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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Monday, March 19, 1945
Air Attack near Japan
Japanese sent out scores of aircraft in search for the US Forces that attacked its mainland. ... Japanese dive bombers found the Franklin at 0700 on March 19, dropping two 500 pound, armored piercing bombs, which penetrated the flight deck just aft of the ship’s island and detonating in the hanger deck. After the initial bomb blasts, open aviation lines in the ship ignited. Planes warming up on the flight deck were turned into a raging inferno. ... 836 of her crew were killed and another 265 were wounded. Damage to the ship was incredible. The 32 ton forward deck elevator lifted in the air from the explosions and crashed through the hanger deck. ... As a result of the conflagration Franklin’s forward fire room and its 4 boilers were damaged beyond repair. Franklin soon went dead in the water with a pronounced list with fires still raging on board ... With the ship only 50 miles from the coast of Japan, an easy prey to land based dive bombers, immediate measures needed to be taken if the ship was to be saved. USS Santa Fe came alongside to assist Franklin in its firefighting efforts and to transfer some of the injured. ... Several men while attempting to jump between the two ships were crushed to death between the two ships. Another Japanese dive bomber was detected approaching the ship, which the 40 mm gun crews took under fire, causing the pilot to drop his bomb short of the target and missed Franklin by 200 yards. ... Friendly aircraft subsequently downed the dive bomber a short distance from the Task Group. ... At 1300 a tow line was rigged between USS Pittsburgh and Franklin with towing commencing at a speed of 3 ½ knots. ... In a feverish attempt to repair battle damage and restore power the ship’s engineers successfully regained limited electrical power with the emergency diesel generators. The after fire room with its 4 boilers were undamaged and by noon March 20, sufficient propulsion power had been restored to the ship’s turbines to proceed under her own power at a reduced speed of 15 knots. This enabled Franklin to move away from the threat of land based air attack from Japan.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 713

Namesort descending Service Branch
Sea 1c Clarence Buckley USN
EM 3c Edwin Buescher USN
Lt Victor Buhl USN
Sea 2c Willard Bulson USN
MM 3c Elwood Bumbaugh USN
Sea 2c Harold Burke USN
RDM 3c Jackson Burket USN
Sea 2c Allen Burkhamer USN
Sea 1c Willard Burton USN
Sea 2c George Bush USN
PhM 2c George Buza USN
Sea 2c Edward Byczkowski USN
StM 3c Ernest Cage USN
RDM 3c Webber Callicott USN
F 1c Peter Campbell USN
RM 2c Joseph Campiglia USN
RDM 3c Robert Campora USN
SF 1c John Cannon USN
Sea 2c Calvin Capell USN
Sea 2c Patsy Capobianco USN


Prepared by CAPT R.O. Strange USN (Ret.)