USS Franklin CV-13
("Big Ben" The Ship That Wouldn't Die)
Dedicated to the men who gave their lives and to the survivors who will NEVER FORGET
This Page is dedicated to one of the survivors, MY Dad.
while he did survive the tragic events of 19 March 1945,
he never forgot. The stories he told were unbelievable. Since his passing, I have been thinking about him a lot, and so I decided that I would build this USS Franklin CV-13 page in memory of him and his comrades, both alive and passed. My Dad was a proud man, and proud to serve in the military, and proud of his ship. This page is just a small thing I can do to keep the memory of these young men alive.
If anyone wants to contact me, or if anyone knew my father Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel J. Killmer, Sr.
USS Franklin AS-13
There were 5 ships that were name USS Franklin, the first 4 were named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the fifth USS Franklin has much controversy about how it got the name, there are those that say it was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 (O.S. January 6, 1705) – April 17, 1790), and then there are those that say it was named after the Battle of Franklin, TN. The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864, resulting in almost 10,000 casualties (killed, wounded, captured and missing) and turning forty-four buildings in town into field hospitals. I read somewhere that during the 1940's aircraft carriers were named after battles and not named after historical figures. I also read that the USS. Franklin was one of them, but the later was told it wasn’t. Anyway I do not want to spend to much time on the history. My page is not about how the ship was named or how many other came before it, my page is about the heroic men that died or were injured while service on CV-13. However, a builder-installed plaque aboard the ship stated that she had been named for the Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (November 30, 1864.) The fifth Franklin (CV-13) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va., on 14 October 1943; sponsored by Lieutenant Commander Mildred A. McAfee, USNR, and Director of the WAVES; and commissioned on 31 January 1944, with Captain James M. Shoemaker in command.
Franklin cruised to Trinidad for shakedown and soon thereafter departed in TG 27.7 for San Diego to engage in intensive training exercises preliminary to combat duty. In June she sailed via Pearl Harbor for Eniwetok where she joined TG 58.2.
USS Franklin at sea for the first time February 21, 1944
On the last day of June 1944 she sortied for carrier strikes on the Bonins in support of the subsequent Marianas assault. Her planes scored well against aircraft on the ground and in the air as well as
against gun installations, airfield and enemy ship ping. On 4 July strikes were
launched against Iwo Jima, Chichi Jima and Ha Ha Jima with her planes battering
the land, sinking a large cargo vessel in the harbor and firing three smaller
On 6 July she began strikes on Guam and Rota to soften up for the invasion forces, and continued until the 21st when she lent direct support to enable safe landing of the first assault waves. Two days of replenishment at Saipan permitted her to steam i n TF 58 for photographic reconnaissance and air strikes against the islands of the Palau group. Her planes effected their mission on the 25th and 26th, exacting a heavy toll in enemy planes, ground installations, and shipping. She departed on 28 July en route to Saipan and the following day shifted to TG 68.1.
Although high seas prevented taking on needed
bombs and rockets, Franklin steamed for another raid against the Bonins. The 4th
of August bode well, for her fighters launched against Chichi Jima and her dive
bombers and torpedo planes against a convoy north of Ototo Jima rained
destruction against the radio stations, seaplane base, airstrips and ships.
A period of upkeep and recreation from 9 to 28 August ensued at Eniwetok before she departed in company with carriers Enterprise (CV-6), Belleau Wood (CVL-24) and San Jacinto (CVL-30) for neutralization and diversionary attacks against the Bonins. From 31 August to 2 September spirited and productive strikes from Franklin inflicted much ground damage, sank two cargo ships, bagged numerous enemy planes in flight, and accomplished photographic survey.
On 4 September she on loaded supplies at Saipan and steamed in TG 38.4 for an attack against Yap (3-6 September) which included direct air coverage of the Peleliu invasion on the 16th. The group took on supplies at Manus Island from 21-25 September.
Franklin as flagship of TG 38.4 returned to the Palau area where she launched daily patrols and night fighters. On 9 October she rendezvoused with carrier groups cooperating in air strikes in support of the coming occupation of Leyte. At twilight on the 13th, the Task Group came under attack by four bombers and Franklin twice was narrowly missed by torpedoes. An enemy plane crashed Franklin's deck abaft the island structure, slid across the deck and into the water on her starboard beam.
Early on the 14th a fighter sweep was made against Aparri,
Luzon, following which she steamed to the east of Luzon to neutralize
installations to the east prior to invasion landings on Leyte. On the 16th she
was attacked by three enemy planes, one of which scored with a bomb that hit the
after outboard corner of the deck edge elevator, killing 3 and wounding 22. The
tenacious carrier continued her daily operations hitting hard at Manila Bay on
19 October when her planes sank a number of ships, damaged many, destroyed a
floating dry dock, and bagged 11 planes. 
During the initial landings on Leyte (20 October) her aircraft hit surrounding air strips, and launched search patrols in anticipation of the approach of a reported enemy attack force. On the morning of 24 October her planes sank a destroyer and damage d two others. Franklin, with Task Groups 38.4, 38.3, and 38.2 sped to intercept the advancing Japanese carrier force and attack at dawn. Franklin's four strike groups combined with those from the other carriers in sending to the bottom four Japanese carriers, and battering their screens.
Retiring in her task group to refuel, she returned to the Leyte action on 27 October, her planes concentrating on a heavy cruiser and two destroyers south of Mindoro. She was underway about 1,000 miles off Samar on 30 October when enemy bombers appeared bent on a suicide mission. Three doggedly pursued Franklin, the first plummeting off her starboard side the second hitting the flight deck and crashing through to the gallery deck, showering destruction, killing 56 and wounding 60; the third disc harging another near miss at Franklin before diving into the flight deck of Belleau Wood.
Both carriers retired to Ulithi for temporary repairs and Franklin proceeded to Puget Sound Navy Yard arriving 28 November 1944 for battle damage overhaul.
She departed Bremerton on 2 February 1945 and after training exercises and pilot qualification joined TG 58.2 for strikes on the Japanese homeland in support of the Okinawa landings. On 15 March she rendezvoused with TF 58 units and 3 days later launch ed sweeps and strikes against Kagoshima and Izumi on southern Kyushu.
Before dawn on 19 March 1945 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. 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. Santa Fe (CL-60) similarly rendered vital
assistance in rescuing crewmen from the sea and closing Franklin to take off the
Franklin was taken in tow by 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 o f the war, 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.
Franklin received four battle stars for World War II service.