Twenty-one of the remaining crew members of the World War II-era aircraft carrier Franklin will gather with their families for a final reunion May 17 aboard the Yorktown at Patriots Point.
The museum will host a series of events and educational programs throughout the day to allow the public an opportunity to speak with and hear from the World War II veterans. Events will include a memorial service, special educational program with the veterans and meet-and-greet sessions.
The warship Franklin participated in Pacific Theater operations and was in service from 1944 to 1945. The ship is best known for an attack that took place on March 19, 1945, when two Japanese bombs struck the ship shortly before dawn.
The bombs hit at the heart of the ship, igniting armed aircraft and triggering a gasoline vapor explosion that devastated the hangar bay. About 800 sailors were killed and 500 were wounded, according to a recent count by a Franklin historian and researcher. Following this attack, the Franklin earned the designation as the most heavily damaged U.S. aircraft carrier to survive the war.
Today, the Franklin and its crew remain the most decorated in Navy history, earning two Medals of Honor, 19 Navy Crosses, 22 Silver Stars and 1,100 Purple Hearts.