Below is a letter my dad, MaM3c Karl Franklin, wrote
home on May 5, 1945. At the time he was 3 months over 18 years old and
had been on the ship for just over a year. This 18 year old kid talks
about a fierce battle at sea, then in almost the same breath talks about
the girls back home. The letter is to his mom and brothers.
USS San Juan
5 May 1945
My Dearest Mother
How are all of you doing by now? This leaves me fine and feeling
ok. In fact I never felt better in my life. How is everything
going on around Dodge City by now? And also Ford? I couldn't
leave that little burg out of anything especially when my mother lives
I got a letter from Max Patterson the other day, I was really glad to hear
from some of the guys back there.
I just got back from the movie, the name of it was "Wing and a
Prayer", it was really good but I had already seen it in Dodge quite
a while ago. I really hope that Bob gets to come home soon and I
wish I could too, maybe I will before long, you can't ever tell, maybe by
the end of the year, I hope.
(Note: In the above
paragraph, my dad mentions Bob. He is Bob Hodges, my dad's cousin, also
from Dodge City, KS., who was on a ship in the same group as my dad's, but
I don't know what ship he was on.)
We had a recent engagement with the Japs the other day, we really had a
time, the great San Juan had a big part in it, we bagged a dive bomber
diving at one of our ships and then we got a torpedo bomber, it was really
a great fight in which of course we came out victor, all the guys are
really happy when we can do something like that. We had all of our
guns blazing and we got them. I never did hear from Aletha Briggs, I
guess her letter must have been lost along the way somewhere. I
guess I will write her again, I would really like to hear from her.
I got a large picture from my girl that lives in Cimarron. That gal
from Minneola, her letters are a little too mushy for me. I like
this one in Cimarron a little bit better. She's really nice.
You won't need to send any mocs mom, by the time I got them I'll probably
be back. If you don't hear from me for quite a while at a time don't
think anything about it, every once in a while we have a little target
practice. I will give you a little dope on where I've been the last
few months, in Dec '44 we were operating in the Philippine Sea covering
air strikes around Formosa or at Formosa. In Jan '45 we were in the
Luzon Strait and the South China Sea, that sea is really a rough one, we
pitched and rolled all the time, we were covering air strikes on Formosa,
Okinawa, Saigon, Camrahn Bay and Hong Kong in support of Luzon. In
Feb '45 we were 90 miles from Tokyo sending air strikes and also at the Bonins and also Iwo Jima. Do you remember in Dec '44, when the
typhoon was raising cats and dogs, we were in that, it was really bad, we
would roll so bad we were walking on the bulkhead or wall. The
typhoon, Don Platt's ship was lost in that, we lost 3 destroyers and some
other ships there also.
Well mom that's about all for now, I guess I better hit my sack.