Fall 2015 Newsletter

Hello friends of the USS Franklin!

For those of you who have subscribed, thank you for subscribing to the electronic subscription to the USS Franklin Museum Association Newsletter!  If you have not yet subscribed, please click on the link at the top of the screen labeled Email Newsletter Signup.

This is an example of the email newsletter:


The last regular paper version of the newsletter will be mailing out next week.  This will be the last paper newsletter sent to the current mailing list via US Post Office.  If you know somebody that wished to continue to receive the paper newsletter via US Mail, the newsletter contains directions how to do so.

Thank you for your help in making this transition!

The pdf download for the paper newsletter is available at the link below:

USS Franklin Newsletter Fall 2015


Darren Hamm

Save the Date – June 23-24-25, 2016

Save the Date – June 23-24-25, 2016

USS Franklin Reunion – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Nearest airports:

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 50 miles – Harrisburg International Airport (airport code: MDT)
  • Baltimore, Maryland: 60 miles – Baltimore International Airport (airport code: BWI)
  • Washington, DC: 87 miles – Ronald Regan International Airport (airport code:DCA) and 80 miles – Washington Dulles International Airport (airport code: IAD)
  • (Amtrak goes to Harrisburg, then there’s a bus to Gettysburg, but the train does not go to Gettysburg.)


Hotel Accomodations: 1863 Inn of Gettysburg, right in the heart of downtown Gettysburg!

  • 516 Baltimore St. Gettysburg, PA 17325 | (717) 334-6211 – rooms will be held up to 45 days prior to the reunion and then they will open up to the public and the rooms WILL fill up, so make your room reservations asap! $125 – Thursday $145 – Friday and Saturday double bed rooms PARKING AND BREAKFAST INCLUDED!


Thursday, June 23 – check in and explore downtown Gettysburg

Friday, June 24

  • 3 hour bus battlefield tour with a Licensed Battlefield Guide
  • Visit Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center Civil War Museum, Film – “A New Birth of Freedom” and the Gettysburg Cyclorama
  • Box lunch provided
  • Optional evening “Ghost Tour”

Saturday, June 25

  • Eisenhower National Historic Site with National Park Service Ranger
  • Hall of Presidents and First Ladies – self guided tour
  • Gettysburg National Cemetery – self guided tour
  • Evening banquet with some special guests!

Want to brush up on Gettysburg?



USS Franklin CV-13 Reunion in Milwaukee Wisconsin July 16-19, 2015.


USS Franklin CV-13 Reunion in Milwaukee Wisconsin July 16-19, 2015.
Surviving Crew and Family members of the storied WW2 Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin CV-13 (www.ussfranklin.org) will be converging on the Milwaukee Sheraton Brookfield Hotel, 375 S Moorland Road in Brookfield Wisconsin for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and memorial.

Registration will be Thursday July 16th from noon until 10PM in the Wisconsin room. For USS Franklin Museum Association Board members, the annual meeting will be held at 4PM Thursday.

At 10AM Friday July 17th, the press and public is invited to join the USS Franklin Reunion for a public memorial at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202 (414) 273-5533. The guest speaker for the memorial ceremony will be Capt. (Ret.) Gary Schnurrpusch USN CO. USS O’Callahan and USS Gary and USS Franklin Honorary Survivor.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Darren Hamm at 262-305-6979 or email at darren@ussfranklin.org.

Spring / Summer 2015 Newsletter and Milwaukee reunion registration

Hello Franklin Friends!

The Spring / Summer 2015 USS Franklin Museum Association Newsletter has been sent to the paper printer and should reach everybody in a week or so.  I am also publishing the documents online for your immediate consumption!  Please click on the links below for the newsletter and registration documents.

Franklin Newsletter Spring 2015

USS Franklin Reunion 2015 Registration

Please forward a link to this webpage to your friends and family so they can access the documents as well.


The Fall 2015 newsletter will be the last paper newsletter distributed via the postal service in favor of email distribution like this.  We realize many of our readers are not on the web.  If you would like to continue to get a paper newsletter, please contact Louise Mast at louise.mast@ussfranklin.org.

Please join our email list if you would would like to be notified when the newsletter and other important updates are posted to http://www.ussfranklin.org.  You can join the Franklin email list at the link here http://www.ussfranklin.org/?page_id=809.

Best Wishes,
Darren Hamm
http://www.ussfranklin.org webmaster
USS Franklin Museum Association board member

Milwaukee 2015 Reunion Update!

The pins have arrived!

2015 Milwaukee Pin

In the  Franklin Newsletter Fall 2014 we announced that the 2015 Franklin Reunion will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 16-19.  I see that some of you have already made reservations at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel (262) 364-1100  Make sure you mention the “USS Franklin Room Block” to get the special $109.00/ night room rate.  You can also reserve a room by following the link: https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/ussfranklin

Weekend activities include exploring the Milwaukee lake shore.

Milwaukee Art Museum and War memorial

We will be mailing out the registration form in the spring newsletter.  We will also be posting it to this site so check back often.

We are looking forward to seeing you all in July!


Fall 2014 Newsletter

Hello Friends,

For those of you that did not receive the paper copy, the Fall 2014 USS Franklin Museum Association newsletter was delivered a few weeks back.  I am posting the electronic version at the link here:  Franklin Newsletter Fall 2014.  We did announce that the 2015 reunion will be held in Milwaukee Wisconsin the weekend of July 17,18, and 19th 2015.  I will post more information as it becomes available.


Darren Hamm

Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Navy Chaplains remarks for USS Franklin 70th reunion. Delivered July 19, 2014 at the USS Franklin Reunion.

140718-IG780-N-035 NORFOLK, Va. (July 18, 2014) - Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Navy Chaplains, speaks at the Franklin Society's dinner and dance as part of the group's annual reunion. The annual meeting of the Franklin Society honors the men who served aboard aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV 13) during World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shane A. Jackson/Released)

NORFOLK, Va. (July 18, 2014) – Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Navy Chaplains, speaks at the Franklin Society’s dinner and dance as part of the group’s annual reunion. The annual meeting of the Franklin Society honors the men who served aboard aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV 13) during World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shane A. Jackson/Released)

Honoring the Legacy of the Franklin and her Crew 70 years Later

Good evening, Shipmates, Marines and family members. I am deeply honored to be with you at the 70th anniversary of the commissioning of the great aircraft carrier USS Franklin, affectionately nicknamed “Big Ben” a ship whose story is well known to our Nation and our Navy and is interwoven into the history of the Navy Chaplain Corps.

Each year, for the past 70 years you’ve gathered to honor service to our Nation- your own service and that of your loved ones and comrades at such a critical time during World War II. But in particular, you’ve gathered as a crew and family to reflect on the courageous actions taken before daybreak, March 19, 1945, in the waters of Kobe Harbor.

It was a harrowing day where more than 800 lives were lost and nearly 300 wounded, and yet many survived as they fought to save each other and to save Big Ben herself.

There is something powerful behind this ritual of coming together for fellowship and camaraderie, to remember and reflect, to share stories (some of which may be true!) and ultimately to show support to your Shipmates these many years later. Just as you did yesterday during a Memorial Service held aboard the USS Wisconsin. This gathering together is a profound testament to the power of our relationships. Relationships that bring joy and meaning to our lives, but also sustainment in the years following the wrenching experience of combat. For it is these very bonds which bring healing, healing to the body and the mind and finally the heart.

These bonds of Shipmates, forged in harm’s way, are inevitably deepened by the magnitude and intensity of combat experience. Those inseparable bonds have endured time and distance. They are strengthened by your shared devotion to your country, to your ship and to your Shipmates.

This tradition of gathering together also speaks to the personal connection we feel to our ship, our home. It’s almost part of our identity as Sailors- it’s in our DNA. And what a rich and historic legacy of service Big Ben has having served in several campaigns in the Pacific, earning four battle stars with her 3,500 crewmen and 100 aircraft.

So I am pleased to see with us tonight, multiple generations of family members who continue to honor their own family members’ legacy of service during such a critical time in our history.

Among the crew members of FRANKLIN were the ship’s two chaplains, Chaplain Joseph T. O’Callahan, known as “Father Joe” and Chaplain Grimes W. Gatlin, the Protestant chaplain. Both of them held services on the hangar deck the day before the attack, and they were preparing for a burial at sea that morning.

Chaplain O’Callahan and Chaplain Gatlin were spiritual leaders trusted by their people. They’d always been engaged in the lives and welfare of the crew. In their own ways, they brought a message of hope and most importantly, they brought the presence of God—a presence desperately needed on the terrible morning of March 19.
In the course of the attack, the ship was engulfed in flames fed by the five bombers, 14 torpedo bombers and 12 fighters on the flight and hangar decks that were carrying 36,000 gallons of gas and 30 tons of bombs and rockets between them.
Throughout the chaos, the crew remained calm and never gave up the ship. Chaplain O’Callahan manned a fire hose and organized fire fighters to lay water on the bombs so they would not explode. He worked with crew members throwing hot ammunition overboard to prevent a potentially fatal explosion. He sought to comfort the wounded and to administer last rights to the dying, while Chaplain Gatlin ministered to those badly burned in the attacks.
One of those Sailors to whom Father Joe O’Callahan gave last rites was Robert C. Blanchard who had been overcome by smoke inhalation. Many of you know well the iconic WWII photograph of Father Joe bending over Robert. What was not publicly known until recently was the fact that Robert went on to live to be 90 and passed away this past April.
FRANKLIN’S CO, Captain Leslie E. Gehres, said this about Chaplain O’Callahan’s actions to save the ship and care for the crew: “His courage was sustained, tested by time, enduring, faithful to the end.” These words applied to countless others present that morning.
While sustaining catastrophic damage, heroic damage control measures saved the ship. Thanks to that courageous and incredibly resilient spirit, you were able to save Big Ben. As you well know, no ship in history had ever suffered such losses and remained afloat.
As the Plan of the Day for March 21st put it so well after the attack and recovery efforts: “Big Ben Bombed, Battered, Bruised and Bent But Not Broken.” Those words reflect the valor and tenacity demonstrated that fateful day, and it speaks to your generation of Sailors and Marines who answered the call to serve our great Nation. That’s something for which all family members present tonight have reason to be justifiably proud.
This tenacious and resilient spirit carried you not only through the attack, but also through the 5-week, 12,000 mile cruise back home to New York Harbor. Once safely docked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 234 men received Letters of Commendation, nearly 300 of the wounded crew members were presented with Purple Hearts. 115 men were recipients of the Bronze Star. Chaplain Grimes W. Gatlin was among 22 of Franklin’s men to be awarded the Silver Star.
The Navy Cross went to 19 of Franklin’s men, including the captain.

For actions above and beyond the call of duty that day, Lt.j.g. Donald A. Gary was awareded the Congressional Medal of Honor, as as Chaplain Joseph O’Callahan, the 1st military chaplain to receive that award. He remains one of only two Navy chaplains to receive this award.

On that fateful day, more than 800 of your fellow Sailors and Marines gave their lives and nearly 300 were wounded from the attack, together accounting for 1/3 of your Shipmates.
In the Christian scriptures, John 15:13 reminds us that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” his Shipmates.
Thank you for your invitation to join you here tonight as you gather to reflect on your service to our Nation, to our Navy, and to each other aboard the Franklin and to honor the tremendous sacrifices and legacy of your fellow crew members who perished that fateful day.
Regardless of the paths your lives have taken through the years since that day, you can always stand proud of your service to your ship and to your Shipmates.
May God continue to bless you and your families.

Reunion Speaker , Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Chaplains United States Navy.

The speaker for the 2014 USS Franklin Reunion Saturday night July 19th, will be Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Chaplains for the United States Navy. Admiral Tidds biography can be found on the United States Navys website here: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=523

I look forward to seeing everybody in Norfolk very soon!

Admiral Mark L Tidd

2014 Norfolk VA. Reunion registration.

Hello Friends,

Those of you who are on the USS Franklin Museum Association News Letter mailing list should have received a yellow insert in the Spring and Summer 2014 edition.  I received mine in the mail last week.

You can download a copy at this link: 2014 Franklin Reunion Registration

Highlights of the reunion include:

Thursday, July 17- Registration

Friday, July 18- Riding Norfolk City Tour, MacArthur Memorial, and Naval Station Norfolk with lunch served on base.  A memorial service will be held on an aircraft carrier, if one is available.  Otherwise the memorial service will be held on the USS Wisconsin.

Saturday, July 19- Optional lunch cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk.  The General meeting will be held in the afternoon.  The dinner and dance will feature the Glen Boswick Sound of Swing Orchestra in the evening.

Sunday, July 20- Farewell Breakfast.

I hope to see you there.  Please mail in your registration my June 10th 2014.  It is suggested to make your room reservations by June 1st 2014.

2014 Reunion Hotel information

Mr. Ron Williams, sponsor of the 2014 USS Franklin Reunion forwarded the following link for those of you that want to get a head start on booking your hotel rooms in Norfolk!


Ron also reports that the Glen Boswick Sound of Swing Orchestra will be performing for the Saturday dinner dance.


Stay Tuned for more information!