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Shown Below Are The Planes That Operated On the Franklin


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                        F4-U Corsair                                                            TBM Avenger


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F6-F Hellcat

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On the morning of March 19, 1945, The Franklin, nicknamed by her crew as Big Ben, was 60 miles from the shores of Kyushu, Japan. Franklin was part of Task Force Fifty-Eight of the American Fifth Fleet. The task force covered a fifty square mile area of ocean. It was the greatest armada of ships the world had ever seen. Big Ben's new commanding officer was Captain Leslie E. Gehres. Her first Captain, James Shoemaker had turned over command on November 7, 1944. Gehres was a strict officer who had risen up through the ranks from an enlisted man. He was one of the pioneers of naval aviation, having flown from the first US aircraft carrier, the Langley. Joining Gehres on board the Franklin was Rear Admiral Ralph Davison; Franklin was the flagship of Task Group 58.2

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The Frankin Set Out To Sea and To Battle

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