ' s taboos. Radiomen Frank Wickers and Johnny Bas- ham were among those who found themselves struggling in the web of jungle violence. When rescue came they were whisked away by Shore Patrol in the Navy ' s own " Black Maria. " Some, like Ron Noyes, were typical American tourists and brought home the full quota of carved horn ash trays and pillow souvenirs. Others, like ' ' Jinx ' " Dizek, missed the spirit of things. " Jinx " brought back a heavy fever, which later developed into measles. The first few days of the shakedown, however, were dis- appointing. Plane after plane would take off, roar down the flight deck, then tumble into the water or spin away to one side and crash in the sea near the ship. Mechanics sweated into the night; civilian experts ate and slept with the problem — when they slept at all. No one had been in- jured yet; the water was warm and a crash-boat from the destroyers was always on hand. Yet it gave every man on Big Ben a bitter sinking feeling to see those huge, beautiful machines go thundering up the deck, so seemingly full ot power, then veer and crash into the ocean. They were not loaded; what would liappen when they had to carry a ton of bombs? After several days, when tlie fourteenth plane, and the third in a row, had staggered off the end of the flight deck to circle wildly then crash and sink in a welter of foam, the Air Officer roared on the speakers: " Flight quarters cancelled! " Conferences were held. Capt. Shoemaker, Comdr. Day. the Air Group Commander, C. C. " Sunshine " Howerton, the civilian technicians and mechanics struggled with the prob- lem. There was no one simple explanation. The planes were older models with three-bladed props instead of the mk Miraculously uninjured, i ' s pilot and gunner escaped . . . the plane sank in 45 seconds newer four-bladed ones. They carried more equipment than design had provided for. The carburetors required re- adjustment to meet tropical flying conditions. Pilot tech- nique was a factor; experienced pilots lost fewer planes. But what was the answer? There were serious talks in the ready rooms that evening: " Boys, " said Comdr. Howerton, " for the last three days we have been putting on the aquatic act — let ' s give them an aerial show! Now this is the way . . . " And into the night mechanics toiled feverishly. Next morning at flight quarters, a thousand eyes were on the first Helldiver that rolled up to the take-off spot. Mechs, grimy but confident, watched with tired eyes as the big plane went storming up the deck. Before it reached the forward elevator the wheels were in the air and she soared up so powerfully the mechanics could have wept for joy. The gunner in the rear seat, anxious a moment before, clasped his hands over his head in triumph as the Helldiver climbed away. Big Ben never lost another plane on a deck take-off. " Sunshine " Howerton had been named by sailors. Al ways a kind word or understanding smile as he passed the " little guy " ' sweating over his bench or straining under his load oi bombs. They swore by him, though no one ever thought he was soft. There was the time in Trinidad when he alone of all the fliers had some difficulty in finding his way back to the Franklin. When he finally returned aboard he delivered himself wrathfully of the remark: " If you can ' t find the ship, boys, just head for the biggest rain cloud you can see. Big Ben will be right in the middle of it. ' ' Throughout the long months of combat flying in the oft- times rainy Pacific the pilots of Air Group Thirteen counted this as reliable advice. Only one fatal accident occurred during the cruise. Dur- ing the afternoon of March 31st, Charles Van Camp, 18- year-old ordnanceman, was fatally wounded when the 50- caliber machine guns of the Hellcat he was de-arming acci- dently discharged. He was buried at sea, the first of many who gave their lives at their posts on Big Ben. On the more placid side, it was at Trinidad that the first issues of " Radio Press News, " six pages a day ungarbled from the static by Radioman George Jarrett, made its ap- pearance. Edited by Dick Hand and Joe Haile, mimeo- graphed by Chuck Greshko, the 600 copies were distributed in the early hours of the morning watch — Big Bens own newspaper, bringing news from home and the world. It was prized by the men ; the captain had a private copy with his morning coffee. And the Franklin Forum, Big Ben ' s monthly paper, ar- rived through the efforts of Chaplain C. A. Chamberlain and Chief Printer Blair. There are no copies left in the ofEcial files but they are treasured all over the world today, in many scrapbooks. It was here, too, as much needed light relief, that the " Franklin Frolics " were born. Nick Kenny ' s songs; " Honey- boy, " who was none other than the fabulous Lt. " Red " Har- ris, in blackface. " Honeyboy " Harris was with Big Ben a long time, but fair weather or stormy, his skeptical thoughts reminded men that they, too, " would ruther be home, Mistah Shoemaker. " " Tom " ' Kelly ' s golden voice and the old Irish ballads he used to sing — they still ring down the hangar deck in the evenings. So shakedown ended. Taps came, clear and sweet, to seaman and to captain. The officer of the deck looked up at the Southern Cross. The quartermaster sounded eight bells and alls well. Big Ben bulked huge and grim against the dark-shrouded horizon. (. H A V T E R FOUR " ... tve saw the Arizona and Oklahoma, bedded down for good in that mud on Pearl Harbor s floor. But some xcay, when tve left them, those gallant hulks were farthest from our thoughts . . . we were heading west, farther west than we had ever dreamed; somewhere out there in front of us ivas a war ... " WESTWARD Ii w s April 15th, 1944, when Big Ben dropped her 15- ton anchors in the roadstead off Annapolis, the first stop since Trinidad. There was shore leave that evening, little of uhich has — or ever will — creep into the pages of history. The next morning the Naval Academy ' s Board of Visitors inspected Big Ben. Midshipmen, admirals, congressmen, educators, were shown every department of the latest major warship to join the mightiest Navy in the world. Senator David 1. Walsh, of Massachusetts addressed the crew over the puhlic address system and told his own feeling of Frank- lin ' s im])ressiveness. He then assured the crew that the greatest of all the country ' s weapons was her youth — such as made up the crew of Big Ben. The pause was not for long. The next day Franklin moved into Hampton Roads, moored at the Norfolk Naval Base, and 15U0 of her sailors scattered on their first real Big Ben, icith a " deckload " ready, swings into the wind to launch Chief Boatswains Mate Bog Gregg (center) with two of his assistant " policemen " , . . Gregg iised to walk 15 miles a day on Big Ben, in his Chief Master at Arms post liberty in more than a month. Not even wartime censorship can defeat the intuition of a Navy wife or sweetheart; there were many happy reunions on shore that evening which might mystify Naval Intelligence. Monday, April 19th, Big Ben moved to the huge drydock at Portsmouth. Urgent voyage repairs must be made; acres of bottom must be scraped clean of barnacles, even on so young a ship. Final supplies were taken aboard — for the next destination was no doubt the Pacific Ocean and Admiral W. F. " Bull " Halsey ' s Third Fleet. Every man would have four days ' leave before sailing; those not on leave must work double time. For three days and nights the duty sections labored heroically to clean and paint the bottom. After two days ' barter with the sup- ply department extra rations were promised for the men on the third night. There was many a sardonic jest when this extra ration turned out to be a solitary candy bar per man. But in high spirits, though weary, the herculean task was finished in record time and the drydock flooded. By May 4th all yard work was done — but those words are woefully inadequate to describe what went on aboard and ashore before the last leave party returned and the last freight car on the dock had been relieved of its burden. Aboard, f or just one example, the catapult had been re- moved from the hangar deck to the flight deck, a colossal task in itself; ashore, one lad was stretching his four-day leave into thirty because he had met a young lady school teacher and had been in constant attendance in the First Grade of a Norfolk public school. A sense of finality hung over these last days. The spring weather made even the drab streets of Portsmouth attractive. In the warm evening air the lads went ashore in gay little groups, to lose themselves in heedless crowds. The war was real, grim, and near; men thought of the distant Pacific and wondered when, if ever, they would see another State-side spring. The warrant officers honored Captain Shoemaker at a party which was to bid farewell to the States . . . and to Norfolk, which has been described by an Army wag as the perfect Port of Embarkation — no matter what the destina- tion, it is a pleasure to go, if Norfolk can be left behind. New faces were aboard Big Ben before she departed. Tall Lt. Walter Kreamer became Communications Officer, reliev- ing Lt. Comdr. Mather. Ens. Stanley S. Graham, possessor and uninhibited user of a foghorn voice which earned him the name of " Steamship, " leaped the rail in these final moments. Much to the sincere regret of all hands of the Engineering Department, as well as a host of others, Comdr. Agens turned his Chief Engineers post over to his aide, Lt. Comdr. Greene, bid everyone a perfunctory good-bye, and disappeared over the side before anyone could see the tears in his eyes. Chief Boatswain ' s Mate " Anthony " Wayne was called to shore duty and Chief Bob Gregg became head Master-at-Arms. Gregg, jovial but efficient, was known in a week as " the only friendly Master-at-Arms in the United States Navy, " a man with only one vice — Copenhagen Snuff. Big Ben, fueled to capacity, stood out through the channel on the morning of May 5th, to be joined by three new destroyers, the Tiviggs, Leary, and Cashing. A year later, locked in mortal combat with suicidal Jap planes off Oki- nawa, the Twiggs would go down in glory, guns blazing. Off Cape Henry, Franklin and her escorts turned into the wind. Air Group Thirteen landed aboard, to take up per- manent residence, or as permanent as such hazardous resi- dence can be in time of war. With all watches set, air pa- trols in the sky. Task Group 12.1 steamed southward through the mists toward Panama. May 11th, 100 miles from the approaches to the Panama Canal, the Thirteenth Air Group, in all its roaring, low- flying splendor, hurled itself in mock assault on the great waterway to test the Army ' s defensive strength, and as a spectacular announcement that Big Ben was on her way to the war. Half the crew went on shore leave in Cristobal, then by evening of the next day she had squeezed through the westernmost lock and was berthed in Balboa. One day here, with liberty in Panama City, was one . . Comdr. Ttwnuis ]. Greene, USN, Engineering Officer, Mar. 1944 hi July l ' )45. Acting Executive Officer to May, 1946. deiiii ly of the clays to come as she |)lowcd northward, de- termined and forbidding. Just one day out of San Diego, on May 16th, ready rooms were alerted. Tlu; Army Air Foree, charged with protecting San Diego ' s vulnerable warplants, had been informed that a giant ' " enemy " carrier with escorting warships, was slipping northward to throw a suicidal blow at these precious in- stallations. Mitchell bomiiers, I ' lying Forts, long range reconnais- sance Liberators, were searching through the fog off the California coast for a carrier with the number " Thirteen " in huge figures on her flight deck. They were still search- ing the next day. with Big Ben only 100 miles off San Fernando Island, tilouds, rain squalls, favored the raid- ers; Big Ben lurked in the middle of the blackest squall. Then a lucky Mitchell, speeding through the overcast, had a contact on his radar screen. Like a pencil line, his course Even a routine patrol can have a lively ending. This Hell- diver is headed for trouble. A wing is smashed, as he crash- es into after gun mount. I ' ilot and gunner are shaken hut not badly hurt. Fire didn ' t start, this time. But hoses are ready as flight deck creivs suxirni about plane. grand foray into souvenir-land, with unbelievable nylons. Chanel Number Five from France, alligator skin bags. Swiss wrist watches, all manner of impressive gifts for that girl back home — and all the other loot a sailor loves. The little task group stood north on May 16th. with the command in Big Ben. Daily flight operations, daily pound- ing away at target balloons, daily drills by every depart- ment and division — and an omiiunis lack of details each day in " Hadio Press News about the actual operations in the Pacific, where Task Force Fifty-eight was poised some- where, ready for battle. There had been no major operation since March. The Marshalls were secure; bloody Tarawa and Eniwetok were history. MacArthurs men continued their relentless mo|)ping-up in New Georgia. New Guinea, the Solomons. Somewhere there was a still-powertul Japanese Navy. hen would it come out and fight? Could we get there to meet the thrust? The men of Big; Ben talked won- ' M Every big jhil-top in the Navy made their last stop here at Ford Island, in Pearl Harbor, before steaming westward into battle veered for the little group of warships. There was tense action in CIC as Hellcats were ordered catapulted from the deck, and another pencil line moved across the plotting boards, to intercept the search plane. But it was too late. Radio on the Mitchell had warned the waiting airfields on the mainland. The Hellcats cut the Mitchell down 50 miles from Big Ben, but now an ominous warning of many swiftly approaching planes came from CIC. Into the wind came Task Group 12.1. Destroyers closed in a tight circle that their powerful AA batteries might better defend the carrier. Dozens of Hellcat fighters were racing off to battle the Army bombers. Dozens of carrier bombers roared into the sky and arrowed for the prime targets in the San Diego area. Soon came the swirl of mock battle as Grummans tore into Flying Forts. But some of the Mitchell ' s and Forts slipped through the fighter screen, twisting and turning to dodge imaginary AA, then levelling off for their bomb runs. Every gun in the task group had them covered — it had seemed very real. Quiet returned, however, and Big Ben finally rested at the San Diego Naval Air Station. Air Group Thirteen had already landed ashore; mechanics, ordnancemen, plane cap- tains, and others hurried to the planes to take up their un- ending tasks. Two days were consumed in urgent repairs after the 10,- 000-mile run from Norfolk. Fuel and supplies were re- plenished; half the crew were given shore leave, with pref- erence going to men whose homes were on the West Coast. Three days were needed for operations at sea, in which Rear Aclmiral Sherman, Commander of Fleet Aircraft, would pronounce upon the readiness of Big Ben and Air Group Thirteen for battle. After all tests Admiral Sherman was satisfied; back in San Diego things begun to hum again. Two thousand passengers, inevitable complement of a car- rier anywhere except in action, brought themselves and their baggage aboard. Tons of supplies were loaded. Days were busy but there was shore leave in the evenings. Franklins crew saw also another side of war prepara- tions. Each morning, long chains of landing craft, LCT, LCTs, LCM ' s, and others, loaded to the gunwales with troops, would pass down the channel for drills on the coast. Late in the day they would return, a tired, sweating bunch of soldiers — the men Big Ben would later cover and assist with fighters, dive-bombers and torpedo planes. Shore leave expired at midnight May 31st. At dawn next day, with the Twiggs, Leary, Cashing, and cruiser Denver, Big Ben edged into the channel and stood westward with her passengers, 500 tons of urgent cargo, her 90 airplanes, and a crew of nearly 3,000 men. She was headed for a fast voyage to Pearl Harbor, at 23 knots, without air patrols. She entered the winding channel to Ford Island on June 5th. Here, at Pearl Harbor, thirty months after their demol- ition, men saw the wrecks of what had once been the battle- ships Arizona and Oklahoma. They saw also the speedy repairs which had been made to the base since December 7th, 1941 ; they saw the formidable defenses which had been constructed. Army planes wheeled ceaselessly overhead; there were bristling rows of anti-aircraft batteries and radar stations which felt their way through the skies with magic rays from their weird antennas. This was a Pearl Harbor for men to remember, just as that other Pearl Harbor is one that the world will not forget. On December 7th, 1941, this had been the Navy ' s front- line post in the Pacific. Now Pearl Harbor was a staging base, 3,000 miles from the nearest Jap in arms. Big Ben and America had traveled a long way but the hardest journey still lay ahead. Here the passengers debarked to go their various ways, after a four-day trip which would have taken much longer by even the fastest transport then plowing the Pacific. The ])lanes of Air Group Thirteen had been flown to Puuneme, hut the next morning the Franklin and her destroyer escort put to sea to refresh the fliers in night landings, the most delicate operation which carrier personnel must mas- ter. Two tiny rows of light on her flight deck, visible only from astern, were there to guide in the planes; coordination Tlir hoys of " I ' op " W n u.firs STuo Division ucrr st ' rious about the war and in dead-earnest about their religion. that would make a micrometer look like a steam shovel was necessary to success — perfect harmony in the movements of ]Hlot, plane, fighter director, and the big ship herself. Even the episode of " Willy " could not slow down these final preparations. It was on this cruise that " Red " Harris discovered among his plane-pushers a huge colored boy, sweating as only a colored boy can; doing as much work as any man on the ship and obviously enjoying it more than twice as much. It was an odd sight, but " Red " ' passed it off with a shrug, thinking that one of the steward mates had come up for fresh air and exercise, curious as the latter ' seemed. Willy became known all over the ship. Below the third deck he labored tremendously with the engineers; on the hangar deck he fell in with working parties and joined willingly into any toil. Vi ' illy was taken for granted as a part — some part — of the crew, for no man arises to ques- tion another man who is working hard and seeming to love it. One day, however: " Mistuh Wright, Ah ' d lak to get paid five dollars, suh. ' ' This to Lt. " Pop " ' Wright, harrassed mess manager, who saw in Willy just another of the 15(3 Negro boys of his S-Two Division. " Pop " signed the request, as did Lt. Comdr. Paul Speer, aide to the executive officer, merely as a matter of adding to " Pop " s " ' endorsement, and hardly looking up from his desk. Paymaster Jess Albritton, however, had to he a trifle more technical about these matters. He sent to the exec ' s office for illy ' s pay accounts. The execs office did not liave them and a minor squall seemed threatening. Then s.omeonc thouglit to ask Willy al out the situation. " Wliere ' d you come from, boy? " " Fode Islan ' , suh. " " Brought your records and ])ay accounts, didn ' t you? " " No use looking for my ]iay accounts, suh — dey was lost a long time ago. " Then it all came out, in a string of events which will nut fighters of J ' F-13 at I ' liuneme Airfield. Maui, during Big Bens operations al Pearl Harbor stand dialect. Willy had not been paid in two months; his clothes had gone the way of the Lucky Bag — Navy Lost and Found Department. So had his bedding. He had been denied liberty — so he had just come aboard Big Ben in hif dungarees, to get away from Ford Island and its restrictions, and out into the broader Pacific where he might see what a Jap looked like. He simply wanted five dollars for a few little things such as cigarettes and soap. He was willing to " wuk like Hell. " But it was no soap for Willy: the Naval Regulations, which he did not understand, decreed that he must go back to Ford Islai (l. He was standing on the dock, sad and dejected, when Big Ben. on June 14tli, stood out to sea, and to battle. The Toughest Sailor, " Little Ben. tells the SP (Shore Patrol) where to " head in. " W illy " wanted to go to war on Big Ben . . CHAP I i: K FIVE " ... you wont he hearing from me for a Ions, time now. so dont worry . . . But I iiottd go . . . tJiere ' s a fella named fourrou.x on Number Five Mount wants his eo Jee, and I ' ve had mine ... " FIRST ACTION An LNDEKCLKRENT of excitement could be felt as Big Ben slipped out of Pearl Harbor on June 15tli. Somewhere, thousands of miles to the westward, the mighty Fifth and Seventh Fleets were gathered for another historic assault on the Empire ' s defense lines. Hundreds of transports, jammed with hardened, sunburned shock troops of the .Marine Corps and Army slipjied into Pearl Harbor for refueling. Silently they left, over the sea and into the setting sun. circled liy squadrons of lean, grey destroyers. America was on the road back! Would the next strike be against mysterious, " impregnable " Truk? The Philippines ' ? The mainland of China? Somewhere a still powerful Ini- .S I c Fedeuu and (tM C Osborne cleaning one oj ' ' Bic; Ben ' s five inch guns. perial Navy rode the high seas: it numbered battleships, carriers, cruisers, dozens of destroyers and submarines in its fleets. Millions of fanatical yellow troops garrisoned an un- defeated Empire. The air force that had sent the Prince of Wales, the Repulse, the Arizona, the Oklahoma, the Lexington, the 1 orkloun. and scores of other varshi])s to the bottom, still patrolled the skies above Japan and its island fortresses. Hawaii dropped quickly into the sea. Astern a thousand yards, the new cruiser Denver glided along in Big Ben ' s wake. Old friends, the Twiggs and Leary, with two other destroyers, tossed and plunged ahead. Shortly after clear- ing the harbor Comdr. Day spoke to the Franklin s officers and the fliers of Air Group Thirteen: ■ ' Gentlemen, on June 15th, (that ' s today), the Amphibious Forces will land the Second Marine Division and the 27th Army Division on the Japanese island of Saipan. in the Mariannas group. The landings will be supported by the Seventh United States Fleet, Vice Admiral Kinkaid. com- posed of the battleships Tennessee, West Virginia, New Mex- ico . . . " the list sounded like a roll call of all the fighting ships of the Navy. " The Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Spruance, consisting of carriers and battleships, in Task Force Fifty-eight, will operate between Saipan and the Philippines, the direction from which the Japs are expected to counter-attack. The Fast Carrier Task Force — of which the Franklin will be a unit — will cover the landings and destroy the Imperial Jap- anese Fleet if the ojiportunity presents itself. One group of fast carriers will neutralize by bombing the Bonin Is- lands, of Iwo Jima and Chichi Jinia. from which the Japs might send air strength into the Mariannas. " At last reports, an enemy concentration of six battleships, five carriers, twelve cruisers, and thirty destroyers was as- sembling in the Philippines and has been sighted by our submarines moving into the Philippine Sea. .Make no mis- take. e think the Japs are going to come out and fight this time. e are going to be ready for them. " The Franklin, ith her escorts, will remain in reserve in the Eniwetok area, as reinforcements, until called upon. This is il. " To the crew of officers and men. to helmsman and lookout. |)ilot and engineer, this w-as it; the first certain indication of where Big Ben might expect her entry into battle. Of course, the pattern might change, as so often it did change, but here was something more definite than mere scuttlebutt. On June 17th. the Franklin crossed the International Date Line, longitude loO degrees east. The calendar moved back one day; there were tuo Sundays in a row. Now the combat air patrol took to the ky: six Hellcat fighters to protect the little task group from a sur]jrise attack. Big Ben entered tlie circular lagoon of Eniwetok on June 21st. It was a dreary spot, but one of America ' s farthest out- posts, and had been in Japanese hands only three months before. Torn hulks of Japanese shi))s, rijiped to tatters by American steel and American courage, lay in the anchorage — mute but eloquent tribute to the American boys from all sections of the nation, who had splashed ashore to cut down the fanatical Imperial .Marines to the last man. There were also rusted helmets of American type; rows of lonely white crosses. Meanwhile, meager and delayed reports of the action on Saipan came in. Marines were hanging on; an Army divi- sion was ashore; Jap jdanes were coming in from Guam to attack the transports as they lay along the beachhead. Then word came that the Japanese Navy was steaming toward the scene. It was the job of Task Force Fifty-eight to see that it never got there. Four hundred miles from Saipan. the Japanese launched a cloud of dive-bombers and torpedo jdanes which — the Japs believed — would seal the issue. How Admiral Mitsch- er ' s fighters took care of this Oriental dream is a part of history, but Big Ben never got into this First Battle of the Philippine Sea, since the Japanese Navy did one of its famous vanishing acts after Mitscher ' s men had blasted down its air cover. Big Ben, like a substitute at a football game, was still sitting on the sidelines when orders came on June 29th to break the inaction. The Franklin was to join Hear Admiral Ralph E. Davison ' s Task Group 58.2, bound for Iwo Jima to maintain the enemy airfields and installa- tions in the Bonin Islands inoperative. She was to be in company with the carrier !T asp, the light carriers Monterey and Cabot, all escorted by the cruisers Boston, Canberra, and Scin Juan, with nine destroyers in the screen. The Bonins, only 600 miles south of Tokyo, were heavily patrolled and guarded. Their airfields were stepping-stones for the squadrons which might be flung into the desperate liattle that still raged on Saipan. By July 1st the task group was steaming through waters constantly patrolled by Jap search planes — " snoopers, " as ihey are called in Navy language. The American combat air patrols were doubled in strength and the radarmen never took their eyes from the screens that might disclose the ap- proach of a " bogey. " Since surprise is the essence of a carrier-borne attack, enemy search planes must be spotted and shot down before they could locate the task group and flash a warning to home bases. It was that afternoon when Big Ben ' s first casualty in combat zones saddened all hands. Lt. Clarence F. " Kelly " Blair, lanky, hard-flying leader of a division of the Thirteenth .Air Group, suddenly side-slipped and plunged into the sea as he attempted to land after a patrol. Neither plane nor pilot were seen again. The task group was only 400 miles from Iwo Jima on July 3rd when a long range Japanese search plane sneaked in low over the formation, dropped two bombs, which nar- rowly missed a destroyer, and fled. The plane was identi- fied as an " Emily. " a name well known to men who fought the Japs. Tyjjes of enemy aircraft were designated by girls ' or boys " names — thus the Betty, Jack. Jill, Zeke, Frances and dozens of others. In the afternoon Admiral Davison decided the Japs might lie aware of his ajiproaching force and decided to do some- thing about it. Twenty Hellcats from the Wasp were flung across the remaining 300 miles to surprise the enemy on the ground and shoot up his planes. The fighters returned at sunset, reporting that they had knocked down a dozen Japs as they were taking ofl " and had damaged many others on the ground. Through that night the group sped on toward the morn- liiu: Hen and thr linlil currier Monterey make a I8l) degree turn to rejoin jormation ' Hots ol Air Group 1 hirleen relax in the fighter ' s ready room . . . tomorrow will he a busy day . . . ing position. Attacks were to begin at dawn and Captain Shoemaker had promised the crew a Fourth of July cele- bration with fireworks aplenty at the expense of the little men who did not believe in independence. Bib Ben. named for one of .A.merica ' s greatest leaders, was to see her first action against an enemy of her country on Independence Day! The captain ' s promise was fulfilled. All day strikes roared from the flight decks of the four carriers in this con- centrated attack on Iwo Jima. Chichi Hima. and Ha Ha Jima. The enemy seemed stricken with paralysis. Hellcats shot down Zeros over their own airfields. Helldivers loosed tons of bombs on gun positions, airfields, hangars and bar- racks. Avengers roared in low over the coastline, dealing death to shipping with their torpedoes. Big Ben lost three good men on that flaming Fourth: Lt. (jg) Milton Bonar, from Akron. Ohio, was shot down by Jap flak. His gunner. .Albert D. Lowenthal. from Pulaski street in Baltimore, perished with him when the dive-bomber crashed into the sea. Later in the morning, a damaged Hellcat, missing the wire with its tailhook, crashed the bar- riers and careened into the island structure. The pilot, Lt. (jg) Davy Jones was seriously injured. Eighteen-year-old, blond Jimmy Mulligan, electrician ' s mate and movie oper- ator, was struck by the plane and instantly killed. Throughout the day the force steamed within sight of the islands. It withdrew that night and set a course for Guam. arriving off the northeast coast of that Jap-held island on the morning of July 6th. Guam was one of the four major Japanese bases in the Mariannas. Saipan, the main base, writhed helplessly as its garrison slowly died at the hands of .American soldiers and Marines. Rota. Tinian and Guam remained. They must be pounded to impotency from the air, their swarms of planes destroyed, their garrisons jirevented from aiding doomed Saipan. On " William Day, " July 21st. Guam itself would be invaded. Then, for the first time since December fj. IT illy Cove cuts his birthday c ' lk V en He Bombers from Hi Brn are the Japs un Guum lots of headaches 10th, 1941, free, fighting American troops would walk again on the soil of that island; would redeem the flag that had been trampled there in the dust. The afternoon of arrival, sixteen Hellcats from Big Ben. each armed with six rockets and six 50-caliber machine guns, went in for the preliminary kill over Guam s Orote penin- sula. Here were barracks for thousands of Ja]) troojis, sup- ply dum[)s. ammunition stores, gun emplacements, an air- held. Flak was moderate at first, but increased heavily as llie attack progressed. Again and again the Hellcats thun- dered over the Jap positions, pouring destruction on the en- emy, starting dozens of fires, silencing guns, blasting build- ings. It was during this assault that Lt. illy Gove, leading his division, pulled out of formation with his engine streaming ominous smoke. He glided his Hellcat into a water crash landing, two miles off-shore, near Point Kitidan, almost directly under the muzzles of Jap batteries. Dark was fast approaching. Ens. Roger L ' Estrange, his vvingman, care- fully noted the position of the crash. Back on Big Ben that night. Navigator Benny Moore and Lt. Walter Levering, Intelligence Olhcer, worked far into the night computing the exact drift the downed officer ' s raft would take. Half an hour before dawn, four fighters, led liy ■ " Sunshine " Howerlon. flew to the computed position with two seaplanes from the cruiser Boston — hoping for the best. ithin fifteen miiuites Gove was located almost exactly where Benny Moore had scientifically jirophesied, lucKc miles west of where he had crashed. Conscientious, friendly, faithful. Vtill Gove li ed to strike many another telling lilow at the enemy. On July Mh, photographers discovered a concealed am- munition dump on Orote; the following day thirty-five of Franklin ' s planes blew it to kingdom-come, smothering the surrounding gun ])ositions with their own fire. Troop con- centrations near Agana, Rota Islands airfield, and radio stations — all of the.se felt the punishing blows of Big Ben ' s flying arm. Until July 17th Franklin ' s fliers continued to attack the defenses of Guam; the lioatyard at Piti Town, the airfield at Orote. bridges on vital roadways near Taloforo and Togcha Bays. On one of these embattled days, before dawn, a group of Japanese planes rose from one of Guam ' s torn airfields to seek out the task group. Hadar spotted them. Big Ben ' s fighter directors, collaborating with a combat air patrol from the carrier San Jacinto, made a perfect interception thirty miles away. Four Oscar fighters and six twin-engined Betty bombers of the Japs were splashed in flames. Long after, intelligence officers learned that those last Japanese planes to leave Guam were carrying high Japanese officers, trying to ffee the doomed island stronghold. All was not triumphant shouting. On July 16th, during the | re-dawn warm-up of planes for the day ' s first strike, in treacherous half-light. Jim Smiley, seaman first class and a [ilane captain, was struck by a whirling ]iropeller — one of the countless hazards always threatening the men on a car- rier ' s flight deck. His shipmates buried him at sea. Death was breathing on the necks of Big Ben ' s men and fliers. All was not tragedy either. Routine " general quarters " sounded one morning an hour before sunrise, and every man began to grope his way to his battle station. Doctor James Moy was hurrying to his post on the flight deck when sud- denly, he decided it would be an excellent idea to proceed by a new and untried route. He wished to familiarize him- self with the ship. Groping forward on the flight deck, he pressed on through the darkness — pressed on until he drop- ped headlong into the black Pacific, sixty feet below. Com- ing to the surface, after endless seconds, he began tooting the whistle which every man on Big Ben had been issued for just such an emergency. ' ' Man overboard, port side, " blared the loudspeakers. Eyes strained to pick out the strug- gling victim in the water and darkness but only a faint despairing wail of the whistle marked the spot as Big Ben sped on at twenty knots. Doctor Fuelling, Moy ' s fellow medico at the battle station, remarked, " these darn seamen. Always walking in their sleep. " Fortunately Dr. Moy could swim strongly. Bemoaning the trick of fate that caught him with his life jacket still stowed at his battle station, he buttoned his collar and in- flated his shirt to stay afloat. An hour later, a destroyer picked him up and he was back on Big Ben in time for breakfast — adorned already with a nickname he was never to lose: " Wrong- way ' ' Moy. Yet the chance of his escape had been narrow. Three months later Felix C. Cerra, sea- man first class, of Carbondale, Pa., fell overboard in similar circumstances, but could not be located. Almost every plane on Big Ben flew at least two missions on July 19th — 177 sorties for 90 planes. Every plane that would fly took the air against that battered island of Guam. They rained incendiaries on the last standing buildings; they strafed everything that moved on the roads. The enemy opened up with the concealed batteries he had saved for an emergency. For this, the Jap seemed to decide, was an emergency, if ever one was to occur. These batteries took their toll. Damaged planes limped home after every strike. Ens. Nick Smith, engine dead and aileron shot away, crashed ahead of a screening destroyer; Lt. (jg) Raymond B. Cook, with a huge hole in his right wing and his stabilizer in rib- bons, made a miraculous landing on deck which could have meant death to any pilot. July 21st was William Day — the day of Guam ' s invasion. . t 8:30 that morning a hundred transports and LST ' s stood off the beaches by Orote. A thousand landing craft, jammed Ll. Comdr. James Moy conies home to Big Ben, after a swim hcjore breakfast ■ ' H ti ' William Day! The invasion beach as it looked to Biii Ben ' s pilots on July Hist . . . Troops and tanks are ashore with American youth, headed in waves toward the shore. Three hundred dive-bombers and torpedo planes were ex- ploding destruction on Japanese lines, a thousand yards from the beaches. As the first landing barges grounded and the troops began to pour ashore, the Japs opened up. Bui a special strike squadron from every carrier in the force had been waiting for just this. Now those Hellcats and Hell- divers stormed down on enemy trenches, on mortars, on mobile artillery and on tanks, enshrouding them with lead and explosives. By 10 a. m. the first wave of troops was a mile inland and the tanks were coming ashore. Throughout the day the ca])tain kept Franklins men in- formed of the invasions progress. Army officers, who had expressed themselves as uneasy, a few hours before, were now filling the radio with such fervent remarks as " Your support of landing well timed and effective . . . Heavy air strikes during the last four days and especially today iiave left nothing to be desired. " There were few spoken words among the men of Big Ben about what had gone on ; " Mech " ' looked at plane captain, engineer looked at gunner, and grinned. But here the feeling was born that Big Ben was earning her jdace as a fighting unit to be classed with the best. The day after the invasion of Guam. Big Ben distributed her last bombs in two final strikes by Air Group Thirteen and set her course for Saipan, where Japanese and Marines were still locked in a struggle to the death. At sunset, Franklin anchored in the open roadstead off Saipan. dis- dainful of the nearby enemy, to go through the ordeal of loading bombs and rockets from a supply ship in a tossing sea. Throughout the night artillery flashed on Tinian, six miles away, and flares lit the mountains of Saipan. By 6:30 a. m. more than a hundred tons of bombs and rockets were aboard. Three minutes after the last bomb touched the deck. Big Ben weighed anchor and was bound south with the task group to meet the tanker fleet and refuel at sea. Task Grouj) 58.2 was now joined by the two other task groups which had assisted in the leveling of Guam. As Task Force 58, without any decimal points, the merged groups became a fleet which could sink any navy in the world. Westward and south it steamed, for the islands of the Palau Group. The words in the air for weeks had been : " Next the Philippines, " but the key islands in the Palau chain must be conquered as bases before that invasion could be attempted. This cruise, the mission of Task Force Fifty- eight was primarily reconnaissance, secondarily the de- struction of enemy aircraft, shipping and installations. Big Ben had been assigned a full share of all objectives. On July 25th, Franklin s flying fighters were swarming all over the islands of Babelthaup, Koror, Arakabesan and Malakal. Three enemy planes were knocked down; the air- strip at Babelthaup was demolished; a small oiler, a lugger, and a cargo ship were sunk. Ens. J. J. " Jimmy ' ' Langford. Jr.. in his Hellcat, made a photographic run over Babelthaup which won him the Distinguished Flying Cross. Five times, on a straight course, at one thousand feet and through in- tense flak, he roared across that island to accomplish his mission. During tli iiext two days nearly two hundred and fifty combat and |)hotogra])hic sorties were flown from Big Ben. Two bombers were lost in combat but their crews were saved. Two fighters were lost, and Ens. Robert H. Martin, of Rutherford, N. J., died in one of them as he crashed into the sea while landing. The other pilot was saved. The mission accomplished, the task force swung eastward on July 28th, then north on a course to Saipan. Captain Shoemaker had a message of appreciation for the crew. In the Franklin Foriim, he reminded his men that he had told them in Newport they would be in the Pacific war with Big Ben in six months. He was proud that Big Ben was here, proven ready for battle, carrying out the same assignments as veteran carriers, and equally well. Proud too, he was, of Big Bens offensive weapon, its super-long- range battery, Air Group Thirteen. But. to quote him ver- batim, " without a smart, efficient ship, the air group would be impotent — unable to show its high quality; and without a highly competent air group the most experienced carrier would be ineffective. That is why I have repeatedly stated that none of us in the Franklin has a non-essential job, be- cause the bombs and the bullets that the airplanes carry won ' t hit the Japs with scheduled regularity unless all hands carry out our duties with courage and determination. As your command ing officer, I want you to know you have all lived up to my greatest expectations and that, come what may. I have complete confidence in you . . . " The Franklin already had another assigned mission when Task Group 58.2 arrived off Saipan and dropped anchor in Garapan Roadstead August 1st to take aboard bombs, rockets and fuel. She would join Rear Admiral J. J. " Jocko " Clark ' s Task Group 58.1 and jiroceed to Iwo Jima to destroy enemy aircraft and shipping in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands, which must be kept ineffective if the invasion of the Mari- ainias was to proceed successfully. This damaged Hellcat came ba-ck jrom Chichi Jinui August Sth. a tribute to the American uorkmen who built it and to the American boy who flew it . . . Lt. (jg) Joseph W iednuin ' eathei- at the aiicliorage was foul, but forty sacks ol mail from home did manage to come aboard. Now, after weeks of waiting, Ed Pyktel, S2c, would find out whether or not he was father of twins; and Durrance, CSF; Hasiuk. Sic; Messick, S2c; Lange, ACMM; Ellis, MM2; Meade. CMM; Harvey, EM3c; Russell, SK2c; Rose, EM3c; Pay Clerk Fowler and Lt. D. S. Smith all awaited mail call for a favorable report on the boys they were expecting. Meade and Messick alone drew girls, hut their relief was just as apparent, their smiles were just as high, wide and handsome, and their delivery of cigars just as graceful and earnest as the other chest-expanding papas. Now came the mission, after the weather had cleared and loading was completed. Big Ben joined her comrades: the carrier Hornet, flagship; the light carrier afco ,- the crusiers Santa Fe, Mobile, Biloxi and Oakland. In the screen steamed twelve destroyers; valiant workhorses of the fleet, deserving more than honorable mention. Tlie Maury, Craven, Gridley, Helm, McCall. hard. Cahrette, Bell, Burns, Boyd, Bradford and Brown filled the dangerous stations on the outer circle. The force sped for the Bonins. and for the second time within a month, enemy search planes failed to detect a pow- erful carrier force approaching the islands. At 9:30 the morning of August 4th, a powerful fighter sweep again sur- prised the Japs. ])rowled about on reconnaissance, strafed shipping and airfields, played havoc in general, mostly without effective opposition. A Japanese convoy of five large cargo vessels, eight to ten barges and luggers, with an escort of four or five destroyers, was discovered steaming northward for the mainland of Japan, near the island of Ototo Jima. There were also seven or eight large cargo ships in the harbor of Futami Ko. at Chichi Jima. A light cruiser was underway, leaving the harbor. Thirty-five of Big Ben ' s pbuies took immediate flight and tore into the cruiser and the shi|xs in the harbor. Ens. Jack Kehoe registered a damaging hit on the cruiser ' s bridge, despite the vessel ' s frantic defensive maneuvers. Other ves- sels were left burning. Hurriedly twenty more j)lancs, half of them dive-bomber.s. thundered from Big Ben ' s flight deck in swift pursuit of the August 5th, 1944 . . . It cost American lives to destroy these Japanese ships in Chichi Jima Harbor convoy, but only one bomb hit was registered on this flight. At -i p. m. a third strike of forty planes went out, deter- mined to draw blood. This attack was well-planned and perfectly coordinated. The fighters strafed three destroyers, two of which blew up and sank. The third stopped dead in the water, on fire. The dive-bombers left two cargo ships burning. Nine torpedo planes attacked and registered nine hits out of nine torpedoes dropped. Four big cargo ships sank beneath the waves. Flying conditions were bad, making further flights too hazardous. During the night cruisers and destroyers of Franklin s screen raced ahead and finished off the convoy. Of 18 to 20 Japanese ships, only one old-type destroyer may have escaped. Though it had been a bad day for the enemy, there were several sadly empty seats at Big Ben " s mess tables that night. Ens. Roger . L ' Estrange. the laughing boy whose brother was a major of Marines fighting on Guam, crashed in the ocean after his Hellcat had been struck by flak from the Jap- anese destroyers. Lt. Ancil C. Hudson, who had left his wife and year-old daughter in Kentucky, failed to return from the last strike. The right wing of his Hellcat was blown off by flak and the plane dove into the sea. Six strikes were scheduled against Chichi Jima for August 5th, a day that brought dismal flying weather. At dawn, twenty-five Hellcats, Helldivers and Avengers took off from the rain-drenched flight deck. They left three cargo ships sinking in the harbor and strafed another, ten miles to the west. A special search group that day, flying toward Japan. 500 miles north, located new targets. Comdr. Dick Kibbe. in his Helldiver. escorted by Ens. R. F. " Moose " Bridge, in his Grumman, met and bracketed a " Betty " bomber, 240 miles from Tokyo, and shot it down. Returning, this pair also sank three landing craft, bearing troo])s from Japan to Two Jima. The radio station on Muko Island was knocked out by another team. But two of Big Ben ' s planes did not return. Lt. Comdr. C. B. Holstrom. from Washington state, a graduate of An- napolis and the executive officer of his squadron, together with his gunner, Walter J. Brooks, Jr., from 41st street, in New York, were plunged in their Helldiver into Chichi Jima Harbor by A. fire. Lt. (jg) H. F. McCue ' s torpedo plane, with aircrewmen Hevey and Robinette aboard, crash-landed in the sea after being hit by flak. The words " missing in action " were written alongside the names of these shipmates, although covering fighters reported that a rescue submarine had headed in their direction. Nearly two months later Lt. McCue was returned aboard. But alter D. Hevey, a ankee from the hills of North Attleboro. Mass.. and his comrade. Ralph T. Robinette, a lad with the Southern drawl of North Carolina, died in action that day. Heavy weather made further flights impracticable so the task group set its course southward for Eniwetok. Three small Japanese vessels blundered into the force through the fog. Two destroyers of the screen took them under fire and they sank at once, hardly a mile from Big Ben. No prison- ers were obtained. In the afternoon an " Emily " was chased in the direction of the formation by the combat air patrol. As the Jap came out of the clouds Big Ben ' s gunners, and every gun in the fleet, opened up. Due to poor visibility some gun crews were firing at one of the friendly fighters. In the confusion the Ja]) fled into the clouds and the Hellcat crashed in the sea. Happily the pilot was soon rescued, uninjured, and a few minutes later the Emily was shot down by an alerted plane of the air patrol. Early in the morning of August 8th, the task group arrived in Eniwetok lagoon, after more than a month of combat operations. Big Ben, along with the other carriers, cruisers and destroyers of the group, received this climactic dispatch from .Admiral Clark: " We are at the end of a long and arduous cruise. In the campaign of the Mariannas many damaging blows have been struck at the enemy. It is with great pride that I can tabu- late the record of the Task Group 58.1 as having contributed its full share. To all hands: Well Done! " C H A P T E R S I X " ... Guam wds a push-over. I iuess — e.xcc il llicrr ' s a lot of Marines ivJio will he staying there, li e ' re a flighting ship now; our planes have made the .laps plenty mad. Tokyo Hose has Jiad us sunk four times; we ' ve even had a " Hell Done " from our allies, the Army! Now we have another side trip to make back to Iwo. then an excursion planned for Palau, then a stop-over at Yap . . . and then . . . I ' m due for a haircut on the equator! " BIG BEN ' S WAR IN THE CAROLINES Emwetok ' s anchorage was a sight every good American should liave seen. A thousand men of war were anchored in its wide bhie basin. Half a dozen heavy carriers, as many more light carriers, divisions of battleships and cruis- ers, transports, destroyers, and ships of the train contributed to this nautical beehive; a constant interweaving stream of boats plied the water on ship ' s business. Now, at last, there was time to overhaul Bia; Hen ' s hard- worked equipment. It was a busy time for engineers, radio technicians, gunners, electricians, mechanics, fire control- men. The planes of Air Group Thirteen had been landed on the island and were being serviced there by their own mechanics. Badly damaged and missing aircraft were re- placed from the pool of new and refitted planes. The sup- ply department was restocking from the Service Force ' s supply barges. The few rejiairs which could not be made -; If i t l crt of Big Ben atid otltcr sliips oj the l- ' Icii on the hcadi at Riinil Ishind. EniufloL. In the background Japanese ainnninition ship. Anirriran iiarsliips are (inchored in the liigoon is a wrecked Commander Henry H. Hale, Navigator 27 August ' 44-21 December ' 44, Air Officer 21 December ' 44-30 June ' 45, Commanding Officer 1 July ' 45-8 June ' 46. e-. .-J " - : Hn Three more cans of beer to go! Lt. (jg) Robert F. Brooks. of Fighting 13, enjoys one . . . Lt. Brooks was lost in October, over Leyte The plane elevator pit nuide a good volley-ball court »B5 flKflTV The striuird ' s mutes oj S-Tuo Uii ' ision could play championship basketball . . . but J ' -Five ' s team won the tourney by the ship ' s own crew were made by repair ships, those floating machine shops which were anchored only a few thousand yards from Big Ben. There was shore leave each afternoon when several hun- dred men from each ship were loaded on landing craft and deposited on the white coral sand of Runit Island — with their beer supply, four cans to a man. Four cans of beer under a palm tree, a smooth white beach, these were re- minders of things to be enjoyed when the war was over. And when the war ivould be over was a favorite topic of conversation during this rest at Eniwetok. Baseball, medi- cine ball tossing, volleyball, even football, within obvious limitations, took place on the flight deck. A first-rate basket- ball tournament was held on the bangar deck, with all di- visions entering a team. It was won by the V-Five Ordnance- men, who trounced the S-Two Division in the finals. Franklin became task group flagship on August 12th, 1944, when Rear Admiral Davison hoisted his two-starred flag aboard. All hands came to admire and respect this strong, sincere gentleman, who had little to say at most times, but was always on the Flag Bridge in the thick of action when the going was rough. Comdr. Henry H. Hale, U. S. N., reported aboard from the San Jacinto, where he had been Air Oflicer, to take the post of Navigator on Big Ben when Comdr. Day received his promotion to Captain and Benny Moore moved up to the Executive Officer ' s spot. The days slipped by, until August 21st. as the Franklin was preparing to shove off ' the following dawn, Arthur Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison, U. S. N., on Franklin ' s flaghridge Klastersky, S2c, a torpedo plane cajitain. found himself marooned after a friendly visit to a ship ahout a mile away from Big Ben ' s towering bulk. No boat was available to bring him back home, but Arthur, a 19-year-old New Yorker, had no idea of being left behind. He climbed down his host ship ' s anchor chain and his pal tossed him a life jacket. Off for Big Ben he went through the dark waters, struggling against both wind and tide, and a half hour later ho readied the Franklin — and none too soon, because his life jacket bad begun to lose its buoyancy. Big Ben steamed out 50 miles east of the lagoon, for two days ' gunnery practice, came back for a load of bombs and ammunition. On August 27th. as Task Group 38.4. Rear Ad- miral Davison in the Fninklin. with carriers Enterprise, Bcllcau Wood and San Jacinto, got underway for much- bombed Iwo Jima, escorted by the cruisers Biolixi and . ew Orleans. The circular screen held the destroyers Maury, Craven, Gridley, Md ' .ull. Mugford, Ralph Talbott, Palter- son, Bailey, li ' ilkes, Micholson and Stvanson. This was the third time in three months that Big Ben and her comrades bad |iaid a call on liie Jap in his closely guarded home waters. Surely this time he would be ready. But on September 1st the warplanes thundered in on the island redoubts, undetected. I ' i liars of smoke again rose to the sky from blazing Jap shipping, hangars and barracks. Once more a force of cruisers and destroyers moved in and pounded the harbors and coast until the very rocks Hew into the air. Again the fast carrier task force slip()ed away C.omdr. Richard I.. Kibhe, US.M. of the divehomhers, became Commander tij Air Group 13 on Aujiust 12. when " Sunshine " Houerton was called to other duty L ' ig tJciis Bombers have pinpointed their objectives on wo Jinui after two days of furious assault, unchecked and unharmed. This time Big Ben carried with her two unwilling stran- gers ; Japanese naval prisoners of war who had been picked up by a destroyer from a blasted ship. Fearful and hesitant, they were brought aboard in a breeches buoy, much as Dr. Moy had returned to the ship. As Chief Gregg led them down the flight deck through the groups of curious blue- jackets the Japs glanced once at the many IVipponese flags painted on the island structure, then passed along with bowed heads. Their first question to Tom Young, radarraan, who interpreted their language, was: " ' hen will wo be done away with, please? " Enemy planes buzzed through the night as the task group steamed south. Two Emilys, closing from the northward, flying 75 miles apart, were detected by the radar. Without hesitation, two night fighters were catapulted from Big Ben ' s deck. Lt. Tony Martin, veteran Jap killer, and Lt. (jg) Warren X ' olf, flew out to meet the Japanese " Sand- man. " In CIC, Lt. John Wineger stationed Tony and Wai- ren in the path of one on-rushing Jap. Warren made the There u iisii I much lejl to do on } ( ) ifler llie T hirteentli juii.sheil Big Bevis bombs explode on Peleliu A few mimttes before " H " hour, folloiving a coordinated bombing strike. Peleliu looked like this A few minutes after " " hour; already American landing craft blaze on the beach, as one of Big Ben ' s Hellcats swoops down to give an " assist " first pass but lost contact in the darkness as the Nip became suspicious and took an evasive twist that landed him smack ill ' Pony ' s orbit. A master night fighter on his trail, the Jap (lid c civlhing in tiic book to escape, but to no avail. He- IcMllcssly. on llie radar screens, the two dots closed together. Sonicwhere. out in the black night, high over the .- ullcn l ' a irir. a Hellcat fighter was grimly closing the yards to a careening, twisting Kniily. with ten scared Japs aboard. " Contact " came the words, low luit ominous, on the radio. Moments draggetl by. until: " " Splash one Kmily. " came Tony ' s voice, barely audible above the static. Klation surged through the dozen of radarmen and |ilot- ting officers. John X ineger grinned with jiride for bis ■ " night chick, " Tony. Men on the radars rubbed their strained, sleejjy eyes and sucked hard on their cigarettes. They had joined in the kill, just as surely as had Tony. " " Guess we ought to paint four meatballs on this old piece of gear, eh boys? " Vergil C. " Hiram " Johnson, radarman second cla.ss, kidded Johiuiy Ninos and .Albert Hallman, iwo of the lads who had been passing in the bearings, fast and. true. Even Bob Froehly. quiet, efficient senior radio technician, wore a smile of triumph. The other Jap had passed to the soutbuard. liut he soon reappeared on the screen. The night fighters swept out. unseen and deadly. Again ten Japanese airmen took the final plunge as their Emily fell two miles down to the sea. The task group turned southwest on September 3rd, after refueling at sea. for the next mission: to assault and neu- tralize the important Ja|)anese bases of Yap, Ulithi and Palau. then to make a scouting thrust at the island of Ngulu. The three day attack on ap. in the ( " aroline Group, be- gan September 6th, when eighteen rocket-blasting Hellcais flared down on the startled Japanese. The next day, begin- ning with a sixteen-plane fighter sweep, three whole deck- loads of |danes. ninety in all, even the combat air patrol, roared in to tear the island ' s defenses to shreds. On the iSth only sixteen planes were needed to take care of unfin- ished business and to bring back photographs of every cor- ner and cove. Big Ben lost only one plane during this o])eration. Kns. Slingerland was shot down as he made a low strafing run along the beach but he made a good water landing. .After spending the night in his rubber boat he was spotted the next morning seventeen miles south of the island by Lt. Comdr. Coleman on a special search. He was rescued by a destroyer. The advance word was that the U. S. Marines would in- vade Peleliu Island in the (Carolines — of which Palau Group was a |)art — on September 1.5. Big Ben and the rest of Task Group oo. 1- were to j)rovi(le air su|)])ort for this operation and give cover for the troops after they had land- ed. To be ready for this mission the group turned south from ap and beaded for the Palau Islands on September 9tb. Starling the attack with a fighter sweep of twelve Hellcats at daun the next day. Big Ben was to launch five flight deck- loads. 150 planes, every day for a week, through the lOtli. the day after Peleliu ' s invasion. A total of 256 tons of bombs were dropped to aid in destruction of Japanese de- fenses or in direct supjjort of the infantry. The first fighter sweep ran into intense and accurate flak. The Ja[)anese were not using tracer fire, making the AA dif- ficult to dodge. Ens. Norman Drouin and Ens. Paul Rene Parent, both Frenchmen from the hills of New Hamj)shire, went down on Peleliu in flames and were not seen to bail out. They were reported missing in action. After this bad start, no more |)lanes were lost in the cani- |)aign by enemy action, for the .strafing, rocket-firing and bombing dwindled the enemy anti-aircraft fire to a few des- ultory machine gun bursts and rifle shots from the crushed Jap troops. On the 11th, however, there was enough enemy flak to strike the wing of Ens. Kehoe ' s Helldiver with such effect that it appeared the plane would crash. Kehoe ordered his gunner, Abner ' " Red " Harris, to bail out over a rescue submarine. He then decided that he might be able to save his plane. He brought her back to Big Ben, and Jhough his land- ing gear collapsed when the plane touched the deck, no damage was done the ship and every intact part of the air- craft was salvaged. Good flying! Abner Harris returned aboard Big Ben seven weeks later, none t he worse for his experience. On the night of Sei)tember 12th, Frunfilin ' s most costly operational accident occurred. A twilight patrol of four night fighters had been ordered to patrol Pelelieu Island against the chance the Ja])s might salvage one of their smash- ed aircraft and attempt to fly some of their senior officers from the scene of impending invasion. The weather was rainy and visibility poor. .At patrol ' s end, three planes landed safe- ly but the fourth came in too far over the flight deck and crashed among the thirty planes parked ahead of the last barrier. No one was injured: fire did not break out. but five planes were demolished and eight others so badly damaged it took several days to repair them. Just before invasion day, the cruisers and battleships moved in close to the shore and blew the beach defenses to rubble. On the morning of the 15th. waves of assault troops began to move in; although the first waves encountered little difficulty, the Japs soon began to emerge from their caves and foxholes. From the hilly terrain north of the landing stri]i, artillery, mortars and mobile guns went into action. recked American landiiii; barges were strewn along the beaches. The opposition stiffened so seriously that the in- vasion of Angaur, scheduled for the next day. was post- poned, and Big Ben launched five more deckloads of planes to support the infantrymen on Peleliu. With supi)lies low. Franklin and her task group refueled at sea on the 17th. before throwing one last support strike to the slogging Marines on the morning of the 18th. Then, with death-flinging bombs and rockets exhausted. Big Ben and her sister ships turned the invasion support over to a fresh task group and stood southeast toward Manus. in the Admiralty Islands — down below the equator. Franklin was approaching the realm of Neptunus Rex. and preparations for the traditional ceremonies which greet a sailor when he crosses the equator for the first time occupied all the spare time of the " Old Shellbacks. " Unfortunately, there is little record to be found of this crossing, save in the |)ictorial files of Big Ben. On September 21st. 1944. Franklin arrived at Manus — with another star on her campaign ribbon. j Li. " Honest John " Tansey kneels before the Royal Barber Conulr. Kibhe presides over rites in bomber ' s ready room Some brand-new ' ' shellback " Chief Petty Officers; FRONT ROW: Heibel, eiiman; Lotridge ; Burkhart; Hardy; Durrance; Gil more; BACK ROW: Womack; Coia; Brown; Gjefle: Mullins; Matzen The Royal Court: Royal Baby, Lt. Casson; Davy Jones. Ens. Lienen; Mcphistocles, Id. " Red " Harris: Royal Queen. Lt. Newman; Royal Baby, John Whit laker; Chief of Police. Lt. C.omdr. Caldwell t worried " pollyivog " is finally brouc,ht to bay by Shell- back Hizer and his merrymen CHAPTER SEVEN they ' re good, alright, but not good enough; uc took everything they could throw at us, then threw it right back. I heard " Pee Gee " Minkten say the Coral Sea scrap seemed like a one-ring circus to him now. " We had some more prisoners aboard; crew of a bomber we shot down. One of them jumped over the side, but swimming was mighty poor that day. dont knoiv, but when I look at this gang I ' m ivith I wouldn ' t trade them for tdl the " banzai " boys in the ivorld. I ' d hate to be on the other side ... " IN THE PHILIPPINE SEA Seadlf.r Bay. named after tlie German raider of World War I, is on the large island of Manus, in the Admiralties, and is one of the hest harbors in the world. Big Ben, with the warships of Task Group 38.4. anchored there four days. Every moment was used to advantage, taking aboard fuel. food, and a cargo of explosive consigned to the Japanese. This was September, 1944, and Manus was being develoj)- ed into a springboard for the battle-hardened divisions of MacArthur ' s Sixth Army, a base for amjihiliious assault. A floating drydock and repair shop that could make emer- gency repairs to the largest warship were ready for service. The base hosjiital would accommodate ten thousand wound- Murderer ' s Ron , hey called il . . . Manus Harbor, with six big Essex cl ass laltops anchored there An Avenger takes a wave-off ed; the fueling depot could fill a fleet ' s oil tanks; modern piers were flanked by warehouses on the jungle ' s edge. A huge recreation park was waiting for the men of the fleet, and the beer ration was limited only by the five hours allowed to consume it. Saxie Dowell ' s band, at home under the eucalyptus trees and alien sky, made many new friends as Big Ben ' s men mingled with lads from other ships to swap yarns of battle, meet old shipmates, talk of home. There were odd reunions — Lt. (jg) Joe Heinrich, one-time Bronx cop, of Fighting Thirteen, met two fliers from other squadrons and in exchanging reminiscences learned that of the twenty-five fledgling pilots who came through Pensacola together three years before, they were the only ones alive. The others had smashed up in operational accidents, or fallen to flak over enemy targets. At Manus, Comdr. Day received a long-due promotion to the rank of Captain and was detached to command a new es- cort carrier. Comdr. Benjamin Moore, who had been Navi- gator since the commissioning, became Executive Officer. Comdr. Day had worked hard to make Big Ben a fine fight- ing machine ; Comdr. Benny Moore was a fitting relief. The L.S.E. — " Little Short Exec, " as he came to be affectionately known, was admired and regarded as a personal friend by Here too, there was time for a jew quiet moments in the library evi ' iy mail on tlie lli|). (idiiidr. Ilalc now liciaiiif the na i- gator. Scjitcniber 21tli, 19 11-, l car Adiiiiial Davisoirs task group, with Franklin llagslii)) and guide, set its course to tlie northwest and the I ' alau group. lUithi antl llie key ( " aroline islands had fallen, though fanatical .laps still hung on at Moody I ' elelieu. The stage was set for a mighty scene in the I ' acific drama. Through the air. like the voice of doom, hack over the bloody years since dark Bataan. a knell souniled lor the treacherous, cruel Japanese: " " 1 shall return . . . " A vision of licarded. gaunt weary men. .standing unafraid, wreathed in the last grey smoke of Corregidors guns, spurred on the avengers. Every mati on Big Ben was jnoud to l)e there for his |)art in the Liberation of the Philippines. To make secure the beachheads that would be established on Leyte the Third Heet must drive into the strongest bases of the P mpire — into the jaws of the heaviest trap the Japs could close. From Okinawa, on the door-sill of Ja|)an. to powerful Formosa, south through Luzon, hundreds of air bases must be crushed into helplessness. The Imperial Navy must be smashed if it tried to interfere. For a week in the storm-swept seas east of Palau. Big Bens group awaited a rendezvous with the two other sections of the Third Fleet. Lo ng range enemy search planes flew out to reconnoiter. The combat air ])alrol ke])t the skies cease- lessly, ignoring the hazardous flying weather. One patrol of three fighters Hew into a heavy squall; two fighters came ihrough. Ho|)elessly the search planes scoured the area, but no trace of Lt. Wade H. W ' inecofT, a country boy from North (Carolina, was ever found. (Phasing a " ' bandit " through the murky night, Lt. Benny Miles, of Medina. N. Y., and bis Jajianese quarry suddenly disappeared I rum the radar screens while 60 miles to the southwest, over the stormy. Iilacked-oul ocean. Though John X ineger called tirelessly through the static and search ))lanes combed the area at dawn, no word was ever heard of night fighter I?enny Miles nor of the Jaj). After a week of this depressing wait orders came to move northward. On the tail of a typhoon raging toward Formosa and Okinawa, Admiral William Halsey was preparing to take the seven Essex class carriers, the ten light carriers, seven fast battleships, twenty-five cruisers and a hundred destroyers of his Third Fleet into the teeth of Japan ' s mili- tary might and strike the inner bases of the Empire. Nine thousand miles from the Third Fleet ' s homeland, in wateis Another combat photo from one of Big Bens planes . . . Okinawa that lapped the enemy ' s shores, would be decided an issue which armchair strategists had declared could have Itut one outcome. Fleet-based aircraft would meet shore-based air- craft, on even terms. This would be no hit-and-run missior.. Carriers would slug it out for days witii dozens of bases on shore, pitting their hundreds of planes against thousands the enemy had at his instant command. The stakes would be the lives of a half-million soldiers and the fate of an empire. Admiral Halsey reckoned on the typhoon which would sweep across the enemy coasts a day before Task Force Thirty-eight ' s warplanes. He knew it would disrupt com- munications, ground enemy search planes, make detection of the fleet difficult. On October 9th, 1944. the Third Fleet steamed in three formidable groups 100 miles south of Okinawa ' s teeming harbor and airfields. 200 miles east of Formosa. The autumn rains and mist of the Central Pacific shrouded the ominous black and slate grey warships. Half a dozen Jap search planes had fallen to the guardian Hellcats without a glimpse of the fleet. In the afternoon 200 rocket-firing Hellcats climbed from a dozen flight decks and plunged like a bullet at the heart of the Japanese defense — the airfields and hangars. What the Japanese called their radar failed again. A few bewildered Zeros were shot down over their own airfields, then hell exploded in front of yellow faces as the American fighters thundered in. Hangars were demolished. Dozens of planes were ablaze on as many air-strips. Revetments were strafed. Barracks flamed. When the fighter sweep landed at sunset the disrupted, smoking defense of the island must have been a headache to the frantic Japanese commander. Nip radios crackled and whined. Air stations on the home island of Kyushu, 350 miles north, looked hastily to their defenses. Squadrons of replacement planes warmed up on fields at Kobe, Nagoya, Nagasaki, Tokyo. Nervous, slant- eyed pilots trooped to their ready rooms. Up to this time, in their march across the Pacific, the flat- tops had mostly fought the naval aircraft of the Japanese. Now the Imperial Army Air Force, with its swarms of Betty and Judy bombers, its speedy Zeke and To jo fighters, was the main foe. Heretofore the carriers had assaulted smaller is- land bases, with a few airfields that could be swiftly crushed. Now the air bases of the Empire were in position to rein- force each other — only the bases close at hand could be ef- fectively neutralized. Big search planes, Kates and Emilys, squadrons of Betty Coastal installations ablaze at Okinawa torpedo bombers, s[)ent tbe night biokiiig for the Third Fleet. The Japanese radio, Tokyo Hose speaking, made dire |)redictions of the doom that was about to befall the rash American admirals and their reckless fleet. Night fighters took to the rain-swept sky above the blacked-out warships. Crystal ball gazers, like Lts. " Ad " Poat, Dave Dunlap, Bob Abell, George Cheney, with their hundreds of radarmen, joined with those others of the fleet ' s big CIC ' s, and took over the guard. ith all guns manned, the fleet waited through the night like a sprawling monster, ready to flare into action with the dawn. At sunrise hundreds of carrier planes were in the air. Men on the decks of Big Ben, men standing by their guns, men on every warship in the Third Fleet, watched the squadrons thunder off to the west and disappear. The harbors of Nansei Shota were full of Jap ships, try- ing desperately to get u]) steam and escape. Flak guns were furious in their defense. Hut nothing could stop the thunder- ing low-level attacks of the deadly eagles that had risen from the ashes of Pearl Harbor. Terrific explosions shook the island as ammunition dumps blew up. Walls of flame and smoke marked where fuel depots had stood. Blazing, sinking cargo ships and tankers dotted the harbor. But warbirds were falling, too. Lt. (jg) Joe Heinrich would never tramji his New York beat again. His Hellcat badly holed, he crash- landed at sea and was never located by his searching com rades. Lt. (jg) T. G. Norek, from the midwestern plains, and his gunner, Harry Steele, a Connecticut Yankee, died in their dive-bomber when it roared d(jwn through tiie flak to crash in flames. By nightfall a tliousand bombers, fighters, and tor|)edu planes from the carriers had pulverized Okinawa and its installations. Many days would pass before dangerous en- emy planes could fly from that quarter. That night, October lOth. the Japanese were out in force, dozens of bombers crossing and re-crossing the task groups. As they passed within range of the warships ' guns, hundreds of naval rifles and heavy machine guns would erupt in sheets of flame. Some Jap planes dropped torpedoes, all of which went wide of their mark. Others circled out of gun range. reporting the fleet ' s position, with Grumman fighters roaring through the darkness in pursuit. Task Group 38.4. with Big Ben in the lead, fueled at sea October 11th. then launched a blistering fighter sweep at Aparri seaplane base, on Luzon. All the Japanese planes found there were destroyed, along with their hangars. During that night there were few alarms, the Jap scouts seemingly having lost contact. By dawn the task groups were rejoined and the massed air squadrons left a trail of flame and de- struction the length and breadth of Formosa, untouched by war before this day. Now the first signs of organized opposi- tion appeared. A hundred Japanese aircraft, flying north- ward from Luzon to replace Formosa ' s decimated squadrons, were intercepted 70 miles away by twenty Hellcats of the patrol, guided from Big Ben by fighter director officer Bob Bruning. The Nips hardly put up a fight as the Hellcats ripped into them. For 25 miles the pursuit continued, the Japs drop|)ing one by one as the fight progressed, until the Hellcats had to turn back from over Formosa itself, as iheir gas became low. During the day squadrons of Japanese torpedo bombers came speeding out to attack. The cruiser Canberra was tor- pedoed and lay dead in the water. Few of the Japs returned to tell of this limited success, but on the Nip radio came fantastic claims of dozens of American warships being sent to the bottom. Fifteen carriers, exulted Tokyo Hose, a dozen battleships, had been sunk. 20,000 American sailors were struggling, drowning, in the cold waters off Formosa. The men of Big Ben grinned sardonically as they listened to these weird lies. All through that day, while the yellow war-lords made their boastful claims, carrier warj)lanes were heaping fire and destruction on the major bases that dotted Formosa. But Lt. K. J. ' eber ' s Helldiver did not come home to Big Ben that evening. Weber, a Loyola boy. from Chicago and his gunner. James L. Hall, of Augusta, Maine, were killed in action. And Ens. H. F. " Bobby " ' Jones, 21-year-old redhead from Climax, Ga.. with his guimers, Stanley P. Kajza, Wilkesboro, Pa., and Grier P. Osborne, of Peach Bottom, Pa., who had ]iut their .Avenger ' s torpedo squarely in the middle of a big Jap tanker, died when their plane exploded in mid-air. A heavy flak gun had made a direct hit. And the cruiser Houston, struck by a torpedo from a Betty, lay helpless in the water. After a heroic struggle by her crew she was taken in tow, and, with the Canberra, was proceeding slowly southward at two knots, with the small but mighty carrier Cahot standing guard. The Houston, built at .Newport News and completed only a week before the Franklin, had many a friend on Big Ben. October 13th. another day of continued heavy blows at the Jap defenses, dawned rainy and foggy, as miserable as the preceding days. But hunting was still good ashore. With the airfields and harbors in ruins, the bombers were directing iheir attentions to power plants, fuel depots, supply dumps. Thousands of tons of supplies, vital to the enemy war effort, darkened Formosa with a pall of smoke, faggots on the fu- neral pyre of an infamous nation. These were the signal fires to the hundreds of massed transports and LST ' s which were sailing froin Manus. destination: the Philippines. But two more of Big Ben ' s gallant fighters swirled down that day; Lt. (jgl Richard H. " Moose " Bridge, the tall boy with the three Air Medals, died in his Grumman fighter over For- mosa, and Lt. (jg) Joseph Kopman, handsome dark-haired fighter ]iilot. of Detroit. Michigan, did not return to Big Ben. There was little of the usual " " kidding ' in the fighter ready room that evening. Throughout Friday, Octolier 13th. enemy j)lanes attempt- ed to slip through the combat air patrol. Several were shot down, others driven away. In the evening, an hour befoie sunset, they commenced to gather in small groups, hiding in the lu ' a y banks of clouds, scattered low over the water. Through the drizzling rain patrol fighters searched for the enemy but he was hard to find, even with radars aid. Two grou])s of enemy planes, one in the clouds to the northeast and one in the clouds to the south, were about ten miles from the FranUin ' s group. M .S:00 p. m. the bugles called all hands to battle stations, but at 5:22 Admiral Davi- son secured all battle stations except the gunners when it appeared likely that the Ja])s would remain in the vicinity for hours. . t sunset, five minutes later, Big Ben was landing the last of eight Hellcats which had been launched during a previous alert when suddenly out of the twilight to the north, four Betties. medium land-plane bombers, appeared over the screening destroyers. Combat information center, busy track- ing another group, had not warned of these. " Here they come! " ' went the word through the gun sta- tions and about the decks. " Here they come . . . " A thunderous roar went up from the scores of flashing guns on Big Ben. But on the bridge, where quartermaster first class Mathias stood by the helm, the men who guided the Franklin moved with swift calculation, countering the moves of the attackers. The navigator, Comdr. Hale, stood on the port wing of the bridge, coolly scanning the skies to give warning of Japanese approaches from that side. Cap- tain Shoemaker, with no thought of personal safety, moved quickly between the exposed bridge and the helm, calling out orders that would save the carrier. They came in on the port side, hardly fifty feet above the water, at top speed. Every ship in the formation had them under fire. The first plane was broad on the port beam when Captain Shoemaker ordered " Left, full rudder " and Big Ben swung in toward the attack. Again and again the Betty was hit; flames poured from his fuselage as he closed the Frank- lin, but he launched his torpedo and roared in, trying to crash the ship. The " fish " missed Big Ben ' s stem by feet, thanks to the quick change of course. The plane struck on deck, just abaft the islatid structure, slid across the heavy planking and burst into flames as it rolled off the starboard side of the ship and fell into the water. Flaming gasoline deluged the Franklin s side and from the San Jacinto, astern, it looked as though the Jap had exploded aboard. By only a split hair had the Franklin missed a disastrous fire and many casualties. The second Betty also came in fast on the port quarter, with every gun on the Franklin and San Jacinto that could be brought to bear holding it under a murderous fire. Lt. A. J. " Wliispering Death " Pope, of Fighting Tliirteen — a boy from Atlanta, Ga. — had been circling to land, gas almost gone. Without hesitation he pulled up quickly, dove down through the bursting shells on the bomber and opened up with his six fifty-caliber machine guns. The Jap went blaz- ing into the water. Big Ben shared that one with Lt. Pope. The third torpedo plane came in well ahead of the Frank- lin and was shot down as it passed through the task group After prayers by shipmates the body of Harold C. Standi, AMMlc, killed in action October 13th, is committed to the deep « ■ ' ' - 3 a 2 " i ♦ 5 :2 " 2 i =1. ' Bl -5 ahead of the Enterprise and the Bi ' lleau Wood, but the fourth bomber bored in through the flak on Big Ben ' s port quarter. He dropped his torpedo, hedge-hopped Franklin s bow, and went down in flames between the Franklin and the Enterprise. The torpedo was coming at the Franklin, " hot, straight, and true. " Again teamwork saved Big Ben from dis- aster. With seamanship bred by years of training, Captain Shoemaker ordered ' " Right, full rudder " and personally rang up " Back full " on the starboard engines. Far below, in the domain of the Black Gang, the men who " answer all bells " lived uj) to their names. Big Ben slowed her forward motion and pulled away to the right, away from the on-rushing tor- pedo which passed within a few feet of the bow and con- tinued on harmlessly through the task group. In the mad five minutes of action Harold L. Standi, vet- eran aviation machinist ' s mate, was stru ck by the plunging Betty and instantly killed. Men on the bridge and gun sta- tions had been struck by some of the hail of flak from guns of the task force, others had been wounded by Japanese ma- chine gun fire. Ten men were hurt badly enough to be taken out of action. Yet in the midst of danger and tragedy. Big Ben ' s men re- membered it was one year ago to the day, that she was launched. No man had forgotten Captain Shoemaker ' s words " Thirteen is my lucky number, " though it had not been luck. An alert captain, an efficient bridge crew, hard- shooting gunners, a faithful Black Gang, had brought Big Ben through her first hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy. There was occasion, too. for a smile. During the first mo- ments of the Jap attack, Lt. Dan Winters, landing signal officer, coaching Lt. Pope in to land, glanced up just in time to see the Jap plane coming in for an entirely different kind of landing. Lt. Winters did what men faced by flaming dragons have done before. He ran. Across the deck he raced, the Japanese bomber in hot pursuit. As he dove for an imaginary foxhole in the flight deck, the low-dipping wing of tlie Rising Sun plane engaged him in a kiss of death, rip- ping the entire seat from his pants. The exposed anatomy was too much for the Nip. Big Ben ' s hero muttered a strangled " Splash one " as the Betty crashed into the sea. It is said that a collection was made to have the appropriate Japanese flag tattooed on the conquering posterior, but Lt. fiTTJl.,. ' " ■.: ' J Jupani ' st ' shipping hmldled in Manila Harbor Dan Winters, a inodfst man, gratefully declined this recognition of liis unique achievement. Throughout the night after the attack persistent Japs hung about Task Grou|) MiA as it swung southward to the coast of Luzon. Radio Tokyo blared even wilder claims, and tlu Imperial Navy — which seemed to believe the fantastic stories — dispatched a strong task force out of the North C ' hina Sea to finish the dozens of crip|)led American warshi|)s littering liie water. Actually the Houston and Canberra were the only casualties and Admiral Halsey. fiercest Ja|)-hater. lurked just over the edge of the sea with two powerful Third Fleet task groups, eager for battle. At the last moment, while the northern carriers readied their deadly bombers for the long sought mission of smash- ing a dozen major Japanese warships, the yellow Admiral became doubtful and w ilhdrew his force at high speed into safer waters, well out of reach of the " cri|)|)led " American fleet. The fast carrier task forces of the Third Fleet now turned tiieir attention to the Fhilij)pines; back to skies over Cor- regidor and liataan, came the avengers. Weary, bearded, un- dernourished Americans in Japanese labor battalions, some long believed dead, raised their eyes to the heavens and hope kindled in shrunken chests. " They have returned, " sang in every man ' s heart. Prominent among the avenging planes in those skies was the White Triangle, marking Big Ben ' s air group. 150 miles from Manila, on October 14th, Franklin and her sister carriers lay, throwing massive blows at air- fields with hauntingly familiar names . . . Clark Field. Nich- ols Field, Nielson . . . Helldiver, Avenger, Hellcat, kinsmen of the Kitty Hawks and first Flying Fortresses smashed by brutal treachery on those fields three years before, were re- • ! . . A. C. Cason, landing signal officer, in action, ivhile assistant landing signal officer, Lt. Daniel M. U inters, stands by Guns blasting. Big Ben fights back . . . October 15lh . . . turning to exact a debt of blood from Japan ' s degenerate soldiery. As the airfields and stations came under the deadly bar- rage, bomber pilots looked gleefully at crowded Manila har- bor, one of the world ' s largest — jammed with huddled Jap- anese shipping. Those ships were doomed. As soon as the airfields and air cover had been shattered the bombers would rain havoc on the crowded harbor with its great piers and warehouses, filled with the loot of an empire. October 15th found Big Ben still hurling knockout punches at the airfield targets. The crew had been at battle stations for hours and enemy planes had been on the screens since dawn. Two had already been shot down by the patrol — and from one of the early strikes Lt. (jg) Frederick A. Beckman. Jr.. who was " Becky " to all hands, did not return with his Hellcat and was marked " missing in action. " About ten in the morning, with thirty bombers over Nich- ols Field and thirty more poised to take off, a group of en- emy planes was discovered closing from the westward, half a dozen patrol fighters on their tail. Three Japs broke through. Two Oscar fighters and one Judy bomber, each w ith two bombs, flashed into view. They were deadly midges, twenty thousand feet in the air. as they nosed over in their dive. The screen and Big Ben opened fire simultaneously with every gun. One of the Japs dropped his bombs harmlessly and fled, but the others bored down at the Franklin. The first one was a wide miss. Captain Shoemaker swung the big sliip heavily to port and the second bomb went off on the starboard side, close aboard, throwing a column of water over the ship and shaking tlie decks. The third bomb missed the port side twenty feet and before its concussion had subsided the fourth hit the corner of the deck-edge elevator, hurling hot steel and shrapnel in all directions. One Oscar was shot down by Big Ben ' s battery as he pulled out of his dive v. bile the other went into a dogfight with the patrol. Shrapnel huni ihc hil Imc ihimigli the gallery deck, the island structure, and the niasl. Sigtialinan James Hogers, at his station on the flag bridge, was killed. Lt. (jgl Harmon K. lluilson. of the bonibcr squadron, and seaman William Taylor were moitally wounded. Five other men were seri- ously hurt and later died; twenty-seven were injured. Under the direction of Comdr. Smith. Medical Department Head, the casualties were given first aid and the more seri- ously wounded were rushed to the sick bay. Aided by Drs. Fuelling and Fox and by Titus . Vober. Torneby. Mitchell. Mason, of the Medical Staff, all performed [prodigiously that day. At least two men would have died had the surgeon ' s efforts been too little or too late. George Smith, radarman third class, at his battle station, a hundred feet from the hit. had been struck with a piece of shrapnel that tore through the half-inch steel bulkhead before completely piercing his side. Dr. Fox. without hesitation, working through the rag- ged hole in the man " s side, removed several feet of riddled intestines, joined the ends which the damaged section had bridged, cleaned and stitched the wound. Vt ithin two weeks George Smith was back on watch, jiroud of his Purple Heart. Ll. Hoy. a torpedo plane pilot, struck in the temple and in the spine with shrapnel, lay dying on his cot in the quiet room that night. Three large blood clots were forming on his brain, beneath the shattered bone. Dr. Fox. who de- claimed knowledge of " anything from the neck up. " watched the agonized man for five hours when he could take time from the dozens of wounded in the nearby sick bay. Then, when it seemed as though Ll. Hoy had breathed his last. Dr. Fox reached a decision. Into the ships operating room the pilot was wheeled by anxious pharmacist ' s mates. Instead of anesthesia an oxygen mask was used to keep the woundeil man alive. For two hours the doctor labored, cutting through the damaged bone, removing the deadly clots which he had known must be there, then replacing the trepanned .section. Lt. Hoy was alive two weeks later and transferred to a lui-- pital ship, with a fighting chance for recovery. Fortunately the bomb hit had not knocked the lliuht deck out of commission. The deck edge elevator could be re- paired by Comdr. LeFavour ' s shipfitters and Lt. Comdr. (ireene ' s engineers. The bomb-laden strikes would continue to pour ofT toward the doomed Japs on Luzon. During the afternoon two more attacks were thrown at Task Group 38.4. From the northwest ,50 Japanese planes appeared on the radars. . few miinites later a large group came into radar range from the southwest. Lt. Comdr. Brun- ing scrambled section after section of Hellcats, and the Sun Jacinto air patrol was already moving full speed to intercept the enemy groups. V( ithin ten miiuites M) fighters were clos- ing in on the southern group and 20 fighters on the northern formation. In a precise interception at 50 miles the southern Jafis were brought to battle. Not a Nip escaped. Reports from the airmen came through: ' " S[)lash two Zekes. " " Splash an Oscar, " " Splash a Betty. " The iu)rthern group was inlercejjted at 60 miles while it atti ' mjjted to execute an encircling maneuver. It fled in panic. Hellcats of the Thirteenth charging in victoriously to knock down a dozen of the Japanese before the formation escaped when American gas ran low. On Big Ben all bands breathed a sigh of relief and grati- tude to the boys of Fighting Thirteen. In CIC Lt. David .Al- len, Evaluation Officer, was busy until laic that night tabu- lating reports from the other air grou|)s for a final tally of the day ' s work. o4 Japanese planes had spun into the water, shattered by .American steel. Big Ben ' s guns had accounted for one and her fighters had shot down 29. The Enterprise air grouji had knocked down 27. with the remainder going to the smaller airgroups on the San Jacinto and Belleuu Wood. Heavy strikes were again launched at the Manila Bay area on October 16th, concentrating on shipping. The Japanese defenders strove desperately to protect the ships which were the life-blood of their Empire. Oscar and Zeke fighters trail- ed re turning strikes. ho])ing to pick off cripples, or circled above the oncoming formations of carrier planes, striving to draw ofl fighter escorts so that other Zekes could |)ick off unprotected dive-bombers and torpedo planes. Sometimes this worked and then the gunners in the .Avengers and Hell- divers had opportunity to show their mettle. ,A number of them were credited with shooting down Jap fighters. Yet at day ' s end the hulks of half-sunken ships dotted the shallow water of Manila Harbor and clouds of smoke poured from the stricken installations. That night 30 of the Enterprise planes striking .Manila lost their way in the dusk. They were heard on the radio and finally located, but when they had been directed to the task group it was dark and many had barely enough gas to land aboard. It was urgent to gel them down; every carrier in the force advised the Big E that they were ready to commence landing operations. .As the tired warbirds came down to the dim-lit flight decks pathetic messages could be heard on the radio; " This is Bea er Two. Am making water landing. Out. " " Gas enough for one more circle. Can you give me a flag, [deasey ' One Helldiver. blinded in the darkness, flew full into the side of the Helleau Wood and exploded. Half a dozen others crashed in the sea and the indefatigable de- stroyers commenced searching for survivors. Big Ben took eight planes aboard; the pilots and ai;- crewmen stumbled out. exhausted. It had been Irving for all hands while those big black planes were bumping down on the flight deck in the dark. The Big E was grateful: " ' e thank you for your prompt response to eniergencv X ednes- dav night. Your close cooperation much appreciated. " On the next dav ccurred another incident that might have had tragic consequences. Lt. J. B. " Johiuiy " Johnson, of Fighting Thirteenth, was wounded over the target and the landing gear of bis Hellcat so badly damaged that it could nut In ' lowered, lie came back with his strike, barely enough iias to make the ship, and requested permission to make a crash landing on deck. Admiral Davison, knowing that might A Jap merchantman at Manila takes one on its fantail disable the flight deck and prevent the scheduled strikes from leaving, ordered a water landing ahead of a screening destroyer. The answer came back: " Right arm wounded. Hatch fouled. Will not be able to open cockpit cover. " Comdr. Taylor spoke quickly to the Admiral. " It ' s sui- cide, sir, for that boy to land out there. I ' ll take the respon- sibility for the flight deck. " Even as Admiral Davison assen ted, the cool voice on the radio spoke: " Enough gas for this circle only. Can you give me a green flag? " Franklin ' s engines churned full speed, and a forty knot gale swept the deck as the captain held her into the wind. The green flag went up. Every man on the ship watched with bated breath for they knew the danger of that landing to ship and plane. Fire-fighting crews, first aid men, damage control boys stood by. The men on the barriers were tense at their posts. Down glided the Hellcat in a beautiful approach. The tail- hook caught a wire and the plane slid along on its belly to rest gently against the first barrier. Lt. Johnson, with two Jap planes to his credit, emerged shaken but ready to fly again tiie next day. But that was the day, another of heavy air action over Manila, that Lt. Eric Magnussen, of Vir- ginia, Minnesota, probably the oldest combat pilot in the Navy, was missing in action. " Maggie, " after shooting two Zekes down that day, headed his damaged Hellcat for Big Ben but was never seen again. Now, while the flattops pounded the Japanese bases in the Philippines, and the tempo increased to the fury of pre- invasion assault, the mighty fleet of transports, battleships, escort carriers, all the Seventh Fleet, drew near Leyte. The historic moment arrived, on October 21st, 1944, as the troops of the Sixth Army poured ashore and the colors of America arose once more over the island where freedom had been crushed for three long years. A ]iromise had been redeemed. Task Group 38.4 withdrew to refuel on October 22nd. leaving the Luzon post to another force. This message from President Roosevelt to Admiral Halsey was received: " The country has followed ivith pride the magnificent sweep of your fleet into enemy ivaters, in addition to the gallant fighting of your fliers. We appreciate the en- durance and super seamanship of your forces . . . To the officers and men of all services who have carried the fight to the enemy — Well Done. " Between October 9th and October 20th the task group had flown 1677 sorties over enemy targets, shot down 182 enemy aircraft, destroyed 197 on the ground, probably destroyed 87. It had lost twenty-three aircraft in combat ; seventeen pilots and eleven aircrewmen were missing in action. It had sunk 37 Japanese vessels larger than one thousand tons and badly damaged 38 others. Of these totals Big Ben ' s Air Group Thirteen had taken its full share. CHAP I K R E I (; II I " ... ' never forge! iiluit the captain told lis the oilier evening; and I guess I won ' t let my grandchildren forget, either . . . And I don ' t think many of us ivill ever forget that Jn i named inn. the little yellow pilot that laid his Zeke on our flight deck. But that didn ' t slop Big Ben ... " BATTLE FOR LEYTE GULF Admiral Davison ' s klagshii ' . Fnuiklin. and the ships ol Task Group 38.4 withdrew to the westward on October 22nd to replenish supplies since bombs were low and the su])j)ly of torpedoes nearly exhausted. Task Groups 38.2 and 38.3 were now in the seas off Luzon and Leyte. supporting the doughboys of the Sixth Army. Task Group 38.1. with the brand-new carrier Ticonderoga, was on a course from Uiithi to the Philippines. Admiral Halsey knew that the next move was up to the Japanese Navy. The airfields for a thousand miles north ot Leyte were out of commission for weeks and the important Philippines ' bases were under daily attack from carrier bombers. The vital shipping lanes over which reinforcements must come to Yamashita ' s soldiers were under constant at- tack. Within a few weeks new airfields hacked from the Leyte jungles would be havens for the land-based Fifth and Thir- teenth Army Air Forces. If the Philippines — and the Fm- pire — were to be saved it was up to the big, black battle- wagons and flat-tops of the Imperial Navy to smash the .American Fleet. Their aim must be to isolate the 200,000 in- vading Yankee soldiers so the defending Nipponese Army could cut them to pieces. The Japanese plan of battle was simple in conception and held the threat of disaster to the .American forces. It was the old pincer movement. From the northern tip of Luzon to the southern end of Mindanao there are a thousand miles of island-dotted ocean — the Philip|)ine Archipelago. There are two ])assages by which a fleet might cross the island chain; Suragaio Straits. between Leyte Gulf and the South China Sea: the Straits of San Bernardino, between Luzon and .Saniar. 100 miles north of Leyte Gulf, where the hundreds of American trans|jorts and supply ships now lay. The Japanese First Fleet, two battleshi])s. half a dozen cruisers and screening destroyers, would force its way through the Suragaio Straits and fall upon the transports The Japane.se Second Fleet, two super-battleships, the ) anuito and Musashi. three older battleshi|)s. with a dozen destroyers and ten cruisers would drive through the San Ber- nardino Straits, and cut Leyte ' s supply line to Uiithi. The Japanese Third Fleet, two battleships, four carriers, eight cruisers, and six destroyers, would proceed southward from Japan and lay a hundred miles to the west of Leyte, support- ing the other two fleets by drawing off any American carrier assaults. Probably the Jajsanese admiral expected some as- sistance from land-based aircraft in the Philip]jines. It was a desperate gamble of a Navy for an Empire. Weighed against it in the scales of war were the Third and Seventh United States Fleets. During the night of October 23rd the fateful word Hashed to Big Ben ' s radio room from submarines in the China Sea that the Japanese Navy was on the move and that strong units of the enemy fleet were approaching the Philippines. Task Group 38.4 wheeled and steamed westward, flank sjjeed. At dawn ten search-attack grou|)s, six Hellcats and six bomli- ers to a team, were thrown west. Four of the assault teams came from Big Ben. Over a radius of 325 miles they ranged, covering the island areas and waterways of southern Samar, northern Leyte. Celiu, Negros, and Panay. No major forma- tion of the enemy fleet were sighted, but near Pucio Point. Panay. two destroyers and a cruiser were located. Lt. Dick Harding and Lt. ' " Fats " Miller joined their attack groups and thundered down to hit the Japs with rockets, bombs, and machine gun fire. The cruiser heeled over and sank. The destroyers ere blazing and listing heavily when the attack ended. Later in the day main unit of the Jajjanese Second Fleet uere sighted moving throuiih Tablas Straits. 1.50 miles from . J lip deslraytT. hit. is shaken by a close one from one of Big Hen ' s smrrh-nttdck planes . . . Ocloher 2Uh San Bernardino. There were at least five battleships, nine cruisers, and a dozen destroyers. Immediately, at 1 :30 p.m. a heavy deckload — twelve bombers, ten torpedo planes and ten Hellcats — armed with rockets and bombs, sped off to at- tack. From 14.000 feet the Franklin jjlanes sighted the en- emy, moving ill two groups about eight miles apart, south of Sibuyan Island. The northeast group, in compact forma- tion, was steaming westward at top speed. The southern group of ten or twelve warships, was milling in circles as though under air attack. Comdr. Richard Kibbe, who had recently become Air Group Thirteen " s commander, directed the attack at the bat- tleships of the northern group. In the face of a heavy flak barrage thrown up by the enemy, who was firing even his sixteen-inch guns. Big Bens warplanes thundered down. The battleship Musashi, hit by two heavy bombs, staggered out of line, smoking. After many hits later during that day. the Musashi sank. The battleship Yanuito. also hit. twisted and turned to dodge the armor piercing missiles. Two cruisers were bard hit and one was left dead in the water. A light cruiser, struck by a single torpedo, drop])ed by Lt. (jg) R. Q. Ransom, exploded violently and sank in seconds. That was one of the luckiest hits of the war. Lt. Ransom, under a hail of fire, was dodging in on a Jap battlewagon when he dropped his fish. A light cruiser, whipping along at 30 knots, ran in between and took it squarely. A magazine must have exploded because it sank almost instantly. Of the 32 attacking planes, two were shot down and four teen damaged. Ens. Robert Freligh and his gunner, Sam Plonsky, were later reported safe in the hands of friendly Filipinos, after the crash of their shell-torn bomber. Lt. (jg) Marshall D. Barnett. lad from dusty Texas, and a peel of stature, was lost in action with his gunner. Leonard Pick ens. of New Concord. Ohio. Their Helldiver went down near the Japanese fleet. While this attack was in progress reports arrived of a powerful enemy carrier force, the Japanese Third Fleet, moving southward from 200 miles east of Cape Escarpado, on the north tip of Luzon. Franklin s group was passing Leyte Gulf, standing north to join Task Groups 38.2 and Jup super-battleship Yanioto, firing all guns, liiisis ivildly to escape. 38.3, both of wliich were now under heavy air attack from the Japanese Third Fleet ' s ])lanes — in this action tlie light carrier Princeton was lost. Admiral Halsey had decided quickly. He was hurrying the ta.sk groups of his Third Fleet northward to engage this new threat, leaving the seven old battleships with their escorting cruisers and deslrovers. along with Admiral Kinkaids baby flat-tops, to protect the shipping in Leyte (jull. So in the evening of October 24th, Fmnklin and her com- rades were speeding northward. {)ast the escort carriers cruis- ing 50 miles of! the entrance to Leyte Gulf, for a rendezvous with the other groups. During the night two more new battle- ships joined her screen — now boasting the super-battle- wagons South Dakota, Alabama, and Washington. That night the search planes kept contact with the Jajj carrier task force until 3:30 a.m. An hour before dawn the bugles called battle stations; the Japs were somewhere to the north, about 100 miles away. Half an hour later a sixteen plane combat air patrol was iaunclied; at 6:3(1 twelve bomb- ers and eight tor|)edo planes took the sky to lly northward. They had orders to circle at a distance of ,50 miles from liig Ben while awaiting word from the search ])laiics which were now combing the ocean. Meanwhile, a second deckload ol bondiers and fighters was armed. At 7:30 the Japanese I ' leet was sighted, M) miles east ol Franklin s circling l)ombers. There were four carriers, the y.uikiiku, C.hitosv, Zuiho, and Chiyoda. Two battleships with Might decks, the Hyugu aiid Ise, steamed with them, sur rounded by a dozen cruisers and destroyers. The orders were Hashed out for attack. Hellcats from another air group hur- ried to the scene to cover Big Ben ' s airmen as they hurtled in. Seventeen enemy fighters were in the air over their car- riers and they fought desperately to save them. An Avengei piloted by Ens. Thomas P. Brooks, Jr., of Concord, Mass., w ith aircrewman Harold J. Shane, of York, Pa., and Francis J. Ploger, of (Jrand Rapids. Mich., spun down to the sea in a fatal water landing. But the bombers bored in. A few min- utes before u:00, Comdr. Kibbe ' s voice on the radio said: " We are going down on a big carrier. Looks like it ' s trying to turn into the wind to launch. " The voices on the radio w I he Jupuiifse I ' hird Fleet, under heavy air iittaek. throws Uj) flak . . . The currier to the lejl is hard hit faded as the bombers went into their dive. Tense minutes passed. Then pride leaped in every heart as a voice from the radio said: " Check off one big fiat-top that just spun in. ' Later, back on the ship, Comdr. Kibbe, in one of his reports to Franklins crew, told how Lt. Skinner, Lt. Swede Hal- strom, Lt. Broach, Lt. Hoyt and half a dozen other dive- bomber pilots had scored direct hits on the big carrier. For a few minutes it had seemed indestructible. Then, almost too suddenly, the Zuiho sank. Over the radio came reports from the south. The old bat tieships and destroyers of the Seventh Fleet, aided by PT boats, had nearly annihilated the Japanese First Fleet, of two battleships, some cruisers and destroyers that had been engaged while trying to force the Suragaio Straits during The Japanese carrier Chitose, ju st before she went down. . . 4 Big Bens Bombers helped sink her The Chitose was sunk by planes from Big Ben and other air groups from the task force . . . This picture was taken by plane from Enterprise, shortly before she ivas struck on starboard side, aft, by another torpedo . . . Two bomb hits may be observed in deck and another hit aft, with fire hose in use tlie niglit. Few Japanese warships siirvivt ' d this action, lint the Japanese Second Fleet, that had lu ' cri pounded hy air- craft from Big Ben and other llat-tops the preeedinji after- noon, came on through the Straits of San Hernanlino — miiiiis a battleship and several cruisers — and was now drawing within gun range of tiie lightly protected escort carriers. The hahy llat-tops. with only destroyers in the screen, few planes aboard, and low on honihs. were in a desperate position. The heavy guns of the l)altleshii)s coulil sink a dozen small carriers in as many niitnites. Admiral Halsey dispatched Task Group 38.1, which was nearing the Philip])ines, to their aid. Word was soon received that an attack had been launched against the Jap battlewagons which would hit the Nips at about 1 :00 p.m. In the meantime, the Near miss on Jap destroyer, uhile i lifilit cruiser suerves jrantically. all guns blazing . . . Fifteen minutes later the destroyer was sunk by one of Franklin ' s bombs, delivered by Lt. ijg) Harding, of Bombing Thirteen ► : , ' Ihese three liids. shot down near the Jap Third Fleet, were not found when rescue planes reached the scene destroyers and the few planes of the escort carriers were putting up one of the most heroic battles of the war. Three of those destroyers and two destroyer escorts went to their deaths in the unequal struggle, but they did not die in vain. Months later, after the surrender of Japan, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, commander of the Japane se Second Fleet, confessed that, incredible as it may seem, his enemy fleet of two dozen major warships was turned back at 11:00 a.m. by damage suffered from the torpedoes of seven Ameri- ican destroyers escorting the baby flat-tops and bombs from the escort carrier ' s planes — as well as the fear of further attacks. Assault groups from other flat-tops of the Third Fleet were now over the stricken Japanese carrier group 300 miles north of Leyte Gulf, and 75 miles from Big Ben. By the end of an hour everv carrier in the force was hard hit. burning, or on Comdr. It . 1 . -Wild Bill " Coleman, hard -thing skippei of Fighting Thirteen the bottom. Cruisers were flaming; tiie two old battleships and one cruiser were steaming frantically northward. The destroyers milled around aimlessly, some trying to pick up Japanese sailors, now floating in the sea by hundreds. The seven fast l)attlewagons of the Third Fleet, detached from the carriers, were straining ahead at thirty knots, eager to bring the Japs to a battle which could have but one con- clusion. At 10:00 a.m. came radar warning of a large flight of en- emy aircraft approaching, 100 miles to the south. These, it was learned later, were the Jap carrier planes that sent the Princeton to the bottom ofl ' Luzon the day before. They had landed on Luzon and were flying out to rejoin their carriers. 30 Hellcats roared south to meet them, but the Ja]) planes were evidently in radio contact with their fleet. Before the Hellcats sighted them, they reversed course and turned south out of range, apparently informed of the disaster to their floating bases. At noon, 30 more bombers and fighters took off from Big Ben ' s flight deck to add to the destruction. But now the calls for aid from the south were urgent. Admiral Halsey turned the heavy new- battleships, then only 40 miles from their quarry, with the carriers and destroyers of Task Group 38.2 to aid the embattled baby flat-tops of the Seventh Fleet. At 1 :30 Franklin s fourth strike cleared the deck. The Jap- anese ships were in a panic-stricken condition. Undamaged vessels steamed desperately at high speed, on independent courses, in any direction to get out of range of the bombers. Damaged ships, listing heavily, circled wildly, all guns fir- ing, with no effort at mutual support. Here and there two or three destroyers, or a destroyer and a burning cruiser, steam- ed in formation using their guns to best advantage. It was a wild, desperate, confused battle. And it cost the dive-bomb- ing squadron from Big Ben heavily, for Lt. John H. Finrow, a University of ashington boy, who had flown 31 missions, went down in his Helldiver with his gunner, Henry E. Borja, the lad his shipmates called " Hank. " Lt. (jg) D. A. McPhie, recommended for the Navy Cross and two Air Medals, died that day with his gunner, R. D. Chandler, a boy from old .Alabama. It would have been " Mac ' s " last mission, had he returned. Yet there was one thing certain about that battle. Squad- ron after squadron of America ' s finest air groups kept fill- ing the sky above the fleeing Japanese. As soon as the air group of one carrier had delivered its attack, the planes of another would come flashing down to attack. Through the afternoon the battle continued. Even Comdr. Coleman, of Fighting Thirteen, could only shake his head in the ward- room that night and say, " I wouldn ' t have believed it if I hadn ' t been there. I don ' t know half what happened and I was there all day. Theyll never get all of this one in their history books. " . s evening drew near, two cruisers and a destroyer — one cruiser limping — were all that remained of the force. The two battleships, one damaged, with no destroyer escort, were 100 miles north, fleeing at their best speeds. They would run the gauntlet of a dozen American submarines posted in their path. That night a submarine reported five torpedo hits on one and when last seen it was dead in the water. Admiral Davison asked for any carrier with a dozen fighter planes and a clear flight deck to volunteer for a rocket-armed sweep to get one of the cruisers. Big Ben ' s flight deck was crowded with the last returning strike, but the Enterprise volunteered. Half an hour later the proud voice of the strike leader from the Big E could be heard over the radio: " ' Hello, Badger. This is Dodger Four. Break out the beer. ' e just sank a cruiser. " Badger was Admiral Davison ' s radio call. The Admiral answered personally: " This is the Badger, himself. Great going. ell have the band waiting for you. " Now. as the sun dipped into the sea on the Japanese Im- perial Navy ' s last day on the Pacific, cruisers from the Third Fleet drew near to finish the cripples. The .•Xir Coordinator, still flying over the scene, directed them to the targets. His voice could be heard on the radio, though the cruisers were not audible. The airman ' s voice was clear and cold. ' " Can ' t see ' em, eh? Do you see me? " " Well, watch these black bursts now . . . " " See " em? . . . ' I ' liat ' s the way lo llic cruisers, boys . . . ' " He was flying down over llie Japs, drawing their fire, and the hursts of flak in the evening sky directed the American warships to their targets. A hrave man w-as Rocket 77. Before the moon rose the last Jaj)anese warship of tht group was on tlie muddy bottom of tiie Pacific, smashed by crui.ser gunfire. As the task grouj) steamed south. Jap de- struction coniph ' lc 111 liic ninili. the captain spoke solciiiiiU and proudly to iiig Beifs tense crew: " You will never forget today. Today. Oclohcr 2Sth. 1911. we luive defeated the Japanese Navy in one of the decisive sea battles of history . . . " " Tlieii he turned the speaker over to tlie fliers who had cliinlied from Franklin ' s deck. ' lien the men off watch that night rolled into tlieir liunks they uere as jiroud as (Captain Shoemaker — they had ])ut those planes in tlie air and kept " em there . . . October 26th was spent in contacting tiie tanker group and refueling. Meantime complete reports were pouring ii; of the far-flung Battle for Leyte Gulf. The Japanese Second Fleet, attacking Vice Admiral Kinkaid ' s escort carriers, withdrew at the last moment, after sinking the Gambier Bay, two de- stroyers, and three destroyer escorts. The Japanese admiral had reached his decision at 11 a.m. and steamed north to San Bernardino, passing through the strait at midnight, ev- ery ship in his squadron damaged by destroyer torpedoes or air attack. As the fast battleships of the United States Third Fleet passed the straits at 1 :00 a.m. only one crippled Japanese cruiser lagged behind. It disintegrated .so swiftly under the sixteen-inch guns of the super-battleships that not until some of the stunned survivors were pulled out of the water was it known to be a cruiser and not a destroyer. To pursue the group of enemy warships into the heavily mined straits would be imprudent, so . dmiral Halsey contented himself with launching heavy air assaults over the escape route through the islands. The Japanese force beaten in the Suragaio S traits had truly been annihilated. Only one crippled battleship made its way back into the Sibuyan Sea and it was sunk by air attack before Admiral Kinkaid could " take a jiicture of the darn thing. " As a fighting force the Imperial Japane. e Navy had ceased to exist. MacArthur ' s beachheads were secure and no power on the face of the earth could stop America ' s re- conquest of the Philippines. Franklin and Task Group 38.4 steamed baik lo the Leyte area the next day. furnishing combat air patrol for the trans- ports in the Gulf, and launching search sweeps for Ja|)anese warships still trying to escape. Sixteen Hellcats, each armed with a . " SOO-pound bomb, located a cruiser of the Aoba class uith two destroyers, south of the island of IMindoro. P ' our direct bomb hits and fourteen rockets were slammed into the cruiser. It was left blazing, leaking steam, and listing heav- ily to port. The two destroyers were damaged. Halt an hour later another fighter sweep, launched by the Enter prisr. ar- rived to finish them ofl. The two destroyers were still there, one already abandoned by its crew. The cruiser was never seen again, almost certainly sent to the bottom by Big Ben " s strike. The airmen from the Big F. made strafing runs o ei the destroyers, leaving them both sinking. Ll. J. B. Johnson, coming ihrouiih hatch on the Flight deck of the Franklin . . . Johnny ' s experiences were so numerous and unusual that Ouentin Reynolds wrote him up in a Collier ' s article During the 2;!th and 29th of October heavy calls were placed on the Fleet ' s fighter squadrons by MacArthur " s em- battled forces. Gombat air patrol was llown over Leyte. and searches were conducted off the island of Samar for carrier pilots shot down in the previous actions. The Hellcats shot down eight Oscars and one Zeke which were trying to attack the transports in Leyte Gulf. ' eather was rainy and the new- ly constructed airfields at Dulag and Tacloban on Leyte were in poor condition. Crack-ups were frequent on the muddy fields, and often grounded pilots were under bombing attack as the Japs continued to slip in groups of bombers to strike the invasion forces. Oil the evening of the 28th, six of Franklin ' s patrolling Hellcats attacked twelve Jap fighter planes at dusk. ' hen the Oscars had been driven away. Big Ben " s airmen were forced Flight ileck en-US arming a deekloiid . . . . ote rorAv .s being Itiacled ( n Hellcats . . . Air Group 13 was One of first to use this weapon against Japanese to land as best they could on the airfield at Dulag while it was under attack. Later all made their way back to the ship. except Lt. (jg) Robert F. Brooks. One wheel of his Hellcat had been shot away; he bailed out over Leyte Gulf near land, but was not found. It took twelve of them to get Bobby. . . . The same day, a sad one for Big Ben, Lt. Raymond B. Cook ' s Helldiver failed to return. Ray Cook, of Palmyra, N. Y., and his gunner, ' illiam B. Butler, of Cincinnati, Ohio, were marked missing. Also night fighter Warren Wolf, of White Plains, N. Y., on being catapulted into the darkness to intercept a Jap bomber, spun directly into the sea. Warren, a handsome, cheerful boy, who grinned at danger, was car- ried under the water by his plane; of Lt. Wineger ' s three night chicks only one was left now — Tony Martin. A message from General MacArthur to the fleet on Oc- tober 29th said that the Army now has established its air forces on Leyte and would assume all responsibility for bombing island targets. Navy planes would attack island targets only when permission had been obtained from the Army. However, during the following morning, there were numerous reports of enemy aircraft and the combat air patrol had been busy. None had closed within 30 miles of the task group, but the double watch was set on the guns. At 2:00 p.m. the radio room reported a fleet tanker force 50 miles away under air attack; Franklin at once launched twelve Hellcats to go to its aid. Hardly had they left the deck when a small group of Jap planes, which the combat patrol had been chasing for the last half-hour, appeared near the formation. They had originally been detected 75 miles to the northwest, high in the air: the combat air patrol, guided out to intercept, failed to spot the deceptively camouflaged Japanese planes. All the way in to the ship the fighters had flown within a mile or two of the enemy, but unable to register a " Tallyho. " Now. at ten miles, they were visible to the task group, three or four thousand feet in the air. The destroyer Bagley, fueling alongside, cast off at 2:17 p.m. The cruisers and destroyers of the screen closed in tight around the carriers, Franklin, Enterprise, Belleau Wood, and San Jacinto. The course was changed ninety degrees to the left, putting the attack on the sterns of the flattops. Now, at six miles, every five-inch in the formation opened up and the black bursts of exploding shells began to spot the sky around the Japs. One minute later, two miles away, the six enemy planes nosed over in their dives. Two hundred forty mm. muzzles took up the battle and [ e|)per-like dots covered the western sky. Finally the twenty ' s ojjened as the Japs whipped close. A Judy bomber, in flames, dove at Big Ben and missed, crashing in the water amidships, starboard. His bombs and plane exploded on impact with the water and the big flat- top shook with the concussion. Now a Zeke came slanting . suicide plane thai missed has just exploded in the water li lii lien . . miss, hurtles down at the flii ht deck, U ' ith Franklin s u,unners shiiiiiini . hid her. in fliuues. ihiil will nut al him erer inch ij the i( av- (lowti ill ;i suicidal |iluiif;f. at over llircc liiindiril miles an hour. ISig Ben ' s yuniiers luinj; jrrinily to their mounts, lirinp to the hist. Fhimini!;, the pilot dead at his controls, tracers il|i|]lni; liiiles in the plane, nothing seemed aide to slop it. Down into Franklin ' s llij;hl deck it dove, lieside the after end of the island. terrific explosion shook the slii|) and she lurched in ai;onized protest. A mighty cloud of smoke and lire shot up from the thirty-foot crater in the flight deck, flames licking swiftly at the nearl)y planes on the hangar and flight decks. Gunners at their stations were Idinded hy the fumes, scorched hy the llames; two dozen men had al- ready died. A third plane, anolher Judy. svve])t low over Big Ren. dropping his lOOO-pound liomli, but this one missed — missed the island by feet and exploded in the sea. The Jap, still un- der heavy fire from Big Ben ' s forward batteries, swerved his plane to the left and crashed on the Might deck of the BeUeuu W ood. Two more suicide planes dived at the San Jacinto, but both missed. The final Jap aimed at the Enterprise but was blasted by Big Ben ' s gunners and the ships of the screen, exploding in mid-air. Thus ended the first Kamikaze ' " suicide " " attack on major United States warships. On the Franklin gunners stood doggedly by their mounts, choking in the thick sray smoke, awaiting the next attack. CK " , was out of commission. Init the crew stood by. while I.t. Vic Buhl and his technicians fought through darkened con- fusion to get the vital radars searching again. Electricians labored over their control boards, trying to clear them of faults. L ' nder the cool direction of (!omdr. Benjamin Moore and (iomdr. Le Favour, the Damage (!onlrol Department, assisted by hundreds of willing hands, sprang into action. Hoses appeared magically on the flight and hangar decks. Sprinkler curtains erected walls of water on the hangar deck, isolating the burning area. Foam extinguishers and fog noz- zles in the hands of the fire-fighters, beat back the flames. Flight deck crews jetlisoned dozens of planes, before fire could reach their hundreds of gallons of gasoline. Fire mar- shals Caldwell and Graham, with the officers and men of the repair parties, ignoring all dangers, had the fire under con- trol after forty-five minutes of desperate fighting. Twenty minutes after the explosion, while courageous parties of men were groping through the smoke and water that had gained access to the lower decks, searching for trapped comrades, trying to clear the passages down to the engineering spaces of water, another awful explosion wrenched the decks. Gasoline from wrecked planes on the flight and hangar decks, leaking through a damaged bomb elevator, had reached the third and fourth decks. Vaporizing, it had exploded. The second explosion warped and twisted steel bulkheads, hurled men helter-skelter, killing many by concussion alone. .So perished Joseph Esslinger. machinists ♦ FIdcli hursls (1(1 llic sky, as a third stiicidc plane, over Franklin, drops liis hori ' h it missed hy jeet — hejore lie dires into the Belleau If Ood ' s deck mate first class, of Baltimore, Md., who went back into the flooded machine shop to help his friends. Musician Drew Widener died in that blast, as did Robert N. Orr, shipfitter first class, who had earned Captain Shoemaker ' s first com- mendation award while on the shakedown cruise, for putting out a dangerous fire. Bob Orr died because he was too brave to live. He rushed forward fearlessly into the spreading flames with an inadequate hose. Chief Machinist ' s Mate Rid- dle, pressing into the smoke and water on the third deck, was caught in this second blast and badly burned, as were many of his fellows in the Engineer Repair Party, under Lt. Fitz- gerald. Others, like Lt. (jg) Thomas Mclntyre. soft-spoken dentist of Minneapolis, with his pharmacist ' s mates and stretcher bearers, had died at their battle stations, directly in the path of the Kamikaze. Scores were painfully burned; many dangerously wounded. Big Ben listed to starboard under the weight of the water being thrown on the fir es from scores of high pressure hoses. Damage Control Central Station fought a losing battle to keep her on an even keel. Stretchers loaded with men burned agonizingly, but uncomplaining, were gently carried through the dim, murky passageways to the battle dressing stations in the island and the wardroom where Comdr. Smith ' s Medi- cal Department labored. Overhead, slim P-38 ' s from Geiieral MacArthur ' s airfield, sent out to cover the task group, provided against further attacks. The Belleau Wood and Franklin were still fighting fires whose columns of smoke could be seen from the nearby land. The San Jacinto and Enterprise stood by with combat air patrols; the battleship South Dakota and cruisers New Orleans and Diloxi, with the destroyers of the screen, lay in close with their hundreds of guns slanted upwards. With CIC again in commission, reports were coming of other enemy planes closing the task group but they failed to reach their objectives, being turned back or shot down by patrol planes. When dark came, hundreds of men had distinguished Cruiser gunners watch tensely, Franklin and Belleau JVood in flames, awaiting further attacks ihcmsplvcs by their work in conquering tlie damaging fires. I ' il ' ty-foiir men were dead, three more would not live through the night; sixty wounded filled the dressing stations. The liight deck had a thirty-foot hole; the after elevator was warped hy the force of the explosion. Large areas of the second and third decks were covered with water two or more feet deep, trapping Lt. Comdr. Greene and his hun- dreds of engineers for more than five hours. The third and fourth decks amidslii|)s were twisted and broken: steel jtlalcs were buckled and torn; stout doors and bulkheads were crumpled. The entire ship, spotlessly clean that morning, was covered with a thick film of black soot. Men worked all night pumping water out of flooded spaces, s alvaging equip- ment, making Big Ben habitable again. After many hours of efi ort, with the ship on an even keel again, the task group joined the tanker fleet on October 31st and refueled. The next day, with 13 Hellcats, 15 Helldivers and 4 Aven- gers aboard and still operational, Franklin and the Brllcau Wood, escorted by destroyers, retired to Ulithi for repairs that would fit them for further operations. Admiral Davison transferred Iiis flag to the Enterprise. hen Big Ben steamed slowly into the choppy waters of Ulithi Harbor, where hundreds of warships lay at anchor, to drop her hook a few hundred yards from the hospital shi]) Solace, the crew of a fighting comrade, the JJSS Wasp. manned the rail and gave three cheers, the highest com- jiliment that one man-o " -war can pav another. The carrier Xdssati sent the following despatch: ■ " Deem it an honor to be anchored in the same harbor Fif hlinp flames on jlijihl deck All with Franklin. Congratulations on ' one swell job. ' best wishes for the future. " From Admiral Nimitz to the U.S. Pacific Fleet: " It can be announced with assurance that the Japanese Navy has been lieaten, routed, and broken by the Third and Seventh Fleets. " Men lifted off their sooty helmets, washed their grimy, blackened faces: spoke sadly but proudly of comrades who had died at their battle stations. Flames roar on Franklin s deck . . . Fortunately planes, though gassed, were not armed Fire still smoulders in llw gallery deck . . . Through hole in the flight deck, fire-fighters pour on more water » » » % i - ' 4SUiJ 1 m ■ m ■ - [• i Force of the gasoline explosion wrenched steel doors lower decks were flooded to depth of two feet C H A P T K K NINE " . . . stepped on to the dock and jusl looked at those big, blue mountains. Kopec, the big Slav mech behind me, said it for all of us: leesus, don ' t it look beautiful! ' ... " ' ' There teas real milk, and real girls — American girls . . . We were home, just for a liule while, until the navy yard patched us up, but home ... " BIG BEN SPENDS CHRISTMAS AT HOME Big Essex class carriers, bearing the brunt of the sea war, were desperately needed in the Tliird Fleet. If repairs to the (light deck could be made by the hull repair ship, Jason, Big Ben could operate for several months before returning to Pearl Harbor or the United States. As soon as the big auxil- iary could get u]) steam she came alongside, bringing dozens of crack repair crews to survey the wreckage, and repair the damage. Captain Lesile E. Gehres reported aboard November 2nd, 1944. In the temporary rank of Commodore he had directed all naval air units in the Aleutian campaign, during two years " service in the North Pacific theater, as commander of ■r . 1 -|i|. it: h A:7lf »- ' v The rni.sliiriii K(iniil, i-r suiciilc i)!(i!ir tihisti ' d a hui p crater in the fliiilit deck This was too big a job for the limited repair jacilities ui Ulithi The gunners who manned these badly scorched mounts fired to the last, as the Kamikaze flamed in Captain Shoemaker, left, sadly relinquishes command of Bii; Ben to Captain Gehres (at Microphon-e) Patrol Wing Four. V( itli service in tlie Navy since 1917. a naval aviator since 1927, he had climhed from enlisted rank to command by sheer ability. ' hen o|iportuniiity oflered lie cheerfully gave up his temporary rank of Commodore that he might command the Franklin, hardly a year old — the first skipper to rise from the ranks to the command of a firsl- line carrier. Captain Shoemaker had orders to proceed to the Philip pines whore he would command all aval . ir Bases in the liberated area. On November 7th, on the battle-scarred hangar deck, in the gray light from Ulithi ' s cloudy sky, that filtered down through the bomb crater. Captain Shoemaker sadly relin- quished command of Big Ben, with a word of farewell to the men who had served with him, Captain Gehres, a tall, hand- some, powerfully-built man, of erect military bearing, ac- cepted his grave responsibility with modesty and determina- tion. The crew stood in ranks while the new commanding officer made his first inspection. Other battle-tired warships of Task Group 38.4 anchored in Ulithi during the next days. Battles for control of the Philippines sky still raged and two task groups were fighting alongside MacArthur " s newly-arrived air forces to stem the menace of Japanese Kamikaze planes — suicide dives were now an accepted method of attack. During the brief period after October 29th when the Army had assumed all respon- sibility for air control, 30,000 Japanese troops had landed on Leyte to reinforce Yamashita ' s men. The Navy was brought back into the fight. Crews from the repair ship, after assessing the shattered decks, decided that it would require all available steel stock and more than a month to put Big Ben temporarily back in the fighting line. Ulithi ' s limited facilities must be kept available for quick repair of ships which would return to action in weeks. Franklin must go back to Pearl Harbor. Admiral Halsey. with officers of his stafi " , visited Big Ben before she sailed. Men eagerly thronged the deck to glimpse this legendary warrior, in his crumpled khaki uniform, shirt open at the throat, with the four silver stars of a full Ad- miral on his cap. Comdr. Moore showed the Admiral over the torn decks for an hour, and talked of the ship. When Admiral Halsey departed he had the highest praise for the conduct of Franklin and her men. in battle and after. His autographed photograph inscribed : ' ' To Franklin and her splendid crew, " became a ship ' s treasure. The night before Big Ben sailed for Pearl, sad news came from the fleet. The carrier Lexington, flagship, had been hit by a Kamikaze, which crashed on the bridge, kill- ing scores. The carrier. Intrepid, fighting off attack, was struck by another suicide plane that flamed into a row of machine guns and killed twenty-five of the men behind them Neither of the giant carriers were damaged seriously enough to come out of the line but crew replacements were urgently needed. Franklin would not be in combat for some time so Comdr. Moore must reluctantly pick three ofiicers and 103 men to reinforce them. It was a hard choice. Ens. ynn and Lt. Ijg) Mathieson, communicators, and Lt. Mike P ' inlay. photographic interpreter, with 103 men, were regretfully Captain Gehres, accompanied by (.nidr. Moore, the " Exec " inspects his veteran crew for the fi rsl t une selected. Sad groups were standing by the gangway at dusk, their friends around them, waiting for tiie lioals tliat would take them away. One young seaman hid on tlie fantail for hours until the perspiring boatswains mate delivered the unwelcome orders. None wished to leave the ship they had come to love; and on the eve of her possible return to llic States, it was doubly bitter. Recreation jiarties visited the island of Mog Mog. It was at Mog Mog that Franklin ' s men enjoyed their own band, played in the sand, swam, drank their rations of beer and came back to the ship in the evenings, sunburned and re- laxed. The inland was a dot of palm-covered sand in the L lilhi .Atoll, with the thatched houses of its original in- habitants — several hundred South Sea Islanders — still in- tact. The natives had been removed to a larger island for the duration, and rental was paid them for the use of Mog Mog as a recreation area. Twenty-six years after the last gun ceased firing on the Western Front in that earlier World War. November 11th, 1944. Franklin and her two destroyer escorts stood east for Pearl Harbor. The Air Group men were definitely going home. Big Ben might be repaired at Pearl or she might go to a est Coast Navy Yard. The lads of the air squadrons, combat tension relieved. A liherlr on Mog Mog . . . left To RIGHT: Joseph Lafferty. Y2c, tvoundcd 19 March; Chad Howes, Y3c. Charles Eder, Y3c; Roland Dalznuin, YSc, killed in action 19 March enlivened the ship by producing a show. Abetted by that pol- ished master of the " touch rococco. " ' Lt. (jg) ' ' Uncle Joe " Stilwill, of the dour countenance and gay heart, the tanned Accompanied by a staff officer. Admiral illiam Halsey visits Big Ben; Comdr. Moure [right) is chief host f m ' ' t I tmm STANDING if ii. Barney Talbott. Ll. E. J ' . Osborne, Ens. G. Hig iris, Ens. Bill Dorie. Ens. J. M. Robbiris, Lt. Joe Maguire, Ens. Tom Lauton. Lt. ijg) Dick Huxjord. SECOND ROW: Ens. Bob Hungerford, Ens. Jim Carpenter, Ens. J. Kehoe, Ens. John McKinney, Ll. {jgj Joe Stiluill. Lt. (jg) Jim Pope, Lt. Cdr. W. " Duke " Slater, first row: Lt. Red Harris, Lt. Knute W eidman " Maud. " Lt. (jg) Bill Parsons " Mable, " " Saxy " Dowell young men whose most frequent appearances for months had been on the flight deck or over enemy targets, assisted by funloving Saxie Dowell, brought down the house — a hangar deckful of cheering sailors. ' " Uncle Joe " himself, with his droll advertisement of a too-well-known brand of tinned meat, his humorous chat- ter; the Gray-Bass Trio — Lts. Bill Dorie. " Ozzie " Osborne, and Joe Maguire — sang an old favorite with new words: " I The W arrant Officers Experts in every department, these men had a lot to do with getting those flags painted on Big Bens island structure wanted wings, until I got the doggoned tilings. " " Jumbo " Watson, the only musician in the world who played a bull fiddle under his chin; Lt. Lawton as a Jap prisoner, cap- tured in a beer barrel at the Mog Mog Officers ' Club; Knute Weidman and " Deacon " Parsons, chorus girls extraordinary; and finally, " Honeyboy " Fred Harris, with dozens of others in the " Fightronian Glee Club " , filled the evening witii laughter. SoulfuUy, to the music of " Old Man River, " Honeyboy sang of " Old Man Taylor, " a left-handed trilnite to Conidr. Joe Taylor, the Air Officer, who laughed as heartily as any of the appreciative plane-pushers. Franklin arrived at Pearl Harbor. November 21st, 1944. The navy yard, after a (]uick. ins|)ection. decided Hremerton Navy Yard was better equipjjed to make re|)airs. Details were radioed ahead and even as Big Ben steamed westward by Diamond Head the next day. machine shops of the Pugel Sound Navy ard were prei)aring for their task. Memorial services were held Sunday, November 26th, on the hangar deck, for the men of the Air Group and of the ship who had given their lives during the cruise. The rites were simple and impressive. Hymns were reverently sung led by Chaplins Chamberlin and Harkins. A prayer was of fered for the comrades who had fallen in battle and were not coming home. The roll of their names was sadly called; three volleys were fired over the Pacific in their honor. Aft er a silent prayer, the final hymn was sung. At Orchard Point, near Bremerton, after brief ceremonies, the Air Group and passengers left the shi|i. Fighting Air Group Thirteen and the men of the Franklin had been com- rades for nearly a year. Comdr. Dick Kibbe. speaking for the Air Group, recalled the days together and said " Thank you and good luck, Franklin! " ( aptain Gehres, for the people of Big Ben. ])raised the grou]) ' s brilliant combat record and wished the men who had been such splendid shi|)mates many happy landings. Since their first combat operation of July 1th. in the uhirlwiiul tein|i() of the Pacific War. Air Group Thirteen had made an enviable record. They had destroyed or dam- aged at least ' X H enemy planes, against a loss of 5. ' of their own. They had sunk 60 merchant vessels for a total of 155,- 000 tons; damaged another 66 for 158,000 tons more. They had sunk 15 Japanese warships for a total of 57.950 tons and damaged 19 others totaling 254,500 tons. The group had lost 36 pilots. 30% of the original complement; it had lost 27 aircj ewmen, 27% of the original com|)lement. ft had flown 3,971 combat sorties against the enemy. Customs inspection was brief; there had been little for- eign trade on this cruise, except in bombs and bullets. The last airman was off the ship by dark and all hands looked forward sleeplessly to the morrow. Early in the morning tugs were moving the Franklin to the navy yard. It was hard to warp the huge ship into the drydock. with the wind and tide whipping her out of |)Osi- tion and it was late in the afternoon when she rested on the blocks of Drydock 5. USS Franklin in Drydock Fiic. Hremerton Aar Yard, jor repairs. The USS Bunker Hill (on the right) receives repairs also FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: John Slrec. {killed in action 19 March); Lt. (jg) George Leitch; Lt. Comdr. Paul Speer; John Formichella; Donald Price [liounded 19 March); back row: James Klick; Charles Eder. Jr.; Wil- liam Tyree {wounded 10 March I ; Rich- ard Hand; Rolland Datznuin {killed in action 19 March) : Joseph iMfferty (u ' ounded 19 March i Chief " Mike " Gibbons and Chief Newman were head-bartenders at the CPO ' s party in Bremerton Chief Otis Lee Corbett tells another tall one iwith glass) Lt. ijg} Rilz. notcil trencht ' rnwn, visits the W arrunt ' s p irty Ship ' s cook. " BuIIitIxiII " Morrison. arid sortii ' liis siilisfifd clii ' iils III till- (.I ' D party l.t. Conulr. Gri ' i ' iii ' ( LEFT ) und Chief Boatsuain ' s Mate Gentry (right I show the ship ' s company some real " jitlerl)ii!is,ing " K Kr • " ■ mt Mi ' ■■ ■■Hu A f ' i . 1 Chief Photographer Luke Durante poses for one of himself Dr. George W. Fox (center) seems to have accidentally exchanged jackets with Chief Signalman Harry Reese ( left i Shore leave was granted at once. Men marched in forma- tion to the gate, disjiersing swiftly to dash for the nearest telephone, telegraph office or place of refreshment. The next day, half the crew — fifteen hundred men — left the ship for twenty full days of relaxation; every man had the oppor- tunity to visit his home. Puget Sound Navy Yard has one of the finest reputations for efficiency of any naval shore establishment. The men were moved off the ship to live in barracks an d thousands of workmen were busy aboard, night and day. With half the crew on leave there was much for the remainder to do: fire- watches — standing by for hours to see that a welder ' s spark did not cause a conffagration; working parties — tons of stores to be removed or carried aboard; security watches — long hours of patroling deserted decks. But the barracks were a pleasure for the men; regulations were enforced !)y ship ' s officers and petty officers, considerate of the men they knew so well. Food was served in the cafeteria, which fed 9.000 men daily and it was a liberal menu, with the green food, fresh vegetables, and milk, that men on sea service crave so much. Two entire mess halls were set aside for Franklin men, and the cooks who prepared the food often remarked to inspecting officers from the ship that it was a pleasure to serve those boys from Big Ben — a more orderly, cheerful, well-mannered outfit had never been billeted there. No pushing, no shoving, no complaining; the happiest, scrappiest crew of them all. There was a farewell party for Comdr. Benny Moore, the Ejcecutive Officer. Every man aboard was sad to see him leave. Lt. Comdr. Paul Speer, his pleasant and efficient aide, was also detached, to be relieved by Lt. P. E. Hathaway. Comdr. Joe Taylor became the Executive Officer and Comdr. H. H. Hale the Air Officer. Christmas and New Year ' s Day, 1945, were the only days during Big Ben ' s stay that the chipping hammers, riveters and machines of the repair forces were stilled and as the middle of January approached repairs were almost finished. When the last leave party returned two gala farewell parties for the crewmen and their friends were given by the ship at Craven Center. As usual, the lads of the band shone, and between the music, refreshments, and pretty girls, the dances were memorable affairs. The chief petty officers and warrant officers had farewell parties of their own — pictures tell the story better than words. On January 27th, Captain Gehres thanked the navyyard for a superb overhaul. He was speaking for every man on the ship when he said " Our fighting efficiency has been in- creased by your skill; in turn our every effort will be dedi- cated to the complete destruction of the remaining strong- holds of the enemy. " The captain had used every moment to prepare for the battles ahead; with Comdr. Taylor and the department heads he had been vigilant to see that every detail of repair was thorough. Every man and officer that could be spared had two day ' s fire-fighting training at Man- chester, ashington; radar operators and officers refreshed at CIC schools; gunners were kept in trim; engineers over- hauled their machinery. On January 28th, when Big Ben steamed slowly away from the navyyard to anchor at Sin- clair Inlet for final tests and calibrations she was as ready to fight as her captain could make her. There were a few liberties left — times for last good byes — during the next days. Farewells were bid to wives, boarding trains for the other side of the continent; girl friends in Seattle and Bremerton were treated to farewell dinners. As the last ship ' s boat returned through the foggy Sound on January 30th, Big Ben had said " adieu. " The sea was rough as Franklin plowed southward for Alameda, California, on January 31st. She was on a speed run, and the new men aboard were recalling promises of their shipmates: " the old girl rides like a feather bed. " Even TOP; Don Forsyth. Lt. P. E. Ihilhaway. (both killed in (tction 19 March) and Chiff Frajman enjoy dinner ACOM Carl Orndorff as mess cook Gentry and I ' I ma assist hd I ' roeaeeio Chiefs: Unknown; Frujnuin, Aja (KIA); Petty; MacLunc (KIA); Parsons; Tyree; Kraft; Procaccio; RouUon (KIA); Howard Paul; Orndorff; Unknown; Unknown. a 30,000-ton carrier can pitch and roll when she is traveling at 30 knots through heavy seas. Big Ben was off the Golden Gate at daybreak, February 2nd. Oakland suburbanites, rid- ing trains across the bridge to their work in San Francisco, were given the spectacle of a big flat-top, crew in ranks on deck, proudly steaming under the Oakland bridge. Before noon she was moored by the Naval Air Station in Alamada. Air Group Five, under Comdr. E. B. Parker, Jr., U. S. N.. was welcomed aboard. Some months before it had returned home after a long combat tour and was again on its way to the wars. Instead of Hellcats the pilots of Fighting Five, un- der Lt. Comdr. MacGregor Kilpatrick, flew swift Corsairs. Though the Corsair is somewhat faster than the Hellcat, and its gull wings give it beauty, it is a sore subject among fight- er pilots as to which is the better plane. Torpedo Five, com- manded by Lt. Comdr. Allan C. Edwards, flew Avengers: Bombing Five, under Lt. Comdr. John G. Sheridan, manned Helldivers. Nearly half of Air Group Five ' s pilots were of the U. S. Marine Corps, the first marine aviators aboard a large carrier for many years. By the mysterious grapevine among Navy wives, many were in San Francisco, scorning the scarcity of hotel rooms, for a last goodbye. Every officer and man that could be spared was granted shore leave February 6th. There was something fateful about that last evening; many who lost friends or loved ones on Big Ben have spoken of an over- powering feeling that these goodbyes were final. Some of the letters written home by men on the ship revealed the same premonition. The next day, February 7th, 1945, Franklin and her escorts stood west for Pearl Harbor. In the Chief Petty Officer ' s quarters, on the third deck, just abaft the sickbay, a traditional ceremony was perform- ed while Big Ben plowed west. Doctor Fox, long an honorary member of the Chief ' s Mess, and Lt. Philip Hathaway, him- self an ex-chief, with yeoman Don Forsythe, a press corre- spondent, helped initiate a dozen brand-new chief petty offi- cers. The ceremony ended only when the new chiefs were ready to return to the ranks. Beyond this, it was an unevent- ful crossing, and Franklin arrived in Pearl Harbor on Feb- ruary 12th, 1945. The Men W ho Kept Fighting Squadron FIVE in the Air FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: B. T. Flanagan, } ' 2c, C. Upton. AOMlc; L. A. If illetl, I ' RSc, C. W. Jon s, AOMlc; C. C. Chelelte, AOMlc, R. II . W askiewicz, AMM2c: W. L Wilson, AMMHlc, J. A. Knoules, AMM2c; R. 0. Ruehle, AMM c; SECOND ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Unknown — R. W . Hague, ARMlc; I. Light. ARMlc, Unknown — Unknown; M. Kilpatrick (CO.) C. G. Knight. Ylc; Unknown— Unknown — JF. . Johnson, AMMlc; C. F. Laivs. AMMlc; third ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: . M. McColluni, ACMM. L. G. Miller, Cf ' lioM: ' . P. Day, ACOM, N. Trepashko, ACRT ; J. If. Mc- Coy, ACM, C. T. Hamilton; F. Christianson, ACEM C 11 A 1 ' T E K 1 E N " . . . ive could have left her there, I guess . . . By all the rules they use in. this game she should h e sleeping noiv on the bottom off the coast of Japan. But some peojdc don ' t believe in all the rules . . . Our captain didnt ... " THE SHIP THAT WOULDN ' T BE SUNK The vicioiis battle for Ivvo Jima was siihsicling — the Jap- anese commander liad sent his last message to the home- land: " ' I expect to die here. " ' Superforts, in massive forma- tion, were roaring through the stratosphere over the battered cities of the Jajianese liome islands. Once again news reports of the mighty task groups of the Fifth Fleet were lacking during one of the brief ])eriods of inactivity that portended awful consequences for the once-arrogant yellow men. Rig Ben daily ex])ected orders to up anchor and steam westward, tlank speed, to join the fleet. With the Philippines Cupluin Ltsli, ' E. Gehres, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Franklin, S ' oifmbcr 7th, 1944, to June 3nth. 194 ir A Corsair takes a " ivave-off " as others circle to land firmly in control of American armies; with every major island port in American hands ; with the surviving Japanese surrounded in the barren mountain ranges; with Iwo Jima, only six hundred miles from Tokyo, bloodily collapsing in death, the next move would be close to the main islands of Japan. By the familiar pattern of amphibious warfare it would find the fast carrier forces neutralizing the air bases of Japan proper, followed by a terrific fleet bombardment of the next doomed stronghold. Then the Marine and Army di- visions would pour ashore, under an umbrella of sea-borne airpower. Every flattop in the fleet would be needed! The expected orders did not come immediately. There would be three weeks of operation in the Hawaiian area to further qualify the fliers of Air Group Five in carrie r land- ings, as well as the pilots of another group. Air Group 87. Those weeks passed swiftly. The airmen trained hard, much as the pilots of Air Group Thirteen had trained here nearly a year before; day landings, night landings, simulated at- tacks, formation flying. During the days Franklin practiced vigorously with her guns, with damage control problems, first aid drills, physical exercises to put the men in peak condition. Every man now knew the seriousness of combat and the importance of striv- ing for high battle efficiency. Comdr. Taylor and Captain Gehres frequently addressed the crew at quarters, instilling the determination to make Big Ben the best and toughest ship in the fleet. As the refresher training ended, the painstaking care with which the Navy and its officers strive to be forehanded and provide for every possible contingency was impressed upon everyone. The productivity of America ' s assembly lines was making itself felt on the fighting front: accessories that men once counted as luxuries were commonplace. Every man had a sheath knife, life jacket with pin-on lamp, gas mask, steel Big Ben ' s men take a jarewell look at Pearl Harbor hatlle helmet, |)lastic whistle, waterproof flashlight, protec- tive clothing and cream to prevent Hash burns from explo- sions; first aid boxes and lockers were located at dozens of strategic places. Life rafts and life nets, fully equipped with survival kits, were plentiful. Every emergency that human ingenuity could forsee was provided for in the elaborate sys- tems of damage control, fire-fighting and repair. Comdr. H. S. Cone. Supply Ofiicer, and Comdr. W. R. LeFavour, Damage Control Oflicer, iioth of whom had worked wonders on the Franklin, were detached at this time and Lt. Comdr. D. V. ' engrovius became supply chief while Lt. Comdr. R. L. Downes took over Damage Control. Big Ben ' s mission was assigned and she steamed westward on March 3rd, 1945, ready in every respect. Eventually Big Ben ' s mission was assigned and she steamed west on March 3rd, 194.5. She was ready. Accompanying her were the usual destroyer escorts and the mighty new battle cruiser, Gwam. A stream of westbound warships moved with her, separated by distances of 50 to 100 miles. The push was on! The task group arrived in Ulithi Lagoon March 13th. Here the stay was short. Full of transports, foreshadowing invasion, the wide anchorage made men marvel at the prodi- gality and power of their country. These hundreds of war- ships, undreamed of when war shattered the Pacific peace; these tens of thousands of soldiers then unmustered, were here at a newly conquered base, trained to perfection and ready to strike a foe who had been preparing twenty years for this war. Ready to strike him on his doorstep, for this would be the long awaited Okinawa operation. Franklin departed Ulithi, the flagship of Task Group 58.2, with Rear Admiral Ralph Davison ' s two-starred flag at her truck. Also aboard, as passengers, were Rear Admiral Bogan ABOVE: Chief Petty Officers, March 12, 1944 . . . below: U arships of the Fifth and Seventh Fleets, massed at Ulithi Harbor for a blow against the Japanese Empire --w- r.rt- .--» .--«-f ABOVE: Old Glory flies over a combat air patrol oj Fighting Five ' s Corsairs, being readied on B g Ben ' s deck . BELOW: A forty mm. quad gun cretv. ready on their stations, after throiving a few rounds in target practice and his staff, and Captain Arnold Isbel, who was to com- mand the carrier Yorklown. Admiral Began would relieve the veteran Admiral Davison sometime after the next operation. As the harbor dropped from sight behind the warships, the captain announced: " We are sailing northward, a part of Task Force Fifty-Eight, bound to strike the home islands of the Japanese Empire for the first time! " Four powerful task groups rendezvoused at sunset March 15lh. to become Task Force Fifty-Eight, of the dreaded Fifth Fleet, with Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher in command. The mission of the task force was to neutralize the air bases and shatter the supply ports of Kyushu and Honshu, main Jap- anese islands. Any remnants of the Japanese Navy were to be destroyed. On April 1st the United States Sixth Army and a Marine force would invade the beaches of Okinawa, with the Fifth Fleet covering them from the air. If the men of the Navy did their job, the men of the Army would be able to accomplish theirs. The most powerful armada of warships in history was an awe-inspiring sight as it steamed northward. Sea-air power incarnate, it was a force worthy of the proud battle colors streaming from every ship, a living symbol of the most pow- erful nation on earth. For 50 miles across the ocean stretched the task force, each group with four big carriers in the cen- ter, a screen of fast battleships and cruisers, circled by a score of destroyers. Each task group a combination of air and surface fire-power, born in war ' s crucible of far-flung Pacific distances. streamHned and modern as a jet plane. Overhead dozens of Hellcats and Corsairs circled, the com- bat patrol. For 100 miles in every direction the Helldivers scouted the ocean. Submarines posted over the sea would flash reports of any enemy motion beyond the aerial screen : hundreds of radars unceasingly scanned sea and sky, alert for the first enemy shadow. This was " the Fleet that came to stay. " On March 17th. as the force neared Japan ' s coast in full battle order, exploding numerous drifting enemy mines as it proceeded, Nipponese search planes were encountered for the first time. The combat air patrol protected the force by day and " snoopers " were hunted at night by Grumnians from the carrier Independence — a night fighter flat-top. In dark- ness the fleet closed to 100 miles of the Empire and nearly an hour before dawn on the 18th the first twenty of Big Ben ' s ■ warplanes were roaring down the flight deck, to join groups from all the other carriers. The targets were aircraft, air- fields, and hangars at Kagoshima and Izumi on Kyushu Is- land. Throughout the day strikes thundered into the north- east. Eighteen enemy planes were shot down in the air by fighters of Air Group Five alone and many more were de- stroyed on the ground. Hangars were destroyed, buildings and some small boats set ablaze. Four Corsairs were lost, three to enemy flak, one operationally. The pilot of one was rescued by the " life guard " submarine, just offshore. The Japanese reacted violently. A dozen enemy planes were shot down almost within sight of Task Group 58.2. One plane plunged down vertically at the carrier Intrepid, miss- ing its target by feet. Pilots who witnessed the dive said the Jap must have started from 30,000 feet — five miles up. It was a day of continuous alarms, with men tense at battle station for many hours. The combat air patrol scoured the skies, chasing enemy planes — a search made difficult by the cloudy, overcast weather, which favored the Jap, who was throwing in his planes singly. Often a plane pursued for miles would be discovered to be friendly. Big Ben, as flag- ship for the group, had aboard the Fighter Officer of Ad- miral Davison ' s Staff, Lt. Comdr. Francis L. Winston, a vet- eran of three years in the Pacific Theater. He was to be re- lieved by Lt. Howard Fleming, of Admiral Bogan ' s staff. In CIC, throughout the day, there was tense action as inston. Fleming, and Jim Griswold, the ship ' s fighter director, team- ed with the radarmen and plotting officers to direct dozens of interceptions. All of the alarms and dangers did not come from the air — during the afternoon a floating mine was passed at a dis- tance of about five hundred feet. It was exploded by gun- fire from Big Ben. At sunset, the Franklin s last plane landed aboard, but the task group next in line was under attack and Big Ben ' s men were at battle stations until nearly midnight. The respite was short. Just before 1 :00 a.m. " Torpedo Defense " on the bugle called all gun crews to their posts again. A Jap flew over the formation dropping flares, to be taken under fire by gunners of the battleship North Carolina. The Marine gun crew of Big Ben ' s battery hurled a few rounds after him as he fled. Shortly after 3:00 a.m. the piercing notes of General Quar- ters on the bugle brought all hands to battle stations. Two groups of enemy planes were on the screens, night fighters on their trail. Half an hour before dawn Franklin swung into the wind and launched 30 Corsairs armed with special heavy rockets — " Tiny Tims " — to attack Japanese naval units at Kure. Finally, at-dawn, with the radar screens clear some of the crew were secured from their battle stations at 6:10. a slightly modified condition of security being set by opening one hatch in the armored hangar deck so that men might have access to the mess halls for breakfast. Guns, however, were fully manned, men going below to eat in small groups and returning to their stations when finished. The distribu- tion of hot meals to battle stations on an operating carrier is a practical impossibility, although it had been possible to distribute sandwiches the night before. For twenty-four hours there had been almost continuous alerts; rearming and main- tenance crews had worked steadily all night long. Despite every effort to feed the crew, most of the men of the Air and Gunnery Departments had eaten only one hot meal since the 17th. Alerts sometimes lasted for days and lack of hot food was a serious handicap to efficiency; it was customary, when no enemy planes were known to be in striking distance, to secure from battle stations in this manner at mealtimes. On the hangar deck, lines of men were waiting for break- fast as Lt. Fred Stalcup ' s crews worked feverishly gassing and arming the next strike, scheduled for 7:00 a.m. The Air Operations Officer. Lt. " Dick " Angeli. was busy checking the lists of pilots and planes designated for the sweep. At 6:45 Big Ben turned northeast into the wind and came up to 21 knots to launch the first heavy strike of the day; at 6:55 the launch commenced. The Hanwck. a thousand yards away, was also launching her lirsl lieavy strike. Astern was the light carrier Hatmin, ahead was the San JaririJo. At 7:0S came a radio message from the Hancock: " Enemy plane closing on you from ahead . . . " ' (.aptaJM (ichres (|uickly asked (!1C on the interphone if ihey liad coiilacl uith the enemy plane. The answer was negative. They had heen searching for a Jap just reported luelve miles away, near another task group, in addition to their regular search. It was later believed thai the enemy plane ahead had heen mistakenly identified as friendly on all radars in the formation; the Hancock had spotted it vis- ually as it Hashed into a cloud. The captain alerted all lookouts and gun control stations, cautioning them to heed particularly the sector ahead where a bank of clouds floated two thousand feet in the air and a thousand yards away from the shi|). The watch on the bridge iloubled its vigilance. Comdr. Hale, the Air Officer, had just received a report from Lt. Stalcup on the hangar deck: " Everything is ready to go here. " and Lt. Fred Harris, the Flight Deck Officer, was winding up the seventh plane of the launch as the Jap- anese, a twin-engined Judy, hurtled from the clouds on a low, level, bombing run. The attack developed so suddenly that even the alerted watchers on the bridge did not see the j)lane as it flashed in, though the forward twin five-inch mounts ami a forty quad on the island took it under fire belatedly. Comdr. Jurika, the navigator, saw two bombs spin down, as the Jap — hardly fifty feet above the deck — pulled u[) and climbed away. He was shot down a few moments later by Comdr. Parker, leader of Air Group Five. Tlie first bomb that struck, a 500-pound armor-piercer, exploded on the hangar deck at frame 7.5 and blasted a great hole in the . ' -inch armor plate, setting fire to the gassed and armed planes. The second bomb struck aft, crashing through two decks and exjjloding on the third, near the chief |)etty officer ' s quarters. The Helldiver just taking off was blown over on its back; its pilot climbed out and made his way to the side. A column of black smoke poured from the forward eleva- tor well, and as Captain Gehres regained his feet from the explosions a huge sheet of flame was erupting from the for- ward starboard edge of the hangar deck. Thinking the fire was forward, he quickly slowed speed to sixteen knots and turned to starboard. This placed the wind on the port side, keeping the fire away fiom the heavily armed planes aft. Pilots, aircrewmen. plane caj)tains. were scrambling wild- i«yiW»iWli» |i | »» lH» i t i ,. I , 1 K ■ Sixty miles jroni Japan ABOVE: Flaming rivers of gasoline pour over th hangar deck, trapping men ail . ■ . below: Firefighters duch. as an- other big explosion goes up . . . The flying airplane engine narrowly missed the captain when it fell ly for the side as their planes caught fire. I ' ro|iellers, still spinning, and exploding ammunition, made theirs a deadly journey. From the hridge there was no indication as yet that there had been a hit aft. In fly control, (ioindr. Hale repeated again and again: " Jettison the planes with the Tiny Tims first. . . . " Those were the last words lliat came over the speakers. Now a mighty column of smoke rose froin the stern of the ship and the ca|)tain saw there had been a hit aft. Swiftly he turned the ship with full left rudder into the wind and again came up to standard speed, bringing the wind broad on the starboard bow, to keej) the fire from the undamaged part of the ship. By this maneuver, during the next two hours, it was possible for the survivors to organize fire-fighting parties and work aft from bases in the unharmed focsl to bring the fires under control. Little more than a minute pas.sed before the sheets of fire spread over the five bombers, fourteen torjjedo planes and twelve fighters, all heavily armed, on the flight and hangar decks. Then a terrific series of explosions commenced, the violence of which can only be imagined. The inferno was increased by the detonations of ready ammunition lockers on the topside, filled with rockets, with shells for five-inch, forty mm., twenty mm., and fifty-cal. machine guns. Men died by the scores on the flight and hangar decks, or were trapped in CIC and the crowded gallery deck work- shops. The entire gallery deck, sandwiched between flight and hangar decks, was a death trap. Offices and berthing compartments on the second and third decks were torn by ex] losions and swept by fire that sjircad from the hangar deck. Over thirty tons of high explosive were on the planes alone and countless other tons were in the lockers and ready magazines. Smoke began to ])our into the engine rooms below and men donned gas masks or rescue breathing e(pii|)ment. Num- ber Two Fireroom, its uptakes blasted by explosions, went out of commission, the fires under its boilers snuffed out by the first blasts. All communications on the ship were lost except for one line between the bridge and steering control aft, thence to main engine control. As long as quartermaster Davis, and his crew — William Hamil and " Smoky " Gud- brantzen, manned the steering control room the caj)tain could give orders to the engines. Comdr. Hale was dispatched from his station in fly con- trol to take charge of fire-fighting on the hangar and flight decks. Comdr Taylor was still groping through smoke across shattered decks, trying to make his way to the bridge. The gallant destroyer Miller came recklessly alongside from the screen, bringing her jniny fire hoses to bear on the great conflagration that raged on the hangar deck aft, where 40,- 000 gallons of aviation gasoline were contributing to the fires. On the focsl Fire Marshal Stanley Graham yelled to the men who were making their way clear from the smoky, blazing, compartments: " Boys, we got pressure on the lines, we got hoses, let ' s get in there and save her! " ' In a few min- utes a dozen hoses were working aft on the flight and hangar decks, into the flames. Men with fire axes chopped holes in the flight dc ' k planking to let water into blazing gallery Santa Fe moves in. fire hoses ready, as flames move closer to men trapped on hangar deck deck comparlments. Into the spreading fire moved the men, continuous explosions of every type of ammunition in the catalogue reverbrating around them. Seven big 500-pound bombs and two smaller ones were rolling about on the flight deck, so hot they were painful to the touch. Lt. Comdr. Stone, with iielpers like Chief " Bull " Orndorft ' . Bill Fowler. Robert Boyd and Jacobs, rolled them over the side. Comdr. Hale stopped one young seaman, who was playing a hose on a big bomb. Just in time — the stream of water was spinning the arming vane and explosion was im- minent. Pilots from Air Group Five fought alongside ship ' s officers, seamen, and colored mess attendants. At 7:25. hardly twenty minutes after disaster had struck. Admiral Davison conferred with Captain Gehres on the bridge. The Admiral advised the Captain to pass the word to prepare to abandon ship. Flames a hundred feet high were shooting up past the island; the roar of exploding shells was deafening. A col- umn of smoke rose a mile above the clouds. Perhaps up there the spirits of the brave Lexington, that died in the Coral Sea, and the Yorhtown, that perished at Midway, were waiting for the captains words, bidding him speak. Captain Gehres. a determined commander, told Admiral Davison that if he would provide air and surface support Franklin would he saved. The Miller was signaled to come forward from her position on the starboard quarter. An Admirals responsibility comes first to his task group; he must transfer his flag and get on with the war. For an hour the Miller lay under the huge, listing island, her hoses play- ing on the hangar deck fires as the Admiral ' s staff was transferred. Order was coming out of confusion; men forward on the flight and hangar decks had halted the flames. As they fought aft on the hangar deck they by-passed white-hot fires where magesium bombs glowed on the armor plate in the ashes of the planes that had borne them. Men below on the second and third decks, or trapped on the hangar deck aft, were making their way to safer zones. Dozens had been blown over the side; others, hopelessly trapped, were forced to leap over, many without life jackets. For hours little groups struggled to the fantail. where they fought the fires with ev- ery means at their command, leaping into the water only when their position became unbearable. In the ship ' s hospital ward, beside the smashed chief ' s quarters, were Dr. Fox and eighteen men, eleven of them patients. The doctor and his seven pharmacists mates fought a lirave little battle to save their shipmates and themselves. The ward was intensely hot, from the raging fires above; thick smoke was pouring over the port quarter where the sickbay was located. Air was foul, the door tightly closed to keej) out the suffocating smoke and the flames. Two small holes in the ship ' s side, overboard discharge connections leading through the side of the ship, were opened. Hospital Corpsman John Epting and his comrades placed wet towels across the faces of the patients; the oxygen tent was used until the flasks were emjity. Chief Shipfitter Durrance. a I lir iijler jne inch In in nunuil gave Snnfii Fe lin.sc.s i hii jnh [)atient, struggled through wreckage to a nearl)y rejiair h)cker. doiuicd a rescue breather, and witli an emergency cutting outfit was j)reparing to hum an escape hole in the starboard side of the shijj when a blast more terrific than the others took his life. Three days later, when search parties made their way down and pumjx ' d the water from the blackened, flooded passageways, tlic nnilc evidence of the gallant, futile fight met their sad eyes. Dr. George Fox. and his cor]ismcn. calm in deatii, lay beside the men they had served. Men with rescue breathers: Dr. Smith, Lt. Bill J. lute, Electrician Philipps, Machinist ' s Mates Gugliemo. Lapore, McAllister, Wellnian, Greitner and others, were stumbling lliruugii the heavy smoke on the third deck, hauling un- conscious men from the engineering spaces. They worked for hours and routed at least thirty men safely forward. tlirougii a iialili near llic deck-edge elevator which had jjeen cleared by Maciiinist Ede. Lt. Donald A. Gary, who had been violently shaken by the first explosions, seized a rescue breather and started forward from his Repair Party battle station toward the source of the smoke. He found, alter mak- ing his way through two shattered compartments, that a solid wall of fire sealed off his path. Smoke growing worse by the minute, he made his way back to the mess hall amidships on the third deck, passing hundreds of rockets and bombs al- ready assembled for use that day and needing only a single explosion to set them all off in a monumental blast. At- tracted by his light dozens of men commenced to gather in the mess hall, . s the comiiartment filled, the doors were dogged down to keep out smoke and opened as others ar- rived. Five minutes later there was not room to sit down. When the doors were closed for the last time nearly oOO men were trajjpcd in that small compartment. Unexploded bombs, with the fire sw( ' c])ing nearer, were forward; aft, a wall of fire blocked ofl all esca|)e. As mighty exjilosions shook the shi|) men realized their mortal ])eril and |)anic shook them. Dr. Fuelling, who was working over a seriously wounded man. calmly addressed them. He told them to rest quietly and conserve the limited supjily of air and to pray; he led them in prayer. In the dim light of bailie lanterns which wuuld not pene- trate the heavy gray smoke, trapped by fire in a compart- ment beside hundreds of live boml)s, men prayed — many for the first time in their lives — while others read aloud from prayer books. Buried in a com])artment near the keel of the ship was the Gentral Damage Control Station, . fter the explosions be- gan, the lights flashed red — showing all main magazines to be on fire, erroneously, due to damaged wiring. All commu- nications were out except with the forward repair party, as Lt. Billingion. who was on the scene a few moments after the hit. soon discovered. Veteran Chief Electrician Hoffner stood by the boards, clearing damaged circuits by switching them open, while the damage control man fought to contact the repair parties. When the ship began to list badly and smoke poured in. with all communications out. Central Dam- 1 ' ' .. " n The jii ht c,ocs on: fire [xirlirs work into jhutirs; nirii IiiiiuUc line to Sanlii Fc age Control was abandoned. HofTner located an escape trunk which led up to the third deck and helped the men through it, to join the fire-fighting parties forward. Electrician s mate Zeller went up through the hatches, carefully closing each of them behind him — an invaluable service, because it kept fire from the main magazines, located below. Groups of men like Shipfitter First Class Hurd fought fife amidships until their rescue l)reathers were exhausted, then made their way to the side of the hangar deck and dropped into the water. Burd had been in the after mess hall when the bombs hit. He broke out a fire hose and wet three hun- dred rockets, rendering them harmless. Then, with rescue breather, he collected and led at least sixty men back to the fantail. ' hen he went back to look for others he found himself trapped by new ex]jlosions aft, forcing him to locate an- other escape route. This time he was forced to the hangar deck, where he leaped over the side. For five hours he floated in the cold water on a raft with Chief Tony Hungaro, sea- man Dennis Koiek, and shipfitter Kirkman. before being ]iicked up by the carrier Hornet of another task group. Many a man like Burd did his valiant deed before he was overwhelmed in the elemental forces of the catastrophe, or was forced over the side. The number of heroes will never be known. Vi ith a group on the fantail, Gentry, chief boatswain ' s mate, kept all hands lighting fire until a series of violent ex- plosions occurred. They put life jackets on the wounded and lowered them in the water before dropping in themselves. Seaman " Ked " Skelton. a gunner, and his buddy were standing side by side. An explosion blew his buddy to bits and catapulted Skelton into the water. Homer Cecil, stand- ing in his unlaced shoes, was blown completely out of them and into the sea. Lt. Fitzgerald, assistant engineering officer, and dozens of men in separate groups, made their way to the safety of the fantail, only to be forced off. Chief petty officers Austin, Sheppard, Gregg, Batticke; seaman Russo. private Kane, barber Antanasoff . . . their number will never be known. Yeoman Brown and Cavello leaped into the wa- ter together. Cavello, who could not swim, had no life jacket. His comrade. Brown, gave him his. Brown was not rescued. And Gunnery sergeant Truax, who, with a handful of Ma- rines, had manned the guns on the fantail to the last, handed his life jacket to a young seaman who could not swim. The sergeant was missing in action. . ow. at o:. ' 0. amid destruction and confusion. Number . seriously Hounded man is lowered to destroyer Hickox from fantail . . . Every man on this station lias joreed off ship hy flames and explosions One Firerooin went out of commission, leaving only the two after firerooms and the after engine room ojierative. Lt. Artz. Ens. Tucker, Ens. Hayler, Machinist Ensign, and their Black Gang crew could not hang on much longer. Smoke was growing intolerahle and only a handful of rescue breathers were available. Hayler and Ensign, of tin; after plant, were trying to find esca])e routes for the men below. Ens. Tucker had been sent to the third deck to ascertain the extent of damage to the uptakes. Lt. Artz collapsed and ma- chinist ' s mate second class Nott took charge of the forward plant. Captain Gehres, informed of the desperate plight of the men below, ordered the throttles set at eight knots and the engine room abandoned, when they could no longer be manned, but the firerooms never received the order. The smoke tortured, agonized crews climbed the ladders and somehow fought their way forward. The last word on the firerooni speaker was: " Will someone with a breather report to forward engine room. Trapped . . . " Lt. B. J. White and Lt. Bostain made their way forward and rescued Nott and the three remaining engineers in the forward engineroom. Baker, machinist s mate second class, set the after engine room controls at eight knots. But water tenders Barry and Reese, in charge of the after firerooms, did not leave. Those fires had to be tended at all costs. They stayed until the end, their shij) listing heavily, all communications out and smoke blocking vision, keeping their crews at their posts until 9:30, when the boilers lost feed water suction and there was no further need to remain. I hen. and only tiicn. did ihey fight their way upward. Harry and his men, " Tony " Godleski, Cliff Farmer. Jimmy Collum, " Siiorty " ' ilson, and " Tiny " Rials, came out on the hangar deck and were forced to leap over the side. Reese and his crew, " Don " McRae, " Wendy " Doll, " Buck " Buckner, and Jim Harris, made their way forward. Gunner Stoops made a painstaking effort to flood the main magazines. Hundreds of tons of explosives, in the bowels of the ship, must be covered with water. He carefully turned the valves but — though this was not learned until long after — the water mains were ruptured and the ammunition remained dry. hen the Miller cleared the side with Admiral Davison and his staff at about 8:30, the Santa Fee was signalled to come alongside. CajHain Harold C. Fitz. a brave commander, asked only one question " Are your magazines flooded? " Back came the answer from Captain Gehres: " I have or- dered them flooded and believe they are. " Santa Fe came Father Joseph Callahan, ehapluin enura eous. administers extreme unetion to a iiounded mun on the flight dec!. W ntinded are evacuatpd to Santa Fe alongside and held a course fifty feet away, all hoses pour- ing water on Franklin s flaming decks. A trolley was swiftly rigged and Comdr. Hale, with Major Elliot of the Marines. Father O ' Callaliaii, men of the hospital corps, and volun- teers, commenced the difficult task of moving the wounded to the cruiser. Lower and lower Franklin listed into the water. Father O ' Callahan, a man of dauntless courage and supreme faith, gave extreme unction to the dying on the flaming flight deck, calmly unheeding the explosions and confusion. At 9:30. as steam ceased to flow from the boilers, the great screws were stilled and Big Ben lost steering control. 5(1 miles from Japan, the nearest any American surface warshij) had apjiroached the islands thus far during the war. the Franklin lay dead in the water. The Santa Fe, unable to hold her position, backed away rapidly, snapping the lines that held her. Already Comdr. Taylor was hurrying forward to assemble the equipment and lay out the lines for a tow by the cruiser Pittsburgh, an incredibly difficult task amid the confusion on the crowded forecastle. ' When Big Ben lay on a steady heading, drifting with the current, Santa Fe came in again boldly, with magnificent seamanship. Captain Fitz slammed his cruiser into actual contact with the gallery deck of the Franklin, now close to the water, as the stricken carrier listed heavily. He held the Santa Fe there by the force of her engines, using the for- ward gun turrets as fenders against the overhanging decks. Comdr. Hale had orders from the captain to evacuate the wounded, the men of the Air Group, and highly trained personnel from any department who would not be needed to save the ship. Destroyers plodded through the icy water, picking up men on rafts, or swimming. The chill March air made exposure an ordeal. Men on the ship were soaked to the skin from tending fire hoses, and shivered under blankets while they rested. What a precarious situation this was! The little group of warships was almost immobile, the cruiser Pittsburgh stop- ])ed, busy with her boats over the side passing a messenger line to the Franklin; the cruiser Santa Fe alongside the blaz- ing Franklin. However the five destroyers of Division 104, the Hunt, Hlckox, Marshal, Miller, and Tingey steamed slow- ly in a circle around the heavy ships, picking up survivors as they went, ready to defend the group. Enemy planes were again approaching the formation and there were alarms, but as yet no attacks. Being within less than 100 miles of major Japanese air bases, it was considered but a matter of time until enemy bombers would return. The Franklin had one Footing becomes slippery on Bi Hen ' s listing flight deek jor men auailing their turn on fire hoses forty mm. quad forward, manned by a volunteer crew, and it could fire only under local control. A dozen twenty mm. machine guns on the forward port .side, commanded hy Lt. Jess Alhritton. Ens. Lightfoot, and boatswain ' s mate Fuller, completed the battery. Like Father O ' Callahan. who distinguished himself in the desperate actions on the Hight deck, where fire and ex- plosion reigned, Ll. Donald Gary, still trapped in the doomed messing compartment with those three hundred men, had a flash of inspiration. Nearly two hours they had been packed in, expecting every moment to be their last. A mem- ory flashed to him of a possible means of escape. Through the smoky murk, which the strongest light would not penetrate, stumbling over rockets and bombs, with an almost exhausted rescue breather, he began his search for the door to the air intake space leading up to the stack structure. He was accom])anied by machinists mate " " SnufTy " Kram- er. Groping through intense heat, where the bulkheads burned through thick gloves, he soon located the entrance to the space surrounding one of the huge uptakes — smoke- stacks — leading up from the boilers, through which fresh air passed for the fires. By climbing painfully up five decks, then through a hole blasted in the uj)takes, the two men found light and air. By dropping down on the outside they could reach a gun platform and make their way forward to safety. But Lt. Donald Gary did not go forward to safety, or even to ask aid for the men trapped below. Knowing that momen- tarily the bonilis might explode and the men could not live much longer in the smoke, he descended alone into that hole, where a slip meant death, to bring his shipmates out. He refused to let Kramer, who was exhausted, accompany him. In his words: " l broke my flashlight knocking on the com- partment door as a signal to the men inside. hen I ste|)i)ed through the door there was a look of hope and anxiety on each mans face that I shall never forget. All were oblivious to the sound of exploding ammunition, waiting for me to speak. I explained that I had found a way out and. although they would have to breathe some smoke, it wouldn ' t hurt them if they kept their heads and followed instructions. " Slowly, painlullv. Lt. Garv guidetl the men to safety. Three tri|)s he made, each a little faster than the last, the knowledge of the bombs and rockets close to the flames. s|)urring his efTorts. Lt. Gary and Dr. Fuelling were the last to leave: the wo unded man had died. Today nearly three hundred men — almost half of those who brouaht Bis Ben + 4 ' ' ' Hi i 1 £c 5e U est, a boy jroin Mississippi, was unc oj hundreds who had to swim in the iey water back — thank Donald Gary and Doctor Fuelling for saving their lives. The list of the ship was now nearly sixteen degrees, Comdr. Jurika coolly recorded, as he maintained his post on the liridgf uilli the cajjtain. the odicer of the deck, Melvin Tappcn, ami tlie l ridge force. Lt. Comdr. Kramer, the coni- iiuinicalion olhcer, had a ])ortable radio operating on the flight deck, assisted by Technician Stone, Radio Electrician Modeen. and Lt. ( lose. Reports of radar warnings of enemy planes were coming in. Lt. Comdr. Robert Dowries " Damage Control l)c|iartnient, thoiigli its ranks were shattered, fought fires, labored to keep pressure on the water mains by closing off ruptured branches. They were assisted by the engineers. All water for lire-fighting now came from a tiny diesel pump forward, which machinist ' s mate, Al Collins had started at his battle station and tended all morning. One of the Santa Fe ' s hoses, stretched to the Franklin, was ruptured by fragments of debris, thrown up in an explosion. ' ithout hesitation, sea- man George S. Smith crawled into the dangerous gap be- tween the great steel sides of the two warships and replaced the damaged section. The fight went on. At noon Captain Gehres conferred with the engineering officer. Lt. Comdr. Greene, and procured three additional rescue breathers from the Sania Fe. for an attempt to get back to the engineering spaces. Until this time it had been impossible, due to fires and smoke, but now the explosions were diminishing in violence and the hangar deck fires were being JirouHht under control. If the engineers could set the screws turning there might yet be hope for Big Ben — if the Japs didn ' t get her first. Nearly eight hundred men were on the Santa Fc by 12:. ' 50; hardly that many remained aboard the Franklin. Cajjtain Gehres ordered the cruiser to clear the side, but not before the Santa Fc had furnished invaluable aid to liig Hen by assisting in getting her under tow, using the powerful winches on the cruiser ' s foes ' ! to pull the line aboard from the J ' iltsliiir . Thirty sweating steward s mates and forty sailors, under Boatswain Frisbee. were hel])ing ( omdr. Tay- lor u ilh this operation. Hardly had the cruiser cleared the side than the long ex- pected Japanese attack came. Just before 1 :()() p.m. a Judy bomber sli|)|)ed past the combat air patrol and came in on a fast glide-in run. headed straight for Big Ben. Franklin ' s remaining guns fired desperately; the ships of the screen opened up their batteries. His bomb drop])ed. a big one, that exploded short on the starboard quarter. 200 yards away. The combat air patrol shot down that Jap in sight of the screen. The towing line was finally connected: Chief Carpenter Eddins and shipfitter Locke had cut loose one of Franklin ' s anchors with the last acetylene on the ship and ninety fathoms — 540 feet — of heavy chain was paid out to the Pittsburg with a two-inch steel hawser on the end. Shortly after 2:00 p.m. the I ' ittshuri!, succeeded in gell ' m Franklin underway and headed south, at three and one-half knots — at that rate Big Ben would be a landmark in Japanese waters for a week to come. But the engineers were working, under the direction of One III till- Iniuilrcds nj uinuidcil: Srnninn Jac I ' l ' nniniilan. in ihr Santa Fc . sickliay Lt. Comdr. Greene. Lts. Gary, White. Ellis, and Tiara, Ma- chinists Macomber and Green were the first men to struggle past the still blazing compartments on the third deck and gain entry to the forward auxiliary room and Number One Fireroom. While the electrical officers. Tiara and Ellis, aided by electrician ' s mates Lindberg and Valloni. attempted lo bring lights and ventilation to the spaces, Macomber and Green, with machinist ' s mates Gillis. Klieber and Heck, in- vestigated the forward firerooms and engineroom. Lt. Comdr. Greene set up headquarters in the warrant officer ' s mess — the closest spot to the engine spaces that men could live without masks — and directed operations with experi- ence born of fifteen years naval service, much of it below decks. The electricians found the forward emergency diesel still running. Expertly they disconnected all damaged circuits from the main distribution board, then connected the diesel- driven generator to the panel. Lights flashed on in some of the smoky spaces. Ventilators commenced spinning, though it was still so hot that men gasped for breath. In the evap- orator compartment, beneath the generator platform, on which six men lay dead, seven others were trapped with their faces in the bilges that they might breathe. Lt. Gary, in charge of the space, wearing a mask, finally made his way through and assured these men, now trapped for five hours and believing the ship abandoned, that he would get them out when the fires that blocked escape had been brought under control. It was 5:00 p.m. when they breathed their (irst fresh air after ten hours of hell. At 2:30 p.m. another Japanese plane came roaring in to attack but he was driven off by anti-aircraft fire and the patrol shot him down several miles away. By 5:00 p.m. Lt. Comdr. Greene knew it would be impossible to get the for- ward engines working, since Number One and Number Two firerooms were hopelessly damaged. The boilers of Number One were flooded with salt water and the uptakes of both firerooms were damaged by explosions. The only hope was to get the after engines steaming from Firerooms Three and Four. By 6:30 the electrical gang had penetrated aft and were sweating to get power to these spaces. By seven p.m. they iiad succeeded and, as the fires had been brought under control, it was possible to go anywhere on the third deck. By 9:00 p.m. Lt. Gary, ' " Pop " ' Turner, " Speedy " Brumfield, R, Barry, " Chubby " Scott, Heck and Machinist Green were at work lightino; off Boiler Five in Fireroom Number Three. Sania Fe ' s guns are trained into the sky as alerts continue; Franklin suninirs rest an lirr deck The after enjiinerddm a|)|)care(l iiilact and I.ls. Swansoii and Wliite, assisted liy yeoman Kidwell and several ma- chinist ' s mates, lit ofl ' when steam pressure was obtained. By niidniiiht. with steam up on one boiler, warming-up of the main enj;ines was commenced. Dozens of engineers resumed their stations and continued the work. By dawn another lioiler was in o])eration and cut in on the main engines. With two shafts doing 56 r.p.m. Big Ben was going ahead six knots, but still under tow, and about 85 miles from Japan. It had been a rough night. The first food in nearly twelve hours was served to the men on the focs ' l at dark. One slice of bread and tinned sausage with a little water to wash it down, but to all hands it was manna. After dark the Japs were again out in force, dropping flares on the horizon, evidently looking for Big Ben. Instead, they encountered other task groups, and a continuous battle was fought all night, ten miles away. Forty Japanese planes were shot down by ships and night fighters. Between the fires that in- termittently broke out, a muster was held and 75 officers and 200 men were found fit for duty. However, at this time, many were away on fire parties, or below decks, and could not be counted. It was im|)erative that the fires be kept under control. Any light from the ship and the Japanese bombers, oidy ten miles away, would write a quick end to the story. Parties under Lts. " Red " Morgan, Gordon Hassig. Lewis Davis, Bob Thayer, and many others, fought the smoldering embers. Twice destroyers from the screen were alongside to assist. The Millar drew up at M:(X) p.m.; at midnight the destroyer Bullard ])ulled close to the fantail and fought for two hours against a particularly stubborn fire. One lad of the ship, directing destroyer ' s hose from a dangerous perch on a jagged, out-thrust strip of metal, was unable to regain the deck until morning. During the day hundreds had distinguished themselves. Nearly every man aboard had contributed something; toss- ing away hot ammunition; hanging on to fire hoses; help- ing wounded comrades to safety; working on the tow lines; starting the engines; serving food and water. Doctors Sher- man. Smith, and Fuelling had labored tirelessly. Chaplain OCallahan had earned the respect and admiration of every man by his fearless conduct, a vital spark that kept men go- ing on when they felt like lying down to die. By dawn. March 20th. o5 miles from the coast of Shikoku, the captain ' s bulletin Ijoard had a cheering message: " We are under our own power and will be making fifteen knots Fires still burn ajt as men jettison a cluirred plane, clearing a path through the luingar deck spaces I)!!:, Urn lists hcarily li port, (is I ' ittshur tous hy noon! " I, I. Jackson Taylor, mess manager, and Pay Clerk Sheppard of the sui)])ly deparlment, assisted hy Severson, Dugan, and the lew others alioard. had located provisions. There was hot coffee and a swallow or two of a strange stew; the men were heartened for the day ahead. Kveryone sat in the wardroom, now dear of smoke, still in life jackets and helmets, faces and hands grimy. There was little water on the ship; the only drinkable water was obtained from a small soda fountain set up in the wardroom which was con- nected to an unru[)tured fresh water line. ' Hiile fire fighters still searched out smoking compart- ments and engineers labored over an ingenious device to operate the forward engines from the after firerooms, other groups jettisoned debris from the flight and hangar decks and commenced burying the shattered bodies of the dead. Colors on all ships in the formation were half-masted, and though there could be little formality in the sad duty, re- spectful dignity and sorrow were plain in the actions of every man. Now the Admiral considered the Franklin worthy of two new batllecruisers and additional destroyers: The Alaska, Guam, Ballard, and Kidd, had joined the screen. It was a group with fire power aplenty that moved slowly southward. Of the 105 ofFicers and 386 men that mustered that morn- ing, the heroes of that day were the engineers. ith the two after engines in use the ship could make a doubtful fifteen knots. If some method could be found to operate the for- ward engines, speed could be increased to an easy twenty- three knots. Steering Control had Iieen obtained by 9:00 a.m. when Electrician Philipps, with Elsey and Gudbrantzen made slight repairs and started the steering motors again. So, with enemy planes searching the vicinity and amid frequent alerts, the grimy engineers toiled on. Lt. Comdr. Greene had thought of a scheme: the hot steam at 600 pounds pressure from the after firerooms could be led for- ward through the au.xiliary steam lines to the Number Two turbo-generator. This generator was connected to work from either the main or auxiliary steam lines. By routing the auxiliary steam into the main steam lines and blocking off the pipes that led to the forward boilers, the life-giving steam would flow into the forward engines. None of the engineers could think of any reason why this plan would not work, though, as far as was known, nothing like it had lieen at- tenijited before on Essex class carrier engines. Laboriously the valves were closed and the connections made. It worked! By 10:00 a.m. the speed was u]) to fourteen knots, and a tow was no longer needed. By noon the towing lines had been cast off. and Big Ben was making 15 knots under her own power with four boilers on the two after engines and the two forward engines turning over slowly. It began to look as though the giant carrier would escape . . . At 2 :. ' -!() enemy planes again closed the group. Gunners waited doggedly by the last undamaged mounts. The battle- cruisers drew in close, the destroyers narrowed their circle. One more hit would undoubtedly send the Franklin to the bottom. The patrol shot down most of the Japaneses planes, one only a few miles away, but through their screen came one Judy bomber. For some reason his run was unopposed by flak, until he got in close on his run. Franklin ' s gunners, manning the last few t wenties and the forty quad, opened up with a fast and accurate fire. The guts of those men, hanging on to their guns to the last, the only ones shooting at that diving bomber, probably saved the ship. The sur- jtrised Jap swerved to escape this sudden stream of lead just as he dro|jped his bomb. It missed narrowly, exploding little more than a hundred feet from the port quarter. Be- low, the engineering oflicers, feeling the concu.ssion shake the shi|). decided to throw caution to the winds and really pour on the power. Cutting in more steam to the newly con- nected system, the forward engines commenced furnishing power perfectly and in a few minutes Big Ben was making seventeen knots. The doubtful superheaters were lit ofT, promising even more speed. Again and again, until dark, the angry Japs threw bomb- er after bomber out, but each time the twelve Hellcats from Admiral Davison ' s task group, 30 miles away, raced off and intercepted them. hen the red sun dropped into the Pa- cific, over the islands of the Empire, Big Ben was 170 miles away and steaming at better than 20 knots. Messages were received during the evening from warships and commanders. Captain Fitz, of the great cruiser Santa Fe, s|)oke for the men of bis ship when he said: " Congratula- tions on heroic work and outstanding efficiency of yourself and men in getting ship underway and saving her. It is an example we will never forget. " From the stout-hearted com- mander of the man of war this was a high tribute, indeed. Comdr. Highet, of the untiring destroyer Hickox: ' " Our sympathy and congratulations on your superb courage. " Admiral Low, commander of the little group, told the cap- tain: " My compliments on your fine performance and bring- ing your ship through. " Later there was a message from Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, Commander of Task Force Fifty-Eight: " You and your historic crew cannot be too highly applauded for your historic and successful battle to save your gallant ship, in spite of the difficulty, the enormity of which is appreciated. Deep regrets for your los.ses, which we feel as our own. " Captain Gehres answered, for Big Ben: " My ship ' s com- pany and I thank you for your message and for the protec- tion received in our worst hours. " By dawn, March 21st, Franklin was 300 miles away, though enemy jdanes still searched the area. The group joined Task I ' orce Fifty-Eight, which had withdrawn to fuel. That e ening she contacted Admiral Davison ' s Task Group 5o.2. which was retiring to Ulithi. with the carrier Wasp, also hard hit. ith the destroyers Miller. Marshall, and Hunl in her screen. Big Ben steamed .south as an independent unit, in sight contact with Admiral Davison ' s new command. There was a message from the doughty Admiral, himself: " I am on a stranger ' s doorstej) but I claim you again with pride. Battered though you may be. you are still my child. (Jreat Work! Davison. " Rear Admiral Gardner, ' commander of Carrier Division Seven sent a message to the captain: " Congratulations on booting home the long shot. To you and your great gang we touch our scorched forelocks. Gardner. " Just at sundown a surface search radar was placed in complete operation, after the difficult task of salvaging a heavy antenna from the broken foremast, that rested peri- lously ato|) the tripod. That night, with communications and ABOVE: Big Bens battered Island . . . below: The once-trim hangar deck ABOVE; Many a man died a heroic death in Franklin s u recked compartments. Men like Boulswain s mate U arren Fish, of W hitman, Mass.. who worked a porthole open in the agonizing smoke that his men might escape — but Warren ivas missing in action . . . BELOW; Big Ben, on an even keel, heads for home Some of Big Ben ' s officers and one of the portable pumps — " handy-billy " used to clear flooded decks or to fight fire J 4 - . (Lookout Division) Air Department ( ' photographers who took many of these pictures. -4 Division (Air Department) Arresting Gear Gang (Air Department) Doctor Fuelling and Lieutenant Gary Sal unlay aflernnon Heads of Departmenis S-uiie Jtviiiori a Morning quarters on the hangar deck 1 ■ " • ' " Dirision Gunncr Dcparlniml) " irsl Dirlsiini i(,uiiner Dipinliurnl) I ■ Division ( Mr Department ) V-4 Division {Air Department) radar restored, Big Ben moved confidently, her deck watch ofBcers again at their post. Captain Gehres, for almost the first time in three days, slept. On March 24th Big Ben dismissed her screening destroy- ers, to take her own proud place in the column of warships steaming into Ulithi Lagoon. The captain of the Miller, speaking for his crew, sent: " Please permit me to express the unbounded admiration of all hands on board Miller for you and your gallant ship. We are proud to have been asso- ciated with her. Lt. Comdr. Johnson. " The destroyer Stephen Potter, who had been in the screen the 19tli, sent: " Our hats are off to you. The Japs can ' t beat the spirit you have displayed. " Captain Gehres answered both messages: " Thank you both for your messages, which have been read to the crew. We think you are stout fellows, too. Thanks for your protection. " Big Ben steamed into the lagoon with her crew in straight ranks, chins up. heedless of the drizzling rain, living proof of the courageous words: " A ship that will not be sunk cannot be sunk " — Captain Leslie E. Gehres, U. S. N. CPO ' s March 2( lh, 1945 ' V ' ,-1 - S-One Division Conimurticalion Deparlmt ' nt S-Tuo Division Damage Control Department Engineer Officers Electrical Division {standing) Machinery Division (silling) 6lh Gunnery Division 8th Gunnery Division Murine DetachmenI Till Gunnery Division ] 2nd Gunnery Division 3rd Gunnery Division ffT " 4lh Gunnery Division C n A P T K K ELEVEN " ... I ' m sure he heard us, that gray Sunday morning, as we knelt on the deck and prayed for the buddies who wouldn ' t he coming home . . . they were very close to us that ilay . . . they always will be close ... " BIG BEN COMES HOME Saddened but undal ' mted, icierinined to fight again, the torn, fire-blackened flattop anchored at Ulithi. Sunday, March 25th. 1945, mass of Thanksgiving on the flight deck was led by Father Joseph O ' Callahan; Protestant service of Thanksgiving was led by Charles G. Weldon Gatlin. Most men attended both services; some wept openly durino- the humble, sincere prayers. " And since it is of Thy mercy, gracious Father, that another week is added to our lives; wa heie dedicate attain our soul and our bodies to Thee and Thy service, in a sober, righteous, and godly life; during the week we made new resolutions and in these, do Thou, merciful God, confirm and strengthen us; that, as we grow in age we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray . . . " The services closed with the Navy ' s hymn, " Eternal Father. " " l lrrnal h ' alln-r, sUoni; lu save. Whose arm doth bind the restless wave. If ho bid ' sl the mighty ocean deep. Its own appointed limits keep; hear us tvlien ive cry to Thee For those in peril on tlie sea . ■ . " The Thanksgiving services were followed by Memorial Services for the dead. On the flight deck, in the fitfully falling rain moving across the harbor in sheets, the men of the Franklin, led by Father O ' Callahan, assembled to the mournful strains of a dirge softly played by the surviving bandsmen. In a beautiful, heart-touching talk, the priest re- called to the men that their comrades had died on Saint Joseph ' s Day — Saint Joseph, the patron saint of a merciful death — that their death, though tragic, had been in merci- ful circumstances, with every man having a brief moment for a last prayer. Protestant Memorial Services on Franklin ' s hangar deck . . . Chaplain G. Ifeldon Gatlin conducting fiH ABOVE : Catholic Memorial Services on flight deck . . . Father O ' Callahan conducting, . . . BELOW: Salute to the brave nilt«fliBB§iiie»4fi»a(M ' iC- ' « } y And uliilc llieir sad loss could never lie roif otten. those who li ed must never forget they had died jiroud deaths, in the serviee of their country, fighting for (jod ' s cause against bloody oppression. A Psalm was read and men liowed and |ira)cd lor the souls of their shipmates. The Maritie squad fired three volleys and men stood in salute, honoring their fallen comrades. » Monday evening the hos])ital ship liouiilijiil sent its tal- ented entertainment grou]) to the Franklin. Amid debris and fireswept steel, with a bomb-blasted elevator for a back- drop, their performance did much to brighten men ' s s])irits. All salvageable equipment was given to other ships or .o the repair force. A " Tiny Tim " , which had lain in a dan- gerous position on the second deck and defied all efforts of the ship ' s personnel for days, was carefully carried topside and lowered into the water, by volunteers under the direc- tion of a bomb disposal officer from the repair force. Tuesday, March 26th, accompanied by two destroyer es- corts. Franklin and Santa Fe were underway at sunset for Pearl Harbor. Under the personal direction of Captain Gehres every officer and man labored throughout the days. The debris must be cleared away and the ship made habit- able; the personal effects of more than 2()()0 men must be collected, inventoried, and packaged. ith water, lights, and manpower at a premium these tasks required weeks to ac- complish. There was little of laughter or gaiety on the shattered decks as men found surcease from tension and memories in the exhaustion of toil. They were proud that Franklin still sailed; proud to have brought her from the jaws of death: sad in the absence of their friends. .Another dispatch arrived from the commander of the Fifth Fleet, Admiral Spruance, to the Franklin, and to every ship in the Fleet, as well as to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Ocean Area, Admiral Nimitz: " The courage, fortitude, and ability of you and your crew in saving and bringing back Franklin for future use against the enemy cannot be too highly praised. " Hrr 1 ■M Q ! l 3 1 H BU igi 1 H kiJIf ■ 3 Franklins hand lost its instruments, hut nut its spirit ' ' Juniho " If atson. docs his " hat trick ' Spirits lifted some. Captain Gehres, at a little show on Wednesday afternoon, where a makeshift band played, using old kettles, bottles and combs to fill in the harmony, ad- dressed the men informally. The determination of this fight- ing captain was never more plainly evident than in his words: " Vie are going to take this ship back out and get even with the little yellow scoundrels. 1, for one, am going to lie the first volunteer to take her back. " Big V en. with Santa Fe, steamed slowly into Pearl Harbor on April 3rd, 1945. In the words of one of the men. ' " On March 3rd we had sailed from Pearl — so clean, .so proud, and in such fighting trim. On April 3rd we were returning, in such a wrecked condition that it was almost unbelievable. A group of fifty WAVES and the station band were on the dock to greet us, singing ' Aloha ' . Some of our crew cried unashamedly, as did many of those who came to greet us at the dock. " The seven hundred and four men who were coming back to Pearl Harbor on Big Ben were drawn up in thin ranks on the undamaged part of the flight deck. Saxie DowelFs makeshift band struck up a tune and Franklin ' s men showed the world they could still sing. The captain, himself, had written their song, and it was to the tune of the " " Marine Hymn " : From the Jap Isle oj Kyushu To .•Imericu ' s shining shore Jl ' r ' ie hrought our ship, the Franklin. To he fixed to fi ht some more. Oh the .laps they tlnnii ht they ' d sunk us Is they came and C ' une ai ain Hut the couldn ' t L et the shot in That teas marked to sink Big Ben. From the .Chores oj Jiij) k ushu. By Ulithi ' s st ' aminii strand. And the isles of .-iloha . ' ui H e all come to oar men land. Many shipnuites sail not with us But their spirit shall not die: II hen our hugle sounds " I o .Stations 11 e 11 ill (irisner jor them " .4ye. ' At Pearl Harbor, nailing to greet Big Ben, sailors and ( ' olors fixing, band playing, crew erect and singing. Big WAVES watch ivith silent awe as the bomb-blackened flat- Ben comes back to Pearl top returns from battle Most men are somber, between songs . . . these are the boys that brought her back Seven luiiulieil and lour ciilisteil men ami lliiity-ninc olli- rers had given their lives for their country. Seven hundred and four oihcers and men were ahoar i licr as she came home. Mid li e days in Pearl Harlior it was decided hy llic Navy lle|)arlment that liig l{en would return to the Brook- lyn Navy Yard for repairs. Brooklyn promised to have her hack in action by the first of the year — eight months. On April Oih she sailed east for Panama and |)assed through llie canal on the 17th. With covering airplanes overhead to guard against sulimarines she was underway Ironi (iolon lor New York on April mth. steaming through the Carililieari for the Vi indward Passage. As Big Ben neared Cuha a (Jerman sulimarine sank a merchant ship less than 100 miles away. Men who knew what one torpedo would tlo to the haltered carrier hrcatlied more quickly for several days, hut on A|)ril 2 -!lh she arrived off Gravesend Bay, New York. On April . ' Oth. 1 9 IS. |)roud Init haltered. Franklin stood hv the Statute of Liherty. all luuids at salute, and into l5rooklvn Navy Yard. Journey s end . . . tliiilccn ihiiusand miles from the coast of enemy Jaj)an. The crew moved ashore to harracks and prepared for rehabilitation leave which Captain Gehres was in X ashin- ton trying to obtain for every olhcer and man. The navy yard worked day and night, cutting away entire sections of blasted decks. On May 17th the first awards for valor were presented to men of the crew on the deck of the ship they had fought to save. Home at last . . . journey ' s end CRFAV MFMBERS AT END OF REPAIR PERIOD • ' ' ' ' ' --■■■i HV n 13 Hl l t -£J " Tf ' S H |H HhHh b| H Hw ' | | K 1 m NAVIGATION — 75 oml- Sherwood, E. B.; Second ffow-.- Sheer. K. C, Neill, J. J., Marrin, J. E., San- TORA, C. E., AcQUAVivA, N. P.. Keefer, H. D.; Third Roiv: Pennington. R. M., Smith. F. J.. Collins. W. H.. Walsh. E. T.. Grh fith. D. M., Hulander. C. W. SECOND DIVISION — First Row: Fryberger. H. C. Dawson, R. A., Mintkin, P. G., Trouble. E., Mc- CirrcHON, D. A.. Gkiggs. D. 0.: Second Row: Puma. C. J., Yakley. A. W., Smith. A. F.. Mangold, F. T.. Sears. W. P.. Si ' roat, J. R.. Leek. W. E.. Yardley, M. L.. Mayer, J. D.. Barasch, I. J.. Hamilton. R. J. McIlvaine. F. G.; Third Row: McInerney. H. M.. Brown, L. W., McClure. R. J., Murray. J. E., Ayscue, F. G., Franko. A.. Hudson. D. G.. Gradin. R. L.. Gallena, J., Stover. L. W., Lloyd, R. K., Stasiewski, a. F., Baldyga, F. F.. Law. G. W.. Bradley. A. T. E. AND M. divisions -First Row: Jansen. E.. Bricknek. C, Busey. C. W.. Jarock. N. J.. Valloni. T. J., Natt, W. J.; Second Row: Urgo. V., Vallina, L.. Pkattie. C. N.. Comfo, J., Rhodes. W.. Clark, W., Elsey, G. J., D ' Orio, v.. Castle, R. M.. Schweicler, R. S.; Third Row: Hayden, P.. Franks, E., Baker, J., Ridai.l, C., Bn.LiNG. G., Mullkr. R.. Brown, D.. Lei.rman, B.. West. H. W.. McBkide. D. A.. Mansfield, C. F.. Warren. A. W., MacLaren. R. C; Fourth Row: Miller, Vt ' ., Wagner, R., Kauffman, W., Maphis, J., Horgan, W., Yaugh, F. B., McLuckie, J., Christian, D.. Ziger, J., Nightingale, W., Jackson, K. ,f . .».f f t f :t- j.-t % % ' V FIRST DIVISION fron «om;; Towmey, J., Slapper, H. M.. Nicolle, W. V.. Bartlett, C. C, Town- ley, F. J.. Blanco. J. E., Jr., Dollar, J. M., Funtes, R. J.. Woodall, W. .. Freeman, B. A., Alyward. J. J.; Second Roiv: Gabrielson. N. C, Bilancia, D. A., Moran, J. A.. Young, M. L.. DwYER. F. J., Harnick. H. S.. Harmon, H. P., Johnson, W. F., Young, L. E., Henkel, 0. M., Jenson. V. D. SUPPLY AND MEDICAL DEPARTMENTS — f r Rui, : Fritz. J. E.. Merritt. J. K.. Tedkurd, O. F., BiSER. 0. G., Stine, a. D.. White. J. F.. Moler. J. H. Crowder. J. C Wheeler. J. E.; Sfcond Row: Medeiros, E. R., Shilling. R. J.. Edelman. H.. olk. L. H.. Angel, I. Q.. Smith. D. E.. Medeiros. T.. Bassett, U. J.. Shea, F. P., Brigg. P.; Third Row: Schultz. D.. Birmingham. D.. Eldrece. V.. Manning.. D.. Sugar, J., Baskin, S., Goldmintz, I., Monell. M.. Medeiros, M.. Debernardo, J. A.. Vincent, T. M. F-DIVISION — First Row: Alt, G. E., Seymore, J. R., Ricks, B. M.. Vincent, B. C., Lancam, R. L., Winget. R. E.. Kli ttz, F. L., McAvoy. J. F.. Perry, J. W.. Baker, H. L. : Second Row: Smal. rz, W. P., RissELL. (;. A.. Anderson, J. H.. Havilchak. W.. Whitehead. N. W.. Laborsky. J. E., Ayers, R. ' ., B RTMAN, E. L.. Mmfuccio. F. D.. Mui.lins, J. J.. SiROT . 1.. Martin. R. W., Noca. A. J.; Thinl Row: Barrett, M. J., Roach, O., Beech, R. F.. Ji mp, T. J., OWeill, R. E.. Coy, C. C, Bisesi, S. 1 ' .. Foss, D. M., Kirk. A. S.. Moore. L. D.. Napier, L. R. A DIVISION — F( 5 Row: Schiller. Vi . L., Hopper, E., Ede, G., Prather, A. M., Stites, J. T., Ni- QUETTE, E. G.; Second Row: Miller, R. S.. Bird, R. E., Polito, R. P.. Moore, 0. J., McManus, B. F., Adams, J. E.. Haas, W. H., Polinychko, M., Skean, W.; Third Row: Wraith, G. A., Roberts, T. F.. Zwergel, B. F.. Rosenblum. H.. Giacolone, J. A., Norris. D. F.. Epstein, H. H., Mauder, W„ J. B DIVISION — First Row: X asliewski. V.. Stewart. R.. Hall, S., Macomber, W. E., Gleber. J. A.. Brumfield, J., McCaffrey. J., Davis, D.. Berry, R.; Second Row: Alfono, C., Lenahan, G.. Finnecan, E., Nemier, J.. Melfi. M., Dltch, R.. McRae. D., Zabonik. E. J.. Rosa. S., Kyllonen, A.. Alberti. W., McLean, W.: Third Row: Vicarid. A. J., Moman. C. L.. Pitts. J. T., King, T., Martini, J., Lapinsky, E., Church, B.. Rolssevu, R., Gill, S., Williams, E. D., McCartney, W.. Zincerline. W.. Aguredakes, E.; Fourth Row: Brown. E., McAleer. G.. Kennedy, J.. Nicoll, W., Wychules. P.. Hough, T.. Loyd, J., ATSON. R. W.. Scott, E. S., aetzel, K.. Leon, M., Ventura, A. P., Breedlove, G. 704 CLUB — First Row: Bowman, M. K.. Noble. C. Orndorff. C. S.. Brumfield. J. I.. McCaffrey, J. W.. Barry. R.. Vollim. T. J.. Cook. R. M.. Hall. S. D.. Tiara. J. B.; Second Row: King, T. N., Gill, S. A.. Pitts. J.. McRae, D. E.. Skean, W.. Blanco, J. E.. Dollar. J. M.. Pitts. P. F.. Day. R. W., Kyllonen, A. F., Speer. K. C, Scott, E. S.; Third Row: Fishek, C. M., Jump, T. J., Mintken, P. G., Elsey, G., McCutchon, D. A., Nicolle, W. V.. Frank, D. C, Walsh, E. T., Miller, H. F., Clayburn, F. L., Petrill. F. G. R-1 DIVISION — ■7ri Row: Noble, C. M., Wilson, {. ' .,Kle fieu ].: lUull) Second Row: Hodges, G. F., Lacace, L. a., NiBBLETT. E. E., BucoLo, J.. AuDETTE, K. J., Mitchell, A., Cloar, J. C, Brown, M. L.. Klnsella. T.. Klein. M.. Jarvis, P. P.. Frank. D. C; Third Row: Miles, L. T.. Miller, H. F.. Grantham. R.. Immink. C. L., Black, P., Newman, A. S., Newman, P. C.. Wadosky, L.. Kovac, J. R., ' ' vTHRiCH. P.. O ' Coi NOR. ]. Thesf men ivere not present when photo was taken: Baker, H. G., McGee, J. E., Ivory, T. J., Hauk, C. L., Miller, A. E.. Knivac. A.. Manlin, G. E., Minach, K. E., Schlecel, R. J.. Brown, W. H. iJ:n,: mv |-.--jg ; t M mtjf .tjf M i -isas 4 ' 3 ' ' .l K DIVISION — f r,. Row: Davis. H. C.. Pool. L. J.. Bowman. M. K.. Chaney. J. W.. Cook. R. M.: Second Row: Hoffman. D. N., Borland, R.. Ii.ijerton, F. C. Day, R. ' .. Morris. C.. McCoy. R. A.. Jones. R. W.. (.iarin. A. F., Hanna. E.. Hint. P. B.. Kirk. E. S.. Perry. G. H.: Third Row: .Murray, F.. Petrill. F. G.. Healey. ' . A.. Ritter. D. L.. Steveson. G. E.. Viard. K. F.. Leech. R.. Bennett. R. v., Merryman. R., Mleller, D.. McGrane. W. P. 77i( ' 5e men not here at that time: Crmc. J. T., MARTIN. VC. E,. B ca. H. OFFICERS — f( 5 Row: Lcdr Cl rk. J. M.. I.cdk Pvtterson. J. D.. Cdk Greene. T. J.. Cdr Dwis. L. F., Lcdr Gary. D. A.. Lt Mayer. J. F.: Second Row: Mach Fde. G.. Apc Mohler. J. H.. Lt Histon. J. E.. Lt Griffith. C. L.. Lt jc Dillon, J. W .. Lt.ig Bi sey. C. Y.. Lt jg Tiar , J. B.. Lt Spur. H. G.. Lt Bowman, M. K.. EIns Fritz. J. E. ; Third Row: Cpc Crowdkh. J. B., Chcin Hodcks, L. V.. Lt jg Hoyt. R. E.. Ens Pirtzer, J. ' .. Ens Townley, F. J.. Ens Sherwood. P. B.. Ens Gleber. J. A.. Lt .ic Wheeler, J. E., Ens Pool. J. L.. Mach Yeck, H. J., Bosn Monty, J. A. R.. Ens Meritt. J. K.: Fourth Row: Ens inget. R. E.. Lt.ig right. L. R., C rp " ilson, R. M.. Ens Traibe. E. B. V-1 AIR DEPARTMENT — fiVii Rou: Knight, J. B.. Hoit, R. E., Huston, J. E., Monty, J., Dillon, J. W.; Second Row: Duhaime, A. J., LiEBONOW, R. W., Waffokd, E. W., Manghan, P. J., McIveR, J. J., Myers, H. W., Flaherty, J. T., Newman, C. B., Midlow, J. P.; Third Row: Zimmerman, Q. M., Fedorek, T., Hill, R. K., Miller, C. E., Hendrickson, D. E.. Murray, N. I., Hoffman, C. H., Cooper, L, Theroux, E. J., Verbel, E. A., Musick. F. A.. McNaughton, E. W., Simoules, R. J. V-4 GAS AND ORDNANCE — f Vi Row: McDuffie, E. H., Yeck, H. J., Griffith, C. L.. Davis. L. F.. Orandorff, C. S.; Second Row: Downey, M.. Neighbors, C. W., McKernan. J. E.. Pappas, G. E., O ' Connell, E. J.. Hill, T. J.. Ostroll. H.. Mulleady, F. C. Neilson, W. F., Mancuso, E.; Third Row: Hensel, a. E., York, D. R.. Hartberger, C. L.. Korsgaard. J.. Hushion. W. C, Fedden, C. C. Howard, V. G., O ' Leary, D. T., Sevensky, R.. Tharp, S. L., Walleiv, A. L. MESS COOKS — Firsi Row: RussEL, L. G., LaRocco, P.; Second Row: Marshall, C. E., Hagsett, H. E., Roylance, L. D., Chapman, C. B., Raseblack, M. C, Albertson, P., Hurley, J. B., Nichols. O. E.: Third Row: Smith, E. D.. Yasinski, E. P.. Leonard. G. J.. Johnston, D. V., Schaefer, J. E.. Hebda, A. S. STEWARDS MATES — First Row: Pettison, L., Turner, (,. G., Stecer, F., Hamilton, A. L., Wash- ington, C. C. ; Second Roiv: Gordon J., Cannon, H. L., Smith, M. C. Steward, R., Baker, L. R., Alston, F., Savage, E. J. Reynor, K.; Third Row: Kelley, A.. Baity. D.. XIJ eaveh, M., Harper, J., David, G. T., Hall, Vt .. Barkins. E.. hite. S ' . J. Commander C. E. Dukinson Cnmmiindin Officer. 9 June 1946 to The erUire flight deck removed, except for the forward 150 feet, the biggest repair job in naval history is underway. ABOVE: Big Ben ' s officers and men pay tribute to America ' s war dead, in Rockefeller Plaza . . . BELOW: Captain Gehres, Comdr. Taylor, Father O ' Callahan, and Comdr. Hale, stand in salute as taps is sounded Captain Gehres presents the Purple Heart to Fireman Dan Cummings Some of the twenty thousand visitors uho were aboard the Franklin on Navy Day. October 27th. 1945 On Memorial Day, May 31st, the Franklin s crew stood at attention in Rockefeller Plaza, by the model of The Fight- ing Lady — an Essex class carrier — while Father O ' Callahan, on a nationwide radio broadcast, held memorial services for the gallant men who would not come back from the battlefields and ocean wastes over which World War II was fought. Some of the men commenced thirty days ' leave in June. Three hundred new men had been sent by the Navy to take over ship ' s duties while they were away. As " X " Division, these youngsters worked hard through the summer; they held promise of being real sailors when Big Ben sailed again. Some of them had friends who had died on the Franklin. One lad, Henry Syrek, newly enlisted, remembered his brother Frank Syrek. a iation ordnanceman. who died on her decks three months before. On June 20th the remaining rewards were presented. Ten days later, June 30th, Captain Gehres was detached to be- come the commander of the Naval Air Station. San Diego, California. Comdr. Taylor was detached to be the command- er of the Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Me., Comdr. Henry H. Hale became the new commanding officer. In July, as the navy yard worked ceaselessly, and Big Ben began to look like her trim self again, the men of the ship were hard at work preparing for their next cruise. Hundreds of men were away at Damage Control School, at fire-fighter school, at schools fitting them for more responsible posi- tions. But in August, 1945, the little yellow men who thought to rule the world begged for mercy. Witli peace and demobilization the men of the " 704 Club " faded away; they were men with long sea service whose hearts were still in the homes they had fought to preserve. New faces, young men from the training stations, came to take their places. On Navy D ay, 1945 — October 27th, thousands of visitors were shown over Big Ben. Tlie new carrier. Franklin D. Roosevelt, across the pier, being commissioned by Presidejit Truman, was not so crowded as the veteran of the Pacific. On January 23rd, 1946, in Washington. D. C, Father Joseph O ' Callahan, chaplain courageous, and Lt. Donald A. Gary, received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman. Lt. Gary, still on Big Ben. was proudly greeted when he returned by shipmates who were happy that he had been accorded this fitting recognition. Father O ' Callalian was no longer aboard, now serving on I be USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, but his old shipmates on the Franklin arc still prf u(l to have served beside him. As repairs neared completion in Aj)ril, 1946, and officers and men alike began to look forward to the shakedown cruise and joining the Fourth L ' nited States Fleet, dis- ap|)ointing news came. Due to the reduction of naval ap- propriations it was necessary to transfer the Franklin to the inactive 16th Fleet, — for " Operation Zipper " and the preservation j)rocess that prepares warships for deactiva- tion during the |)eace-time years. After she arrived at the U.S. Navy Yard Annex, Bayonne, N. J., Commander Hale was detached on June flth for duly at the Naval Ordnance Depot, Inyokern, California; the Commander could look back on an eventful cruise since the day he reported aboard in August, 1914, through the months as Navigator when he hardly left the bridge in some of the tensest actions of the war, the succeeding months as Air Officer (busiest and most hectic job on a carrier), and finally a year of command while the biggest repair assignment in naval history was being accom|)lished by the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard. This repair job, it might be noted, was under the supervision of Ship ' s Sujjcrintendent J. M. McMullen. Lieutenant Com- mander, LI.S.N., and was completed on 15 June. 1946. The new Commanding Officer, Commander Clarence E. Dickinson, U.S.N., was a veteran combat pilot at 33. with a brilliant record of " firsts " and holder of three Navy Crosses: pilot of the first naval aircraft to shoot down a Japanese plane — a Zero at Pearl Harbor, on December 7th, 1941; three days later on December 10th, 1941, he roared down in his Douglas Dauntless (SBD) divebomber to a subsequently confirmed kill of the first major Japanese submarine in the war — the 1-170, barely 125 miles off Pearl Harbor. His third Navy Cross was won in a daring attack on the Japanese cruiser Kaga at Midway, in which he registered three direct hits. Under Commander Dickin- son, an officer thoroughly familiar with the value of pre- paredness, and the cost of it ' s lack, preservation measures were carried out with characteristic Navy thoroughness, de- spite the dwindling numbers of the crew. On about November 1st, 1946, when the last hatch will be sealed tight, and the last line made secure, a skeleton crew of seventy men and six officers will take over their watch. There she will wait beside the dock — still the United States Ship Franklin. " Big Ben the Flattop, " a proud fight- ing ship of a fighting Navy. So That Is Her Stokv . . . Perhaps a new generation of sailors uill man her decks; sailors of a newer day, folloiving in the gallant pathways of the departed men who fought aboard her. She will take them all to her heart: again her spaces will echo to noise and laughter and the sound of men at work. But in the evenings, where she looms dark and grim ngainsl the sky. alungside the wharf in a quiet, peat-e-time navy yard, men who love ships will look al Inr limodnig hulk and know thai Big lien is reinemlienng . . . Reniemhering those hoys, so gay and brave, who saileil her into hallle . . . their voices, ihcir laughter, their tears. They became a part of her, as she became a par! of them. The years arc long and memory is short: the world will soon forget. Big Ben remembers . . . In reply address not the signer of this letter, but Bureau of Naval Personnel. Navy Department, Washinaton 25. D.C. Refer to No. Eers 328-DN-ILK Navy Department BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL WASHINGTON 25. D.C. 17 July 19A5. To: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. FRANKLIN. Subj : Resolution of the General Assembly of the State of Ohio - Forv arding of. 1. The Chief of Navel Personnel takes great pleasure in foirwarding the subject Resolution, passed by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio and presented to the U.S.S. FRANKLIN and her men in recognition of their gallant action in saving their ship and returning her safely to port. R. A. KOCH Cctptam, U. S. N. (Ret) Spedal Assistant to Chief of Naval PersonnsJ 96th general assembly regular session 1945 1946 H. R No 88 To fighting men and a fighting ship — the glorious crew and the inspiring sight of the staunch aircraft carrier, U. S. S. Franklin, as it steamed past the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. WHEREAS, The accomplishment of the U. S. S. FrankHn, the 27,000-ton airplane carrier, which in the face of almost unsurmountable difficulties, and when practically sunk, refused to go down, but fought a thrilling battle, sixty miles off the Japanese coast, indelibly carved its name on the scroll of the many illustrious and thrilling sea battles which adorn the pages of American history; and WHEREAS. The U. S. S. Franklin limped back to port under its own power, still flying the Stars and Stripes, and in spite of Japanese bombs, with their accompanying fires and explosions, returned four- teen thousand dangerous miles, though badly damaged, with hundreds of her crew killed or wounded, to the Brooklyn Navy Yard: and WHEREAS, Captain L. E. Gehres, the ship ' s commander, in the immortal words of Captain Lawrence, declared: " I ' ll not abandon this ship, " and in sticking to his decision added another episode of unforgettable glory- to America ' s sea fighters, saved his ship and two-thirds of her complement of twenty-five hundred men; and WHEREAS, High on the roll of honor for heroic service in the face of fire, is the name of Lt. Com- mander Joseph O ' Callahan, chaplain of the U. S. S. Franklin, whose brave action in moving around a burning and exposed deck, administering to the dying, recruiting damage control parties and leading officers and men into flames to jettison hot bombs and shells, wet down ammunition maga- zines, etc., made one of the ship ' s senior ofTicers remark: " He was the bravest man I ever saw ' ; and WHEREAS, Hundreds of Purple Hearts were earned, as men from all walks of life, and race, color, creed, many from the State of Ohio, fought side by side against deadly flame, smoke, bombs and explosions to bring the U. S. S. Franklin home with flags flying; therefore be it RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, That in recognition of this seemingly impossible task of achievement that this resolution be adopted by a rising vote and a copy be spread upon the journal as a testimony of the accomplishments of the American people under fire and the real signifi- cance of lasting victory and its fruition in a permanent peace, when an age of reason will supplant an age of war, when a philosophy of life will supplant a philosophy of death and destruction as exemplified in the devotion of the .American people to the ideals of the brotherhood of man, liberty and justice and the right of every man to li e in dignity and freedom as his conscience dictates: and be it further RESOLVED, That the clerk of the House of Representatives send an authenticated copy of this reso- lution to James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War, and to Captain L. E. Gehres, of the L ' . S. S. Franklin. s Otis R. Johnson Clerk G ITATION On 3ttiarding the ©old JVItdal for Valor to Tht CI.jS.jS. Aircraft O rritr Franklin, Officers and Crew N THE MORNING OF MAY EIGHTEENTH. NEWS CAME THAT THE GREAT AIRCRAFT CARRIER FRANKLIN HAD BEEN STRUCK. WITH SADDENED HEARTS WE FOLLOWED THE FACTS ONE BY ONE AND LEARNED OF LOSS. CARNAGE. FIRE. EXPLOSION. AND DISASTER. ' BIG BEN. " AFFECTIONATELY SO CALLED AFTER OUR FIRST GREAT AMERICAN. HAD BEEN CRIPPLED MANY WERE THEY WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE AND " GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN SHOWN. " THE PROUD CARRIER. LESS THAN TWO YEARS OLD. HAD ALREADY RECEIVED ITS BATTLE SCARS IN A PREVIOUS ATTACK. WE PAY HOMAGE TO OUR NAVY; WE GLORY IN HER PROWESS; WITH FAME SHE IS ADORNED. WE SINGLE OUT FAVORITES AND ADOPT THEM AND FOLLOW THEIR CAREERS WITH PRIDE AND AFFECTION. ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO REVERETHE NAME OF BENIAMIN FRANKLIN, " BIG BEN " IS OF SPECIAL CONCERN. IT COULD NOT THEN BE OTHERWISE THAN THAT AS FOLLOWERS AND STUDENTS OF FRANKLIN " WITH SADDENED HEARTS. WE FOLLOWED THE FACTS ONE BY ONE. " ERMISSION HAD BEEN GIVEN TO THE CAPTAIN TO ABANDON SHIP. BUT THE CARRIER FRANKLIN WAS NOT DESERTED. CAPTAIN GEHRES AND HIS GREAT CREW. MADE OF STERNER S rUFF. WERE DETERMINED NOT TO ABANDON. THEN AS WE LEARNED MORE THERE CAME TO US THE THRILL OF VICTORY. FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE HAD BECOME THE FACT AND THE GREAT CARRIER lUST WOULD NOT GO DOWN. A MIRACLE WAS DONE. FOR THE FRANKLIN THAT HAD GONE DEAD LIVED ONCE AGAIN! NOT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR NAVY HAS THE TRADITION OF FORTITUDE AND HEROISM EXCELLED THAT OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW ON THE DAY AND AFTER THE CARRIER WAS BOMBED EVER IN THE ANNALS OF NAVAL HISTORY HAS GLORY BEEN BESTOWED AT ONE TIME ON SO MANY AS ON THAT MARCH NINETEENTH WHEN OUT OF THE SKY DASHED THE ENEMY INTENT ON DEATH AND TOTAL DESTRUCTION. IT WAS THEN THAT EVERY MAN M DID HIS DUTY . IT WAS THEN THAT THE NOBLE CAPTAIN WAS EQUAL TO HIS GREAT RESPONSIBILITY; IT WAS THEN THAT OFFICERS AND CREW RALLIED AND WORKED AS A GREAT UNIT. SAVED LIVES AND SHIP. AND BROUGHT THE CRIPPLED FRANKLIN SAFELY HOME OVER A COURSE OF TWELVE THOUSAND LONG MILES. IT WAS ON THAT DAY THAT THE NAME " FRANKLIN " TOOK ON ANOTHER GLORY FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THE NAME. ). CAPTAIN GEHRES. THE INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR BENIAMIN FRANKLIN SOCIETY WITH CHAPTERS EXTENDING FROM MONTREAL AND MASSACHUSETTS.TO CALIFORNIA . SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL BENIAMIN FRANKLIN SOCIETY. lAMES WRIGHT BROWN. PRESIDENT. RECOGNIZING THE BRAVERY AND HEROISM OF THE OFFICERS AND CREW OF THE U S. S. CARRIER FRANKUN. ASKS YOU TO ACCEPT A MEDAL FOR VALOR TO BE PLACED ON THE CARRIER AS A CONSTANT REMINDER OF GREAT DEEDS WHICH WILL EVER BE AN EXAMPLE TO THOSE TO WHOM IS GIVEN GREAT RESPONSIBILITY ILL YOU BE PLEASED TO RECEIVE THE MEDAL AT THE HAND OF JOSEPH AGNELLO. PRESIDENT OFTHE GENERAL ORGANIZATION OF THIS SCHOOL AND MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR BENIAMIN FRANKLIN SOCIETY. CHAPTER 8. WHICH IS ONE OF m SIX CHAPTERS ORGANIZED IN THE NEW YORK SCHOOL OF PRINTING. civrM iM Nfw TotiK THIS Hif SintTTianBnal Brnjamm franklin nttir, Jnr. NINr.fl EN IHJMWrO rOHTYflVE VICLWCSIDCNT


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