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USS Franklin Memorial

Battleship Cove is home to the official memorial for the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13). In one of the worst naval tragedies of World War II, Franklin was hit by Japanese bombs and began to burn. Flames bather her decks, igniting fires that smoked like pipes from the barrels of the five-inch gun mounts. As her magazines erupted and she began to list, sailors from nearby ships raced to her side to rescue survivors. Carlton McMorrow, aboard USS Pittsburgh, was among them.

McMorrow recalls the heroics of Father Joe O'Callahan during the evacuation. The Clergy's only recipient of the Medal of Honor, this Boston native went on to serve at the Naval Training Station in Newport, RI before retiring as a professor of philosophy at Holy Cross College.

"Father Joe O'Callahan, quite a guy... I walked back on the fantail, and he had a white cross with tape on his battle helmet, and, of course, those guys were pretty shook up, and they were more or less traumatized at the time. And he got them organized, and he got the guys so that they could pull the tow line over. She was burning. She was listing quite heavily, and those guys really went through hell."

Although she was saved by the heroics of Callahan and others, Franklin lost 724 sailors to the attack that day. A permanent honor roll of honor hangs in memory of their sacrifice in the USS Massachusetts Memorial Room.

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