dawn on 19 March 1945 the U.S.S. Franklin, who
had maneuvered closer to the Japanese mainland than had
any other U.S. carrier during the war, launched a
fighter sweep against Honshu and later a strike against
shipping in Kobe Harbor. Suddenly, a single enemy plane
pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the
gallant ship to drop two semi-armor piercing bombs. One
struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the
hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires
through the second and third decks, and knocking out the
combat information center and airplot. The second hit
aft, tearing through two decks and fanning fires, which
triggered ammunition, bombs and rockets. The Franklin,
within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, lay dead
in the water, took a 13° starboard list, lost all radio
communications, and broiled under the heat from
enveloping fires. Many of the crew were blown overboard,
driven off by fire, killed or wounded, but the 106
officers and 604 enlisted who voluntarily remained saved
their ship through sheer valor and tenacity. The
casualties totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded, and would
have far exceeded this number except for the heroic work
of many survivors. Among these were Medal of Honor
winners, Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callahan, S.
J., USNR, the ship's chaplain, who administered the last
rites, organized and directed firefighting and rescue
parties, and led men below to wet down magazines that
threatened to explode, and Lieutenant (junior grade)
Donald Gary who discovered 300 men trapped in a
blackened mess compartment, and finding an exit,
returned repeatedly to lead groups to safety. The U.S.S.
Santa Fe (CL-60) similarly rendered vital
assistance in rescuing crewmen from the sea and closing
the Franklin to take off the numerous wounded.
Franklin was taken in tow by the U.S.S. Pittsburgh
until she managed to churn up speed to 14 knots and
proceed to Pearl Harbor where a cleanup job permitted
her to sail under her own power to Brooklyn, N.Y.,
arriving on 28 April. Following the end of the war, the Franklin
was opened to the public, for Navy Day celebrations,
and on 17 February 1947 was placed out of commission at
Bayonne, N.J. On 15 May 1959 she was reclassified AVT 8.
U.S.S. Franklin received four battle stars for World
War II service.
Dictionary Of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol.
II, 1977, pp. 443-444
web site is devoted to all of those that so gallantly
served on the U.S.S. Franklin during this most
courageous time. Many
lost their lives that day, many have passed on since
then, and for those that remain with us, and all that
served, we salute you!
Robert E. Gentry, Sgt, USMC, (Jun 8, 1924 – Dec 26, 1967) served on the
Franklin that day. He was
with many of his Marine buddies, Kenneth (KK) Thompson, Mike Sansone,
John Norman, Joe Titus, Patrick Sculley, all members of the
infamous group, Black Sheep Squadron.
Half of the squadron assigned to the Franklin perished; lost, but
Franklin Museum Association is not affiliated with this website, is not
responsible for, does not endorse nor confirm its content.
Information pertaining to the "USS Franklin Museum Association"
is for informational purposes only and shall not be taken as an
endorsement of the website of any kind, by the membership, its associates
or affiliates !