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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. John R. Satterfield writes about military history and weapon systems. A retired naval reserve officer, he worked in defense.
Table of contents

John R. Father Joe O'Callahan, S. A bespectacled maths professor from Holy Cross, he became the U. He was on the aircraft carrier Franklin, known as "Big Ben", in the Okinawa campaign in early when massive explosions and fire from a kamikaze bomb attack nearly destroyed his ship. Hundreds of sailors died within moments of the attack, and the Franklin lay dead in the water, drifting toward Japan just 60 miles distant. As flames consumed the carrier, the chaplain organised and led fire-fighting crews, preventing a potentially fatal explosion while ministering to injured, dying and terrified sailors.

Father O'Callahan's deeds were instrumental in saving the Franklin. He stayed with the ship on its voyage under power to New York Harbor. The carrier's captain called him"the bravest man I ever saw," and Father Joe became the first American military chaplain to receive the Medal of Honour, the nation's highest decoration for valour.

However, the price of glory was high for Father O'Callahan. He suffered a stroke after returning to Holy Cross and spent the rest of his life enduring incapacitating pain.

Through it all, the priest displayed the same leadership and strength derived from the unwavering faith that enabled him to help save his ship and comrades. The book incorporates primary sources, interviews with Franklin survivors and O'Callahan family members and other materials never before published, including documentation of the Navy's review of Father O'Callahan's recommendation of the Medal of Honor and the process leading to the priest's receipt of the decoration. Read more Read less. About the Author John R.

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January 11, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. Two pound bombs hit the Franklin. These bombs in turn set off ammunition and fuel supplies aboard the carrier. Soon, the Franklin was a ball of fire.

WW II USS Franklin hit & Father Joseph O'Callahan wins MOH "SAVING BIG BEN" | eBay

Crew members fought courageously to contain the fires and prevent more ammunition from going off. One such man aiding in the salvation efforts was Father Joseph T. Father O'Callahan was an unusual man to be serving aboard an aircraft carrier. O'Callahan had previously served in the science department at Holy Cross University.

With the winds of war blowing, O'Callahan decided to join the U. Navy, stationed originally at the naval air station in Pensacola, Florida. In April, , O'Callahan left the Ranger and reported to the Alameda air station, where he served as base chaplain. After the deadly strike by the Japanese dive bomber, O'Callahan distinguished himself by manning fire hoses, offering prayers for the wounded and dying, and pulled live ammunition from a five-inch gun turret.

He was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. The author has taken meticulous care to document his work.

While this is commendable and will be applauded by those who love the minutiae of the trees, it is disconcerting to those who want to experience the forest. I found the notes excessively redundant. I also found the use of Latin quotations at the beginning of most chapters more distracting than helpful.

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It was not clear what the author had in mind by using them. It is a venture into historical and biographical writing rather than a religious reflection and should be able to stand on the legitimacy of those areas of research and writing.

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One error of note — while the author indicates David White was the Chief of Chaplains attending the funeral, it was in fact Admiral Joseph Floyd Dreith. David White would not be Chief of Chaplains until about four decades later. This error has been corrected for the next edition. Also frustrating was the insertion of what the author calls Prologue as Chapter One.

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A better place for that material would have been in an Appendix with attention drawn in the Introduction to its availability. The Prologue seems to have been a stand-alone article which would have been more appropriately published in Naval Institute Proceedings or a similar journal.

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Fortunately, after the reader has made it through the Prologue the rest of the book shifts to the more readable style found the rest of the way. Now, having pointed out these areas of concern, let me express appreciation to the author for bringing to life again the magnificent story of the devastation suffered by Franklin and the incredible heroism of its crew, particularly its Chaplains.