Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Felix Franklin Jr.
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Patricia Franklin
Felix was very honored and a bit overwhelmed when his grandchildren, Vicki & Michael Desler, presented him with his brick of honor at Del Valle Park. It brought up lots of memories for him of his 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Felix is very proud of the fact that he served our country in three major wars; World War II, The Korean War and the Viet Nam War. His service under Admirals J.J. Shanahan, Davis and Keelan is remembered with great pride and includes battles in the Pacific, Japan and Guam to name a few.
Felix was part of a mission "Operation Big Switch" in August-Dec 1953, which was the repatriation of all remaining prisoners of the Korean War. He was also involved in the mission "Operation Deep Freeze" Nov 1955 - Apr 1956 which was a scientific study of the Antarctic hydrography and weather systems, glacial movements, and marine life. He remembers the extreme cold during that mission and was very glad when it was over.
If you ask any of his family, they'll tell you that Felix is one of the most patriotic people you'll find. He holds the American Flag dear and recalls an incident during WWII in which the battle left the ship's flag ripped and ragged. The moment he came on deck in the early hours is frozen in his memory for life. It brought tears to his eyes and he was in awe that "Old Glory" was still there and waving proudly.
Memories of battles, and in particular a booby-trapped barge in Viet Nam carrying three young Vietnamese girls, for which he was ordered to blow up by his Admiral J.J. Shanahan in order to save their ship, have given him many nightmares and lots of tears to this day. But if you ask him, he will tell you that he'd gladly do it all over again. War is an awful thing and I admire my husband for his dedication and service for our country.
Granddaughter Vicki Desler and Grandson Michael Desler, Lakewood resident, purchased a brick for "Papa."