USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) Reunion – 18-21 March, 2010

February 23rd, 2010 by xformed

Aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) attacked...
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Received for distribution:

The crew of the USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) will hold their 2010 reunion from the 18th to the 21st of March, in Branson, MO.

Specific location:  Lodge of the Ozarks.

Special event:  Memorial service morning of 19 March.  This will be held on the 65th anniversary of the attack off the coast of Japan.

Registration closes 1 March, 2010.

Contact for Questions:
Sam Rhodes  772-334-0366 or
Beth Conard Rowland (daughter of crewman) 740-524-0024  (please leave message)

These men who went to war, preformed well, suffered a horrible blow, yet sailed their ship home may not be around much longer to share their stories.  If you’re close by, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a visitor or two who would thank them and listen to a story of two for history’s sake.  Take your camera and notepad and post the things you learn!

More information on the USS FRANKLIN (CV-13):

The story of the day the ship was struck by a kamikaze off Japan is “Inferno.”

As a warm up to getting your hands on “Inferno,” SteelJaw Scribe provided an excellent synopsis of that horrible day in his 2008 post:  “The Crucible.”

LCDR Joseph T. O’Callahan, USN, ChC was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action on 19 March, 1945.  LTJG Donald Gary, USN, of the Engineering Department served heroically below decks to save his ship and shipmates.  He also was awarded the MOH.

Seaman 1/c Omer Dee Simms, USN died that day, after saving 12 of his shipmates, by relentlessly working to free them from the internal compartment they had been trapped in by damage and fire.  After he led them to safety, he re-entered the skin of the ship to save more people.  He did not survive.  His son graciously shared with me family photos and letters to enable me to post some personal history of the battle not otherwise published.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 8:25 am and is filed under "Sea Stories", History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Supporting the Troops. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 responses about “USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) Reunion – 18-21 March, 2010”

  1. Carolyn Smeltzer said:

    Harry Smeltzer, a former member of the USS Franklin,
    this week presented a signed limited-edition lithograph of
    the ship ablaze to the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical
    Center in Prescott. The signed lithograph is No. 499 of
    500 prints of a drawing by fellow USS Franklin crewman
    Robert J. Albrecht.
    “I am happy to donate this picture to the VA because it is
    a part of history and should be preserved. The VA has
    been wonderful to me, and I wanted them to know that,”
    Smeltzer said.
    The former resident of Pennsylvania lived in Prescott for
    11 years before becoming a resident of the Community
    Living Center at the Bob Stump VA hospital a year ago.
    “I am just so proud to know Harry and truly appreciate
    the bravery and the humbleness of his heroic efforts to
    defend the U.S.A.,” Dr. Rene Jelinek of the CLC said of
    Smeltzer. “All our veterans here at the VA are heroes, and
    it is an honor for me to be of service to them.”
    Smeltzer, 86, is a survivor of the famed Essex-class
    aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13). The 21-year-old
    seaman was a member of the catapult crew that launched
    the planes from the flight deck of the huge carrier. The
    USS Franklin had the distinction of being the most heavily
    damaged carrier ship to survive the war.
    On March 19, 1945, the ship had maneuvered closer to
    the Japanese mainland than any other U.S. carrier during
    the war – about 50 miles off its coast. The USS Franklin
    had launched a fighter sweep against Honshu and later a
    strike against shipping in Kobe Harbor before a Japanese
    dive-bomber launched two 550-pound armor-piercing
    bombs on a low-level run that hit the ship before the sun
    rose that day. That was about five months before the U.S.
    dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
    The Daily Courier | Prescott veteran brings history to local VA 12/26/09 9:40 AM Page 2 of 2
    signed lithograph of the USS Franklin.
    Smeltzer, who was in the mess hall below deck having breakfast, said the enemy bombs tore through the decks
    and ignited the ammunition stored below, causing grave destruction and death.
    He ran up to the flight deck to man his battle station and helped fight the fires. While carrying the fire hose under
    his right arm, Smeltzer had to keep covering his nose and mouth because of the heavy smoke.
    “It was before dawn when we were attacked and everything was pitch black, except for the flames. I didn’t think I
    would live to make it to my birthday, which was in three days,” he said.
    Smeltzer said he remembers vividly the bombs on the ship’s planes exploding from the heat and fire, and the
    crews pushing all the burning wreckage overboard into the ocean. “Even the next day they were tossing ruined
    equipment and planes into the ocean,” he said.
    As one of the ship’s crew who wasn’t injured, Smeltzer said he was one of the lucky ones because 724 men died,
    and the bombing and its aftermath wounded 265.
    Smeltzer said there were many heroes that morning, such as the men who repeatedly traveled below the USS
    Franklin’s deck to rescue trapped comrades who could not find their way topside in the fiery trap.
    From the deck of the USS Santa Fe, Smeltzer observed a failed kamikaze attack on the injured ship the next day,
    with the Japanese “Judy” dive-bomber crashing into the sea.
    While he escaped uninjured in the March 1945 attack, Smeltzer received injuries in an attack in October 1944.
    Smeltzer was on the flight deck when he witnessed two Japanese kamikaze aircraft achieve their target and crash
    into the carrier, generating significant structural damage.
    The Navy repaired the USS Franklin after that assault and sent it back to active duty in the Pacific Theater of
    However, after the damage it received in the March 1945 attack, it was not able to get back into action. The ship
    was towed out of the area by the cruiser Pittsburgh. Once the USS Franklin was able to raise enough steam, she
    made her way to the Ulithi Atoll for emergency repairs. Then, the ship steamed to Pearl Harbor for more repairs
    before its voyage, under its own power, to New York Harbor for repairs.
    The USS Franklin and Bunker Hill – which also had sustained severe damage from aerial attack – were the only
    carriers in their class that never saw any active-duty postwar service, though their wartime damage had been
    successfully repaired. The Navy decommissioned the USS Franklin in February 1947.
    Harry Smeltzer is living at the Northern Arizona VA, CLC 1, 500 Highway 89 North, Precsott, Arizona, 86313 phone 18009471005 ext 1041…submitted by Carolyn Smeltzer,daugher, 312 520 3804

  2. ®Evil » Blog Archive » USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) Reunion – 18-21 March, 2010 said:

    […] USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) Reunion – 18-21 March, 2010 The crew of the USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) will hold their 2010 reunion from the 18th to the 21st of March, in Branson, MO. […]

  3. Beverly Larche said:

    My dad, Beverly J. Larche, flew with the Black Sheep Squardon, and off the Franklin, does anyone remember him? His plane crashed in the ocean in June 1946.

  4. Amanda Greener said:

    My Great Uncle, Utah Bond was killed 10/30/44 aboard the Franklin. I was wondering if anyone remembers him and might possibly have a photo of him aboard the ship.

  5. Amanda Greener said:

    My Great Uncle, Utah Bond was killed 3/14/45 (sorry had wrong date) aboard the Franklin. I was wondering if anyone remembers him and might possibly have a photo of him aboard the ship.

  6. keith kloza said:

    My Uncle Victor Kloza was on the Franklin in 1944, said he was a radioman on the TBF Avenger bomber. Maybe someone remembers him, maybe someone has an old picture of him? He is still living, enjoying life. Thanks, and thank you to all the veterans who made freedom possible for me and my family.

  7. David Emerson said:

    My Dad Guy Emerson was on the Franklin. He was a gunner on a TBF. Any one remember him? He was shot down twice. He died in 1984

  8. Roger M Lestrange said:

    Does anyone remember my uncle Roger Lestrange.He was killed in action in aug 44 flying off the franklin. I inharited a cv13 picture album filled with pictures and my uncles diary. i would love to share this priceless treaure with any living shipmate or relative.

  9. Linda Simmons said:

    Mr Lestrange
    My Dad,Albert Friend (Pete) served on the franklin and was injured. Removed to Guam with injuries,before back to stateside. Would love to see some photos from the album,pictures of shipmates.This would be priceless to show his great grandsons & Daughters.
    Linda Friend Simmons

  10. Billy Walker said:

    Looking for information on C.K.”Buddy” Faught who survived the 19MAR45 bombing of CV-13 USS Franklin. He was in ReadyRoom 51 as one of 12 VMF 214 BlackSheep pilots….

  11. Chiaki said:

    Dear Uncle George,Happy 90th Birthday! Wish I could be there to give you a hug in person!I’m going to send Julie piuretcs she may not have, to add to the site I treasure the photo of you in uniform with your dog Stubby, which was posted in the newspaper when he disappeared.And I have films of you and my Dad Lou, two good-looking 20-something hunks, looking like you just stepped out of a GAP ad in tee shirts and khakis! When I figure out i-Movie and can capture the video, I’ll post it too!Love,Barbara

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