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FATHER JOSEPH T. O'CALLAHAN


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Last week, I was on the USS Yorktown, a museum now at Patriot's Point near Charleston, SC. Besides the ship itself as an exhibit, they have several other intersting displays. One of these was the rosary and helmet worn by Father O'Callahan.

 

The following is from a Wikipedia site on Father O'Callahan ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_T._O'Callahan )

 

"Appointed Lieutenant, J.G. in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy Reserve on August 7, 1940, Chaplain O'Callahan advanced progressively in rank and attained that of Commander in July 1945.

 

While in active service, Father O'Callahan reported aboard the USS Franklin on March 2, 1945, just 17 days before she was severely damaged by two bombs from a lone Japanese aircraft that attacked the Franklin at dawn on March 19, 1945. The hangar deck immediately became an inferno of exploding gas tanks and ammunition. Although wounded by one of the explosions after the attack, Chaplain O'Callahan moved about the exposed and slanting flight deck administering the last rites to the dying, comforting the wounded, and leading officers and crewmen into the flames to carry hot bombs and shells to the edge of the deck for jettisoning. He personally recruited a damage control party and led it into one of the main ammunition magazines to wet it down and prevent its exploding. Going down into the ship several times he personally led over 700 crewmen out to safety. For this action he was awarded the Medal of Honor"

 

Below is a photo of his helmet and rosary which is on display at the museum.

 

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Erick, thanks for posting Chaplain O'Callahan's helmet and story. Seeing the helmet that sat upon the head of a hero is truly inspiring! :thumbsup: Here's a picture of him in action with the helmet.

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scott, i have seen that picture of him on documentries many times and to see the helmet in a museun is real cool. i often wondered who the chaplin was on the deck of :thumbsup: that ship and now there is a name.

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Very moving to finally see the real person behind that emotional scene! Thanks for sharing!

 

Cheers,

 

Mike

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  • 4 years later...

Fr. O'Callahan wrote a book after the war called "I was the Chaplin on the Franklin". It should be required reading in High School.... Copies can be picked up on abebooks.com.

 

He was a very brave man.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Erick, thanks for posting Chaplain O'Callahan's helmet and story. Seeing the helmet that sat upon the head of a hero is truly inspiring! :thumbsup: Here's a picture of him in action with the helmet.

I think we have all seen the photo of Father O'Callahan and the sailor on the Franklin.

 

What most don't know is that that sailor survived....

 

Here is a video of him discussing that day:

 

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SergeantMajorGray

A Radarman on the USS North Carolina picked up that lone Japanese plane but for some reason no one else could see it. So they were told to disregard what they saw and then that plane bombed the Franklin.

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