SAVE THE DATE! 2023 USS Franklin Reunion February 16-19 Corpus Christi Texas.

Featured

Angel Barnes and the family of crewmember Gerald Ahniwake ‘Ahni’ Ray would like to invite you to the 2023 USS Franklin reunion at the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Corpus Christi International Airport is located just 12 miles away from the hotel. San Antonio Airport is 2.5 hours away.

The highlight of the reunion is the USS Lexington CV-16 Museum (https://usslexington.com/). These dates coincide with the celebration of the USS Lexington’s 80th anniversary, and will include donations of USS Franklin memorabilia and granite plaques that will become part of a new display on the Lexington that will be devoted to the USS Franklin.

The remaining events are being worked out so book your hotel now. A full registration and schedule will follow soon!

Please contact the hotel by calling the number below or using the link below to make your hotel reservations and the USS Franklin reunion group rate of $104/night.

https://www.marriott.com/events/start.mi?id=1662064249967&key=GRP

(361) 851-2000

SpringHill Suites Corpus Christi
4331 South Padre Island Drive
Corpus Christi, Texas 78411

We are very excited for this opportunity to gather again and hope to see you all there!

In 2004, USS Franklin crewman Ray Bailey donated to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California a set of granite plaques commemorating the two USS Franklin Medal of Honor recipients, Donald Gary and Joseph O’Callahan, and the Franklin crewmen who lost their lives while serving on the ship. The museum was never able to use the plaques and they rested in storage on the Midway until recently when they were recovered and temporarily stored to await a new home. That home has been found at the USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas.

As part of the documentary about the USS Franklin, Andy Clark will be filming the transport of the plaques from San Diego to Corpus Christi the week of October 3-7, and invites any interested Franklin crewmen and/or their family or friends to meet him and his film crew along and way to become part of the documentary.

The route will be on I-8 from San Diego through Southern California into Southern Arizona, then changing to I-10 at Phoenix, passing into Southern New Mexico and then turning south at Las Cruces, through El Paso and picking up I-37 in San Antonio for the final leg to Corpus Christi, Texas. Anyone near or on this route who wishes to participate can contact Andy at amclarkphotography@gmail.com

You can see a short video here about the USS Franklin at the USS Midway Museum and the recovery of the plaques:

Hanging on to Faith Alone.

Featured

HANGING ON TO FAITH ALONE

George Fain Black

 

Having scarcely been more than fifty miles from home in my life, I had decided on my 18th birthday to join the Navy. I rode a bus for 90 miles to Lubbock, Texas, where as a selective volunteer, I was sent to Naval Boot Training at Camp Wallace near Galveston. After “boots,” I traveled on a troop train to radio school at Naval Armory in Indianapolis, and graduated as a radioman striker in December 1944. I arrived at a receiving ship near San Jose, California, and in less than 2 weeks, was on a bus in search of my ship.  I clearly remember the bus turning a corner at dockside at Alameda, and there loomed the most awesome thing I had ever seen in my life—the attack aircraft carrier named USS Franklin. The sea detail had already been set, and lines were attached to the gangway to pull it aboard just minutes after our party had boarded. I had never before seen a ship, or the sea.

 

While awaiting billeting assignment, my group was allowed to witness our departure under the Golden Gate, and saw it finally disappear into the haze. I had difficulty in acclimating to shipboard life, as I was in a group of 10 who did not even have a bunk, locker, or compartment assigned; we had to live, even off duty, in the mess hall, and sleep in our hammocks, as best as we’ could, when it did not conflict with mess meals or the early rising Airedales.  After we let Ulithi atoll, the mess hall was used as a bomb assembly area when not used for mess. I usually swung my hammock near the bomb elevator, and on one occasion, was roused out of my hammock from a deep exhaustive sleep only to straddle a 500-pound bomb parked directly under me. My watch was important. I was on what was called “Jump Fox,” which was NSS Pearl Harbor and CINCPAC. Should the main operator miss reception of the Morse-coded messages, then, as the “back up,” I was expected to receive it. As the “flag” was aboard, anything that came for “Big Ben” was important.

 

Recalling, the communications K division went into battle conditions on March 15, we shifted to two battle watches: starboard and port, and we stayed at our radio positions for 8 hours. My first test as an operator receiver came on the 16th, with our call sign direct from Admiral Nimitz H.Q. It was a long coded message; both the operator and I got it okay. A few hours later, after decoding and delivery, I Was shown the message copy and it said, “Lucky Day March 17.” We guessed that our sealed orders authorized our attack to commence on that date, and we turned out to be correct. Before we could be relieved from watch, we went into battle stations; so we remained on watch all through the 17th and into the l8th. Several attempts were made to relieve us for mess and rest, but each time was thwarted by battle conditions with bogeys on the screen. I recall going through the night of the l8th-l9th still at watch on the radios… very hungry, and tired. We had plenty of java and that was it. Suddenly, one of the communications officers, an Ensign, burst into the radio shack and announced our relief was just behind. We were to go on the double before chow call and eat ahead of everyone else; we had to get mess over within 5 minutes and report to Radio 2 on the fantail. Tired and hungry, I jumped and handed the earphones to my relief (I never saw him again as he was killed there), and followed my watch leader, First Class R/M Walter Bigusiak, down the ladders to mess.

 

The first bomb exploded, just as l seated and started scooping in chow. The blast flung me clear across the compartment into a corner. I struck a stack of sea bags and hammocks, one being my own, which cushioned the impact.  Others seated at the same mess table were not so lucky. Managing to get to my feet as a few others were doing the same, I noticed everyone’s face was sooty black from the burnt powder of the blast. Some hurried to go aft, some forward. Later, I learned that hardly anyone made it out. We had been ordered to Radio 2 on the starboard fantail, and tried to go that way. We were following Bigusiak, so we went port to a ladder that led up to the hanger deck. Thirteen men got into a small crew compartment under the hangar deck, just before the lights went out. A few minutes later, the telephone went out. The heat from above was becoming intolerable. I grabbed a towel from a bunk, wet it in a scuttlebutt, and tied the wet towel over my face to breathe, and then crawled into a bunk.  The explosions came closer and knocked down anyone standing. A cook grabbed the hatch wheel atop the ladder, and burned his hands.  After what seemed an eternity and another close explosion, salt water started pouring in from above, cooling off the hatch, and the cook was able to turn the wheel. By this time, we were out of air and in a starboard list. A burned out plane slid away from over the hatch and we now had a way to climb out onto the hangar deck. A rocket had blown a leak in a salt water line, and the pouring water put out the fire just over us.

 

By my own count, 11 preceded me up the ladder. A man wearing a gas mask grabbed me as number 12 and pushed me ahead of him. Had he not done this, I would not have made it, as I was now strangling. He was last out and number 13. We were nearly overcome with smoke and lack of oxygen.

 

The hangar deck was an unbelievable mass of wreckage and fire. A burning fighter plane’s wing guns spit bullets just above our heads, and then a blast spun it around in another direction. The deck was full of bomb holes, and we followed our only light to starboard. There was carnage everywhere. We met not a living soul on the hangar deck. Reaching a gun mount, we saw no way out in any direction but the sea. No rats, no floats, no life buoys, no life jackets among any of us; just steel helmets. Burning aviation gasoline started pouring over the side and making its way aft toward us. The decision was go or stay; an individual choice. Bigusiak a non-swimmer, was the only one to stay. We jumped overboard in groups of three, all 12 of us. I didn’t know the other two who jumped with me, but for a while we managed to stay together. Until they drowned, I tried to hold the other two up. Both were wounded, and just gave up. A “can” went by at full speed and threw a life preserver to us, but I was too exhausted to swim to it. I was managing to stay afloat by trapping air in my shirt. After 55 years of wondering, I still have not clearly established the time frame. It must have been hours.

 

I could tell the light was getting dim when a fighter roared over me just above the water. I thought perhaps I was going to get strafed, but it turned out to be one of ours, and he was leading a “can” to me. Some guy actually roped me first-try with a loop, and I was pulled into a cargo net. I had noticed I had drifted into land swells, and I was having difficulty keeping afloat. I suppose not much time was left for me. Just in time, the USS Hunt had saved me. Hours later, when I awoke, and days later, when I could walk, I looked all over the ship for those 12 guys from the Franklin who took to the sea with me, but none were aboard. Later I learned that Bigusiak, who had apparently stayed with the ship to his end, was listed as M.I.A.

 

Going from bunk to bunk and looking at all the faces, and asking around on the Hunt, I realized that of the my group of Franklin crewmen, 13 in all, one had died on the hangar deck, and of the 12 men who had gone into the sea together, I alone, was rescued.

It is a short journey of the sweet innocence of a youth, who in nine short months sailed into harm’s way to be a part of the carnage.

 

It is real FAITH when that is all you have to hang onto.

When thou passest through the waters, 1 will be with

thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.

When thou walkest through the rivers, thou shalt not be

burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

 

Isaiah 43:2

 

Tips on researching the USS Franklin, CV-13

Featured

There have been several inquiries regarding how to best research information on a crew member through the Franklin social media channels. These are the best online resources to help start your search that I have found. Please feel free to send suggestions to franklin@ussfranklin.org. I will try to keep this list updated.

Facebook: The USS Franklin Museum Association maintains a group called Survivors, Family, and Friends of the USS Franklin CV-13, click here for access: https://www.facebook.com/groups/107402169285997/?ref=bookmarks

There are also other USS Franklin groups as well as many World War II groups to explore.
Facebook is the top recommended resource for sharing USS Franklin information as many relatives of crew members regularly visit and contribute to these pages.

www.USSFranklin.org website: This is the main website for the USS Franklin CV-13 Museum Association. The content found on this website includes the bi-annual Newsletter, Reunion information, and Obituaries. Inquiries can be sent to franklin@ussfranklin.org, the main website email address.

USS Franklin Cruise Book, Big Ben the Flat Top: For more information, click below.
www.ussfranklin.org/?p=901

USS Franklin Muster Rolls. http://www.ussfranklin.org/?p=1306 The Muster Rolls are a large collection of PDF files available for download. These documents were kept by the Navy to record who was aboard the ship at all times.

www.Ancestry.com: This is a pay website, but we have found there to be a lot of detailed information, including muster rolls and draft cards. If you are looking to research a specific individual, this might be a great resource.

USS Franklin Muster Roll

Featured

USS Franklin Muster Roll H Selection 1/31/1944

For USS Franklin researchers, I have obtained a copy of the USS Franklin muster roll copied from microfilm records of the US Navy.  This muster roll contains records of the ships company as the sailors moved onto and off of the ship.  This is not a complete account of all the ships transfers.  Specifically, this does not include information on the Marine and Air groups on board the Franklin.  The file is very large- at 2GB in size and may take some time to download from google drive.  You must “Unzip” the file to reveal all of the individual pages in .jpg picture format.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzBtohmaZ_nSbFVzM0ZRNHNoSTA/view?usp=sharing&resourcekey=0-YrFQ3pMyApJqulWaJJT9xQ

This is very similar if not the same information available at www.ancestry.com.

Inscribed bricks offered at the USS Franklin Memorial in Stuart Florida

Featured

You may recall the USS Franklin’s own Sam Rhodes efforts to establish a USS Franklin Memorial in Stuart Florida published in an article on this site in November 2013.  See the article below.

USS Franklin plaques to be dedicated in Memorial Park in Stuart Florida on Veterans Day.

Mr. Ed Maxwell of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1041 in Stuart Florida reports that their Memorial Brick Program is open to any and all veterans and is installing customized bricks in the Stuart Veterans Memorial Park.  Bricks can be customized for $25 and $75 dollars.  Make sure you mention your USS Franklin connection so the bricks can be located accordingly in the park.  Click the image of the brick below for an application.

Harry Smeltzer Brick USS Franklin Memorial Stuart Florida

https://ussfranklin310144520.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/bricks.pdf

You can also get a brick application at the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1041 website here:

http://www.vva1041.org/#!about2/c1et

 

Memorial Service, Sunday Morning 25 March 1945

Featured

70 Years ago, on Sunday Morning 25 March 1945, in the aftermath of the USS Franklin Bombing, Protestant Chaplain G. Weldon Gatlin delivered the sermon below at a memorial service for the fallen crew aboard the USS Franklin.

Franklin Memorial Service Page 1

Franklin Memorial Service Page 1

Please click the image above to access the 4 page document. The PDF Document is approximately 5MB so it may take a minute to download.

Obituary, George Fain Black

On Sunday, September 4th 2022, George Fain Black was found unresponsive at the age of 96. George had recently suffered from a mild heart attack, some 24 years after his quadruple by-pass that gave him an extended life. It is safe to say that George lived a full life.

George’s name represents the three family names that settled Texas. George is a direct descendant from James George who fell in the fall of the Alamo. Black’s Fort today outside of Austin, Texas is only remnants of what it used to be, but is protected by the State of Texas.

Born in Canyon, Texas in January 1926, he lived through the great depression, the dust bowl through high school where he excelled in sports and academics. His nickname was

Georgi Porgi.” George was also a Life Scout, but could not complete his Eagle requirements due to World War II. After graduating from high school, along with life-long friends enlisted in the US Navy to serve during WWII. George was a radio-man serving on the USS Benjamin Franklin, CV-13, also known as “Big Ben” and the “ship that wouldn’t die.” George served on other vessels during his military career and found himself back in Pearl Harbor, and was the radio-man that took the message that the war had ended. George earned various medals and awards.

After the war, George enrolled at the West Texas State University and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. George was very active in Campus politics and veterans affairs. George is an Alpha Tau Omega, formerly known as Tri-Tau.

After college, George went to work for Texas Employers Insurance which began his 40 year career in Insurance claims. In his early career, George found himself in Florida and met Betty Jo Meadows and married. After their first child was born, Georganne, they returned to West Texas where George met George Bush Sr. At this time, George and George Bush Sr were engaged in business and political aspirations. Their second child Gregory was born in Odessa, Texas.

George then moved to the Houston office for Texas Employers as the District Claims Manager. Once again, George Bush Sr appeared and George was his political advisor when George Bush Sr was elected in the House of Representatives in 1966.

After 40 years of service, George retired from Texas Employers and started his own company G&B Claims Consulting, where he worked until his mid 80’s. George was a Houston Hero and an intrical part of the booming business scene in Houston. He proudly served with the Rotary Club, SCORE, and other organizations.

George is survived by his sister Evelyn Denton, his children, Georganne and Gregory, his grandchildren Jordan and Zachary.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.memorialoaksfunerals.com for the Black family or to Greg at Gregblack@live.com

Obituary, Harold “Holly” Rausch

Harold “Holly” Rausch, age 95, of Nashua, Iowa, died Sunday, June 20, 2021, at his home.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory – Olson Chapel in Nashua, with Rev. Drew McHolm officiating.

Interment will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery, Nasha with Robert Rausch, Margaret Rausch, Mark Moine, Drew Moine, Larry Prohaska, Clay Winowiecki, and Lynn Schluter serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Dick White, Harold Begeman, and Ron Ulrichs.

Friends may greet the family from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, 2021, at Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory – Olson Chapel in Nashua. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the Funeral Home on Thursday.

Holly Rausch’s long and remarkable life began on March 12, 1926, when he was welcomed into the world by his parents, Edwin and Laura Rausch, in New Hampton.

His family lived in Waterloo until he was 4 before moving to the Nashua area, where Holly attended school, helped out around the farm, made plenty of friends, and landed a part-time job at the post office while he was in high school.

Holly turned 18 in 1944, and he knew the chances that he would be drafted into the service were high, so he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. As he said years later in a newspaper interview, by enlisting, he could at least pick the branch of service. He attended basic training in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and was assigned to the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier nicknamed “Big Ben.”

He served as a mail carrier on the Franklin, a ship that went to hell and back in the Pacific. Three times, Big Ben was hit by Japanese kamikaze pilots, but the worst attack it suffered came a week after Holly turned 19 when Big Ben was hit by two armor-piercing bombs while it was launching aircraft to bomb the Japanese mainland. More than 800 sailors died during the attack, and Holly, like the rest of the survivors, not only made sure their ship didn’t sink but tended to the wounded and identified the dead.

March 19, 1945, was a defining moment in the life of Holly, for he learned the true meaning of “freedom is not free.” Years later, he refused to ever say “I’m having a bad day” because he knew what a real “bad day” looked like.

After the war, he received his honorable discharge and moved back to Nashua, where he met a beautiful young gal named Ruby Schluter. He asked her to join him for coffee a few times, they began dating, fell in love, and were married on Dec. 10, 1950, in Burlington.

Holly worked as a railway mail clerk in Southeastern Iowa city, and the couple welcomed one child, Stephen, who to this day will tell you that he grew up with a father who epitomized fun. Holly loved spending time with his wife and son, be it at home after work or on family vacations they regularly took.

When the Post Office took the mail “off” the railroad, Holly transferred to Nashua, where he worked for more than 20 years, eventually becoming the city’s postmaster until his retirement in 1985. All told, he dedicated 37 1/2 years — including his time on the Franklin — to making sure the mail got through.

But Holly was much more than a postman. He loved his community and played an active, vibrant role in it. He served on the Nashua City Council for years, he was a longtime member of the VFW, American Legion, Nashua Town, and Country Club, and Lions Club. He also was a Mason and belonged to the National Postmasters Associations.

Holly was, in a word, social. He loved people, and once he met someone, he never forgot them. Sixty years after he last saw someone, he could tell you where they lived, who they were married to, where they worked and how many kids they had. He had a gift for walking up to a perfect stranger, striking up a conversation, and making them feel like they had been lifelong friends.

After he retired, Holly and Ruby traveled even more, and it didn’t matter if he was in Nashua, Europe or Asia, he had the gift of gab and the ability to make anyone — be it his friends of 70 years or someone he met a minute ago — feel like they were important.

He loved his Euchre card games, tending to one of the most beautiful yards in all of Nashua and giving back to his community.

Holly and Ruby celebrated 70 years of marriage — “all to the same woman, too,” Holly joked — this past year, and they were blessed with two grandchildren, Robert and Margaret. Holly adored them both and Margaret’s fiancé, Clay Winowiecki, was definitely an honorary grandchild, too.

Holly remained sharp until the very end, and even as the end neared, he still had that smile and the glint in his eyes that was pure Holly Rausch.

A veteran who served his country with honor, a husband who loved his wife for 70 years, a father who gave his son the gift of time, a grandfather who provided so much fun in his grandchildren’s lives, and a community member who gave so much to the city he called home, Holly will be missed dearly.

The world was indeed a better place for the last 95 years because Holly Rausch was in it; however, his legacy will live on for years to come.

Holly is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ruby Rausch of Nashua, IA; one son, Stephen Rausch of Nashua, IA; two grandchildren, Robert Rausch, Margaret (Clay Winowiecki) Rausch.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Robert & Kenneth Rausch; three sisters, Edna Ashcroft, Ruth Niley, and Effie Rausch.

Obituary, Matthew M. Little

Matthew M. Little, 93, of Montclair, N.J., departed this life on Nov. 9, 2018.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at 11 a.m. at the Mt. Teman A.M.E. Church, 160 Madison Ave., Elizabeth, N.J., Rev. George E. Britt, pastor. Arrangements are in the loving care of the Nesbitt Funeral Home 165 Madison Ave., Elizabeth.
Mr. Little leaves a loving family and dear friends.

Published by The Star-Ledger on Nov. 14, 2018.

Obituary, Russell Gettemy

Russell E. Gettemy, 99, passed away Tuesday, April 19, 2022. A man’s life is measured in years, but a better scale would weigh his measure of devotion, and Russell E. Gettemy surely gave his fullest measure of devotion throughout his life: to God, country, family and friends. Born Jan. 25, 1923, in South Greensburg, he was proud to be a Hufftown boy. He spent his youth in pursuit of fun and friendship, picking up the nickname “Pokey.” He always had time to carouse and stir up trouble. When his country called in the world’s hour of need, he proudly took his place, joining the ranks of the Navy to fight with the Greatest Generation. Valiant and ever brave, he served as a gunner aboard the U.S.S. Franklin in World War II. He rarely spoke of his time aboard ship, but when he did, he never spoke of his own contributions, but instead, he spoke of the brave acts of his brothers-in-arms. And when the war was over, he was swept away by his love for Sara, who became his wife, his beloved Sally. He always testified that she saved him. Together they built their own nest, raising their children. He worked and retired from Robertshaw Corp. and served at Christ Church. They lived a happy life, where their dance moves had people clearing the floor and their infectious laughter brought happiness to countless others. Big R’s devilish grin charmed everyone he ever met, and his feisty nature demanded deep affection and commanded fierce loyalty. He made friends out of strangers and spent cheerful hours with favorite pastimes: golf, long drives (later resulting in attempts at grand theft auto after age took away his keys!) and his favorite pastime of all, watching life move all around him from the comfort of his porch (otherwise known as nosy-neighbor snooping). He was amazed at how quickly life moved (“Things change!”) and always happy to see his family and friends. His eyes would light in recognition of a loved one, he grinned, and his hands would lift to welcome them for a chat. “I’ve been thinking of you!” he would say, and it always rang true, because he would ruminate daily on his loved ones. Oftentimes, he was irreverent and cantankerous. He felt a certain rambunctious joy flipping “the bird” and teasing endlessly. He lived 99 years, two months and 25 days on this earth, and according to those closest to him, those years weren’t quite enough. He passed into Paradise peacefully, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, surrounded by loved ones, prayers, tears and laughter. He was greeted and ushered into Heaven by his wife, Sally; his daughter, Gigi; his great-grandson, Alex; his mother and father, George and Essie; and his siblings, Francis, Calvin and Margaret. He will be greatly missed by his sons, Matthew and Robert (Iris); by his grandchildren, Gwen (George), Sara (David), Joshua (Heather), Tara, Danielle, Margaret and Alaina; by his great-grandsons, Collin and Landon; by his special neighbor and adopted daughter, Kim (Brent); and by the many other friends and family whose lives he touched. Life is changed, not ended, and he goes to that place that has been prepared for him in the heavens. We know that at that Table, where death is no more, Granddad waits for us, to share a cookie, a cup of coffee with hazelnut cream and a truly fantastic game of gin-rummy, where he’ll beat the pants off everyone. We love you, and your legacy of devotion will live on, until we meet again. Friends will be received for visitation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., with the service beginning at 1:30 p.m., Monday, May 9, 2022, at Christ Church at 145 N. Main St., Greensburg. Committal at St. Clair Cemetery will directly follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alexander Moreland Memorial Scholarship Fund by going online to pittsburghfoundation.org/donate and entering Alexander Moreland in the search bar, or by mailing a check made out to the Pittsburgh Foundation (include Alexander Moreland Memorial Scholarship Fund in the memo field), and mail to the Pittsburgh Foundation, Five PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Published by Tribune Review on May 8, 2022.

Obituary, Patrick Allen Desmond

DESMOND – Patrick Allen Desmond, 95, was born Oct. 15, 1926, in Nantucket, Mass., and died June 26, 2022, in Henderson, Nev.

A World War II combat veteran, Pat entered the U.S. Navy from West Haven, Conn., in October 1943. His military career spanned 10 years, leaving the service in 1953 as a chief fire control technician. He served on the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV13) as a member of the pre-commissioning detail at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and remained aboard “Big Ben” during her short, but highly decorated service to our nation.

Pat saw combat in the South Pacific on numerous occasions, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Later, while attacking Japan’s Honshu Island and Kobe Harbor on March 19, 1945, the USS Franklin (CV13) suffered a devastating Japanese bomber attack in which two 500-pound armor-piercing bombs resulted in the ship being dead in the water less than 50 miles from the Japanese’s mainland. Casualties that day were 724 killed and 264 wounded. Pat was one of 704 members to return to the United States aboard the injured USS Franklin (CV13), which was cited as the most badly damaged U.S. Navy ship to ever return under her own power, arriving at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 28, 1945.

Pat was later assigned as an instructor at the Gunnery Officer Ordnance School in Washington, D.C., where he taught fire control systems to U.S. Naval officers, as well as foreign naval officers for many years.

Pat’s civilian work experience subsequent to his leaving the Navy spanned 36 years with three employers, Corvey Engineering Company of Washington, D.C., RCA Service Company of Alexandria, Va., and Vitro Laboratories of Silver Spring, Md. Pat spent 30 years with Vitro Laboratories, eventually retiring in 1986 as a vice president from their 600-person facility in Oxnard, Calif.

Following retirement, Pat and his wife Janet relocated to Bullhead City, Ariz., and later, eventually settling down in Henderson, Nev., in 2000.

Pat was most proud of his two sons, Patrick and Michael. Patrick retired from the U.S. Army Special Forces as a major; Michael retired from the U.S. Navy as a master chief petty officer.

Pat hoped to be remembered for his pride of his Irish heritage, his love of Irish jokes, his fondness for Guinness, and his exhortation of Jeeze Peeze.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet B. Desmond of Henderson, Nev.; former wife, Laura C. Desmond of St. Marys, Ga.; sisters Barbara Desmond McDonnell of New Haven, Conn., and Anne Desmond Abele of Mesa, Ariz.; and beloved grandson, Patrick W. Desmond of Viera, Fla.

He is survived by his brothers, Donald D. (Hazel) Desmond of Melbourne, Fla., and Brian H. (Louise) Desmond of Warrenton, Va.; sons, Patrick C. (Colleen) Desmond of Viera, Fla., and Michael D. (Susan) Desmond of Henderson, Nev.; stepson, Robert A. Gonano III of Johns Island, S.C.; grandchildren, Julie Desmond Daily of Viera, Fla., Jamie Desmond Thurston of Hudson, N.H., and Andrew M. Desmond of Eugene, Ore.; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to University Medical Center Children’s Hospital Foundation, Attn: Destiny Hampton, 1800 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 508, Las Vegas, NV 89012. Checks should be payable to: UMC Foundation. Online donation option available.

Pat will be interred at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Clark County, Nev. Arrangements entrusted to the Boulder City Family Mortuary, Boulder City, NV 89005.

2022 Spring Newsletter and Reunion Announcement

Hello All, the Complete 2022 Spring Newsletter and Reunion Registration is available and can be found at this link:

https://mailchi.mp/18fc1b6cc808/spring-2022-uss-franklin-museum-association-newsletter-5417183

The following excerpt is the reunion announcement!

USS Franklin CV-13 Reunion
Fredericksburg, Texas
July 19th-22nd 2022

Kent and Amy Hathaway are proud to be hosting the 2022 Reunion.   The 2022 reunion will be hosted in the Lone Star State in the charming town of Fredericksburg, Texas!   Fredericksburg is located in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country!  Fredericksburg is known for its wineries, German heritage, Gillespie County peaches, amazing shops, fine dining, and the National Museum of the Pacific War– dedicated to connecting the people to the experiences of the Pacific War.  There are plenty of fun activities for families to enjoy in this quaint Texas town!  This year we will continue to open the reunion to crew members (and their families) of the USS O’Callahan FF-1051 and USS Gary FFG-51 as well as other ships involved in the USS Franklin legacy. If you or your family are in contact with any crew members from these ships, be sure to mention the reunion, this is a great way for these veterans to connect! 

HOTEL:  Inn on Barons Creek – 308 S. Washington, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

The rate for a room is $134 per night plus tax. Please make reservations by ​June 19th, 2022, to get the USS Franklin room rate. GROUP RATES NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE.  
PLEASE CALL the hotel at ​1-830-990-9202 and request a room from the USS Franklin Reunion block.  Please reserve your room as soon as possible to make sure discount rooms are available.  Rates will be extended for early arrival: Sunday July 17th and Monday, July 18th.    

 

AGENDA AND ACTIVITIES
Tuesday, July 19, 2022:
​Registration will begin at noon in the Walch Haus Conference Center, Admiral Chester W Nimitz Room, Inn on Barons Creek– the conference center is at the hotel – just a short walk across the parking lot from the hotel.  This will serve as our hospitality room for the week.

  • Board Meeting 4:00-6:00PM – Theatre Room, Inn on Barons Creek 
  • During the meeting time, Reunion goers are encouraged to socialize in the Walch Haus Conference Center, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Room (at the hotel)
  • Nightly Reception from 5:30PM-7:30PM in the Walch Haus Conference Center, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Room (at the hotel). Light refreshments provided. 

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022: ​
We will be touring the National Museum of the Pacific War – the tour and lunch are included in the registration fee.   Registration fee also includes a 2-day pass to the National Museum of Pacific War for both Wednesday and Thursday.  The museum is within walking distance of the hotel but may be a bit far for some. 

**There will be vehicles available to provide transportation to/from the museum for those who need it.**  

  • Complimentary Breakfast in the lobby from 6:00AM-10:00AM
  • 9:30AM- 11:30AM Memorial Program at – The National Museum of Pacific War, 311 E Austin St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 in the Admiral Nimitz Ballroom 
  • 11:30AM -12:30PM Box Lunch served at the Admiral Nimitz Ballroom, National Museum of Pacific War
  • 12:30PM Tour of Bush Gallery Museum, National Museum of Pacific War
  • Oral Histories – the National Museum of Pacific War/ Pacific War Study’s oral history program secures the stories of those who lived through WWII. Since beginning the program in 1988, dedicated volunteer oral historians have interviewed more than 5,000 veterans. A selection of the recordings and transcripts are available to the public at the Center for Pacific War Study’s new Digital Archive. Volunteers will continue to post interviews as they are transcribed and cataloged.  Please let us know if you are a survivor of the USS Franklin CV-13 and would like to schedule a time to record your oral history.  
  • Nightly reception from 5:30-7:30PM at the Walch Haus Conference Center / Admiral Chester W Nimitz Room (at the hotel).  Light refreshments provided. 

NOTE:  After lunch, (unless you are scheduled to give an oral history interview with the Museum) the remainder of the day Wednesday is scheduled to be a free day. Reunion goers can opt to stay at the hotel and socialize in the Walch Haus Conference Center /Admiral Chester W Nimitz Room, take a swim in the pool, schedule a time at the hotel spa, or explore Fredericksburg. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022:
Spend the day exploring Fredericksburg!  

  • Complimentary Breakfast in the lobby from 6:00M-10:00AM
  • Day to Explore Fredericksburg – wineries, shopping, Enchanted Rock, horseback riding. Click HERE for ideas!
  • General Meeting – TBD 
  • Oral Histories will also be available on Thursday – the National Museum of Pacific War Museum / Pacific War Study’s oral history program secures the stories of those who lived through WWII. Since beginning the program in 1988, dedicated volunteer oral historians have interviewed more than 5,000 veterans. A selection of the recordings and transcripts are available to the public at the Center for Pacific War Study’s new Digital Archive. Volunteers will continue to post interviews as they are transcribed and cataloged.  Please let us know if you are a survivor of the USS Franklin CV-13 and would like to schedule a time to record your oral history.  
  • Crew Photos at 5:30 PM Admiral Chester W Nimitz Room (at the hotel) 
  • Dinner at 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
  • Band/Entertainment from 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM.
  • Dinner will be a buffet offering a beef, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options.  

Friday, July 22, 2022:

  • Complimentary Breakfast in the lobby from 6:00M-10:00AM
  • 8:00 AM – 8 O’Clock Report in the Walch Haus Conference Center / Admiral Chester W Nimitz Room (at the hotel) 
  • 9:30 AM at the Pacific Combat Zone, The Pacific War Museum- Living History Show – TBD (may move to Wednesday)

Registration Fee: $170.00 per adult, $120.00 for children 4 – 11, and no cost for children 3 & under. 
Registration Deadline – June 19, 2022

Option 1
Mail registration and check payable to USS Franklin Reunion:

Amy Hathaway c/o Fredericksburg Reunion
29603 Terra Bella
Boerne, Texas 78015

Or 

Option 2
Email the registration form to amyahathaway1@gmail.com 

Send payment electronically through:

  •  Venmo: User id: @Amyhathaway1 
  •  ZELLE: 210-701-5550 Once we receive your registration and payment, we will send you a confirmation email that it is complete!

 A PDF Registration Form Can be downloaded by clicking HERE

Fredericksburg is located approximately 70 miles from the San Antonio International Airport. 
If you need transportation to/from the Airport & Fredericksburg, please complete the section on the registration and contact:

Kent at 469-865-3373
Amy at 210-701-5550

to assist in arranging transportation. 

If you have any questions, please text, call Amy (number above) or email amyahathaway1@gmail.com 

  • The National Museum of Pacific War would love to interview any Survivors of the USS Franklin Please let us know if you are a survivor of the USS Franklin CV-13 and would like to schedule a time to record your oral history.  

We are looking forward to seeing our USS Franklin CV-13 family this year in Fredericksburg and as well as any friends and family from the other ships. ​Please see the website http://www.ussfranklin.org​ for up-to-date detailed reunion information. 

As we say in Texas, Hope to see y’all soon! 

 

Obituary, John Harry Furrow

Obituary of John Harry Furrow

John Harry Furrow, 95, of Winston-Salem, NC passed away peacefully Sunday, March 27, 2022.

A native of Roanoke, VA, John was the husband of 72 years to Barbara Spencer Furrow and the son of Harry Furrow and Elizabeth Mayo Furrow, both deceased. John was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving on the USS Franklin during WWII.

John was a devout follower of Christ, setting an example for all to follow. His greatest contentment in life was found in service to others and to his country, and commitment to his faith and God. After retiring, John pioneered a charity program to feed the hungry in Roanoke, he helped with disaster relief efforts in North Carolina and West Virginia, and he raised money for a women’s domestic violence shelter, just to name a few. John will always be remembered for being a loving husband, a father who always made time for his children, and a “paw paw” who taught his grandchildren the many lessons of life.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara; daughters, Connie Powell and husband, Mark, and Tammy Kish and husband, Scott; son, Mike Furrow; five grandchildren, Matthew Walters and wife, Sarah, Christopher Walters and wife, Stacy, Daniel Walters and wife, Trisha, Kyle Kish, and Sydney Kish; numerous great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and two sisters, Judith Marshall, and Jane Jessee.

In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by three sisters, Virginia Swann, Marguerite Charles, and Georgia Belangia; and one brother, Hayden Furrow.

Funeral services celebrating his life will be held 2:00PM Monday, April 4, 2022 at the Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Services Kernersville Chapel with Rev. Skip Furrow officiating. Following the service, the family will receive friends at Reynolda Church Kernersville, 367 W. Bodenhamer Street, Kernersville, NC 27284. Interment with military honors will be held 9:00AM Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury, NC.

Friends and family may view, and sign the guestbook at http://www.Pierce-JeffersonFuneralService.com

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Next Step Ministries, 955 NC 66, Kernersville, NC 27284 http://www.nextstepdv.org

Obituary, Charles J. Sakowicz

Charles J. Sakowicz

Chicopee, MA — Charles Joseph Sakowicz was born in Whately, MA on March 30, 1926 to Bertha (Wojick) and Joseph Sakowicz and died peacefully in Holyoke on July 10, 2021. He attended Deerfield Schools and enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 to fight in WW II. He was a true patriot and a gunner on the carrier USS Franklin which was attacked by Japanese bombers. Charlie was featured in the book “American Veterans.” After returning home, he married Florence (Whitaker) now deceased, in 1948 in Greenfield and together they raised three children: Gary (Geri), David (Shirley), Sandra Laude (Paul).

He worked in sales for the Millers Falls Tool Co. and retired from Erving Paper Mill. Charlie enjoyed swimming, woodworking, reading National Geographic magazines as well as watching old westerns on TV.

Charles was predeceased by his second wife Katherine (Sliva-Gates). He most recently resided in Chicopee with his latest wife Kathleen (Stoudenmeyer). Charles is survived by his three children, and a stepson John Gates. He leaves a legacy of eight grandchildren: Laura, Rebecca, Debby, Jennifer, Jeff, Taml, Christina, Michael and a step granddaughter Gail. Additionally, he leaves 21 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren, along with many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for Charles will be on Friday (07/16/2021) at 12:00 noon at Wrisley Funeral Home, 90 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, with Fr. Philippe Roux officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, South Deerfield. There will be a time of visitation with family preceding the service, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Expression of Sympathy available at www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.

Published by The Recorder on Jul. 14, 2021.

Obituary, Walter A. Jordan Jr.

Vero Beach – Walter A. Jordan Jr. Born October 10, 1925 in Scarborough, Maine and died July 24, 2021 in Vero Beach, Florida. He was a resident of Vero Beach, Florida. He worked 17 years for Piper aircraft before retiring. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17-years-old, and served three years in which he was a survivor of the USS Franklin which was bombed by Japanese planes on March 19, 1945.

Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Mary Alice Peters Jordan; a daughter, Gayle M. Quay of South Carolina; two sons, Walter A. Jordan III (Mick) of Georgia and Gregory Jordan (Greg) of Vero Beach; a step-daughter, S. Eloise Jenkins.

A Memorial Service will be held on August 12, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church, 7966 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32966. Officiant Rev. Bert C. Wilson, Senior Pastor.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Walter’s memory to one of the following: Hospice House of Vero Beach, FL; Faith Baptist Church of Vero Beach, FL; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or .

Published by TC Palm from Aug. 6 to Aug. 10, 2021.