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Old Today, 05:05 PM
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,395 posts, read 7,567,689 times
Reputation: 16013


It doesn't take too much research to discover that aircraft carrier combat can be among the most brutal, and least forgiving forms of warfare. The flight, and hangar decks of a carrier undergoing re-armament and refueling are one of the most flammable environments imaginable. and an ill-advised decision to do so during the battle of Midway turned the four Japanese carriers involved in the Pearl Harbor attack into flaming coffins -- minutes after virtually wiping out an American torpedo-bomber squadron.

And while the heroism of the crew was immortalized in film some years later, the controversy surrounding the actions of the Franklin's captain, Commander Leslie Gehres. was largely skirted.

Gehres had served quietly, and apparently effectively. in the largely unnoticed North Pacific (Aleutian) Theater prior to his transfer in the spring of 1945 and, as a reputed strong disciplinarian, had the misfortune to succeed the well-liked (and also highly competent) Captain James Shoemaker.

On the morning of March 19, 1945, the Franklin, previously bloodied by a kamikaze attack in November, had been on constant alert for several days, and an unwise decision was made to allow the crews/who had survived at battle stations on a diet of "SPAM and horsec--k" the consolation of a hot mess, and it was at precisely this time that a lone Japanese bomber landed a 500-lb surprise which penetrated both the flight and hangar decks.

In the ensuing carnage, a number officers and NCOs were evacuated via the cruiser USS Santa Fe, and it was these men who drew the scorn of Captain Gehres, who operated from the isolation and relative safety of the island (bridge). Charges of desertion were brought, but largely "laughed out of court'', though a stigma remained for years for an unlucky few.

Moderator cut: Sentence fragment removed.

Last edited by mensaguy; Today at 07:45 PM.. Reason: OP request
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