VMF 214: VMSB 144, USS Franklin Sgt. John E. Benny, USMC
I am trying to find more information about my father's service during WWII.He was a train from Nashville, TN to Parris Island on Dec. 7, 1941.He was trained to be a mechanic in the aviation branch of the USMC.In Jan. 1943 he was with the VMSB 144 (post war name changed to VMTB 144) when it was sent to Guadalcanal.When he came back to the States, a year later, he joined the VMF 214 known as the Black Sheep.Still flying Corsairs, it had been reformed to become a carrier based squadron.On Feb. 3, 1945, he and the unit boarded the USS Franklin CV-13.The ship joined Task Force 58.2, just prior to the invasion of Okinawa.They ended up with only a 2 day combat tour.On the Morning of 19 March 1945, a lone Japanese Dive bomber dropped out of the clouds and both bombs hit the Frankin.If you watch the History Channel, you've seen the conflagration that resulted.Combat cameramen on the Santa Fe got great film of it.
He was Sgt. John Benny, a crew chief.He was probably on the flight deck having just launched the unit's fighters moments before the strike.He abandoned ship and was picked up by the USS Marshall.Other survivors who were taken on to the Santa Fe or picked up by other ships were taken to Ulithi where they were put aboard a ship taken to Guam, put on the USS Barnes, ending up in Alameda, CA a month after the attack.The next day they were taken to the unit's base in El Centro CA and told they could not talk to anybody about what happened.In July he was transferred to NAS Miami and in December, discharged.
I am looking for anyone who might have known him or have information on the units or events.