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The letters written by the men of the San Juan are a real treasure and in fact historical as they capture a piece of very important time in our history.  If you have letters that you wrote, or if you are a family member who has letters from a shipmate of the San Juan, please share them.  Email your letters to:

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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 & Buds,

        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 there.

        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.

Write Soon

Love, Karl

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The following postcard was sent home by crewmember Howard Herman while on the San Juan September 15, 1945.

Dear Mom,

    This is the only shot I could get of this burg. This however is a pre 3rd Fleet picture. Things have changed considerably since then.

     Bye & Love,
                                   Howard

click to enlarge

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A thanks to Mike Miller, son of crew member Ernest "Red" Miller, for sending in this postcard.
The following postcard was sent home by crewmember Ernest "Red" Miller while on the San Juan May 25, 1944.

click to enlarge

 

 

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