Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Franklin (CV-13)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Franklin (CV-13)

USS Franklin (CV-13) was laid down on 7 December 1942 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 14 October 1943, and sponsored by Lt. Cmdr. Mildred A. McAfee, USNR, Director of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). “Big Ben” as her crew affectionately called her, was commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., on 31 January 1944, Capt. James M. Shoemaker in command, and fitted out there for the majority of February 1944.

The carrier got underway for the first time on 2 March 1944, steaming via Hampton Roads, Va., to a designated operating area in Chesapeake Bay. For the next 12 days, USS Franklin (CV-13) conducted trial runs and gunnery drills while the aviators of CVG-13 underwent a grueling series of landing qualifications. Accompanied by TG 19.7, USS Franklin (CV-13) quit the west coast on 1 June 1944, and made a fast voyage (steaming at an average of 23 knots) to Pearl Harbor, T.H., where she arrived on the 6th. The week following her arrival in Hawaiian waters, USS Franklin (CV-13) participated in several local exercises. Departing the anchorage at Garapan on the afternoon of 2 August 1944, USS Franklin (CV-13), in company with her task group, shaped a northerly course bound for the Bonin Islands.

USS Franklin (CV-13)’s most trying hour came on 19 March 1945. Preceded by a night of “recurrent alarms” at 0554 on the 19th, VF-5 launched a fighter sweep against Itami, Hyōgo Prefecture, and then at 0657 sent out a wave of bombers to target Japanese shipping at Kōbe Harbor. When Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, USS Franklin (CV-13) was still undergoing repairs. A few months later on Navy Day, 13 October 1945, she was opened up to the public and inspected by thousands of visitors. Her extensive repairs were finally completed on 15 June 1946, and two days later, she reported to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for inactivation. On 17 February 1947, the carrier was placed out of commission at Bayonne, New Jersey.

“Mothballed” at Bayonne, USS Franklin (CV-13) never returned to active service but was nonetheless re-designated several times. On 1 October 1952, she became an attack aircraft carrier (CVA-13), on 8 August 1953 an antisubmarine warfare support carrier (CVS-13) and, finally, on 15 May 1959 an aircraft transport (AVT-8). Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 October 1964, the U.S. Navy eventually sold USS Franklin (CV-13), to Peck Iron & Metal Co., Portsmouth, Va., but then later re-possessed her due to a Bureau of Ships requirement for the use of her four turbo-generators. On 27 July 1966, USS Franklin (CV-13) was sold again, this time to Portsmouth Salvage Company, Chesapeake, Va. She departed naval custody under tow of the Red Star Towing Company on the evening of 1 August 1966.

For a complete history of USS Franklin (CV-13) please see its DANFS page.