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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

Contributed by Joe Radigan

(later CVA-13, CVS-13 and AVT-8)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Foxtrot - Bravo - Mike

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4 stars)
2nd Row: World War II Victory Medal / Philippine Presidential Unit Citation / Philippine Liberation Medal

CLASS - ESSEX (Short Hull)
Displacement 27,100 Tons, Dimensions, 872' (oa) x 93' x 28' 7" (Max)
Armament 12 x 5"/38AA, 32 x 40mm, 46 x 20mm, 82 Aircraft.
Armor, 4" Belt, 2 1/2" Hanger deck, 1 1/2" Deck, 1 1/2" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 150,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 3448.

Fate: Struck from the Naval Vessel Register, 1 October 1964. Removed from dry dock at Bayonne, June 1965. Sold to Peck Iron & Metal Co., Portsmouth, VA, May 1966? Repossessed by the Navy due to an urgent BuShips requirement for her four turbo-generators. Sold again, for scrapping, to Portsmouth Salvage Co., Chesapeake, VA, 27 July 1966. Departed naval custody under tow (Red Star Towing Co.), 1 August 1966. (Thanks to Ron Reeves.)

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USS Franklin (iii)

CV-13 was named for "two famous old vessels in the Navy bearing th[e] name [Franklin]." (Very special thanks to Robert J. Cressman, Naval History & Heritage Command.)

USS Franklin, a ship-of-the-line, built in 1815 under the supervision of Samuel Humphreys, was the first vessel to be laid down at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Franklin sailed on her first cruise on 14 October 1817, when under the command of Master Commandant H. E. Ballard she proceeded from Philadelphia to the Mediterranean. She carried the Hon. Richard Rush, U.S. Minister to England, to his post. Subsequently she was designated flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron, cruising on that station until March 1820. She returned to New York on 24 April 1820.

From 11 October 1821 until 29 August 1824 she served as flagship on the Pacific Station. Franklin was laid up in ordinary until the summer of 1843 when she was ordered to Boston as a receiving ship. She continued in this capacity until 1852 at which time she was taken to Portsmouth, N.H., and broken up.

Naval History & Heritage Command
World War II
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13), World War II.

Overhead plan and starboard profile meticulously drawn by John Robert Barrett. Available from Navy Yard Associates (if you decide to purchase artwork from them please indicate that you heard about their work from NavSource).

Courtesy of ©Navy Yard Associates
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13), World War II (1945).

Courtesy of ©Windjammer-Arts Naval Art & Aviation Art
CV-13 Franklin

The ship is floated out of her building dock immediately after christening, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company shipyard, Newport News, Virginia, on 14 October 1943. Note WAVES officers in the foreground. The WAVES' Director, Lieutenant Commander Mildred H. McAfee, USNR, was Franklin's sponsor.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-K-14015).

Scott Dyben
CV-13 Franklin

Franklin (CV-13). Stern, looking forward. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. 6 January[?] 1944.

Ed Zajkowski
CV-13 Franklin

In the Elizabeth River, off Norfolk, Virginia, 21 February 1944.

She has the "early" island structure, with two quad 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts forward (see NS021319 for a later view). There is a single flight deck catapult (stbd) and a hangar deck catapult, with its port outrigger stowed. The ship has four deck-edge radio masts and is fitted with arresting gear forward, adjacent to the twin 5"/38 gun mounts. (Thanks to Robert Hurst, who provided additional info).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-224596).

Naval Historical Center
CV-13 Franklin

In the Elizabeth River, off Norfolk, Virginia, 21 February 1944. She is accompanied by three local harbor tugs. Franklin is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 6a. This paint scheme was changed a few months later, on the port side only, to Measure 32, Design 3a. The ship's starboard side retained the Design 6a pattern.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-224597).

Naval Historical Center
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13), Norfolk Navy Yard, Photo Serial 7580(44), May 4, 1944.

Steve Whitby
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13), port quarter, Norfolk Navy Yard, Photo Serial 7582(44), May 4, 1944.

Ed Zajkowski
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13) operating near the Marianas, 1 August 1944. Photographed from USS Hornet (CV-12). Franklin is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 6a. At this time, Design 6a was applied only to her starboard side. She wore Design 3a on the port side.

Compared to NS021301, the island structure has been modified by removing the forward quad 40/56 mount and extending the flag bridge. (Thanks to Robert Hurst, who provided additional info).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-367248).

Naval Historical Center
CV-13 Franklin

Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944 — Pilots of Torpedo Squadron 13 (VT-13) in their ready room aboard USS Franklin (CV-13), 24 October 1944, just before the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea. They are watching as the position of the Japanese fleet is posted. VT-13's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Larry French, is second from the left, with a navigation board beside his chair. Note life vests, with die marker pouches, worn by several of these men. Other life vests, and .38 caliber revolvers, are hanging on the bulkhead.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-290733).

Naval Historical Center
Kamikaze attack, October 30, 1944

[USS Franklin] was underway about 1,000 miles off Samar on 30 October [1944] 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 discharging another near miss at Franklin before diving into the flight deck of the small carrier Belleau Wood. Both carriers retired to Ulithi for temporary repairs and Franklin proceeded to Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, arriving 28 November 1944 for repairs to her battle damage.

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.

(From DANFS, "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships," Naval Historical Center website.)

Read a narrative and reports on this attack, at the Researcher @ Large website.

CV-13 Franklin

A Japanese kamikaze hits the flight deck of USS Franklin (CV-13), October 30, 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Robert M. Cieri
CV-13 Franklin

A Japanese dive bomber (encircled) plunges downward USS Franklin (CV-13). As Big Ben had already been hit this is, perhaps, the kamikaze that hit USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) moments later.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Robert M. Cieri
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13), at right, and USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) afire after being hit by Japanese kamikaze suicide planes, while operating off the Philippines on 30 October 1944. Photographed from USS Brush (DD-745). Note "flak" bursts over the ships.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-326798).

Scott Dyben
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13) afire after kamikaze hit, 30 October 1944.

Tracy White
CV-13 Franklin

Damage in action of 30 October 1944. View showing work progress on 3 November 1944 at 1230 – flight deck at Fr. 125. (Ship's Photo No. 1003, taken 3 November 1944.) Puget Sound Navy Yard photo # 3984-44.

Tracy White
CV-13 Franklin

Bombing Squadron (VB) 13 operated from USS Franklin (CV-13), November 1943–November 1944, as part of Aircraft Carrier Group (CVG) 13.

Tommy Trampp
CV-13 Franklin
CV-13 Franklin
CV-13 Franklin

"Fighting Squadron 13 (VF-13) 'Black Cats' was established 2 November 1943 and decommissioned 20 October 1945. The 'Black Cats' were embarked aboard USS Franklin (CV-13) from 29 July to 2 November 1944. During this period the squadron shot down 86 enemy planes. CDR Wilson McConnell Coleman (USNA 1934) shot down a total of six to join the ranks of 'Navy Aces of WWII.'"

Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum (# 2005.196.008.018).

Bill Gonyo
CV-13 Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13) in January 1945, after repairs. Note she had been repainted in Ms. 21 camouflage; two lattice radio masts abaft the island had been removed; three quad 40's had been added starboard amidships, just under the island. US Navy photo.

Robert Hurst
CV-13 Franklin

"My Cruise Aboard The 'Big Ben' U.S.S. Franklin CV-13," February–April 1945, by J. Harold "Hal" Smith.

Brenda Mullen, daughter of Dixie Smith, niece of Phil and J. Harold "Hal" Smith
CV-13 Franklin
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"Story of Phil and Hal Smith, two brothers aboard USS Enterprise and USS Franklin," by Dixie Smith.

CV-13 Franklin

Kermit (left) and Hal Smith in the Navy, 1946.

CV-13 Franklin

ARM R22 B NATechTraCen Memphis '45. Kermit Smith is 3rd from left, middle row.

CV-13 Franklin

Back of NS021353c.

Air attack, March 1945
See Air Attack on USS Franklin (CV-13), March 19, 1945
Ex-USS Franklin
AVT-8 Franklin

Bayonne, N.J., August 1960; with Wisconsin (BB-64).

© Richard Leonhardt
AVT-8 Franklin

Bayonne, N.J., August 1961. Note the missing portion of her flight deck which was used in 1959 to fix that of Valley Forge (CVS-45).

© Richard Leonhardt

Ex-USS Franklin awaiting her fate, April 1967.

Ron Reeves

Ex-USS Franklin at Jacobson Salvage in Chesapeake, VA prior to scrap, August 1967.

Photo by William L Baxter

Ex-USS Franklin being scrapped.

Steve Whitby

For more photos and information on this ship, see:

Read the Franklin (CV-13 / CVA-13 / CVS-13 / AVT-8) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Robert St. Peters
Address: 1806 State St. — Alton, IL
Web site: USS Franklin CV-13

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
USS Franklin Homepage
USS Franklin CV-13
USS Franklin CV-13 at Researcher @ Large Website
  Search YouTube for videos related to "USS Franklin"  

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Last update: 16 August 2016