(Carmen Franceschelli with his niece Helaine)
Within the pages of this diary you will get a heart-rending view of what life was like on the Aircraft Carrier the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-12), during WWII while in action in the Pacific Theater. This is seen through the eyes of a very young nineteen-year-old sailor, Aviation Machinist’s mate (1) third class, Carmen Franceschelli. Carmen is the son of Italian immigrants, a quite reserved young man.
Carmen had never been away from home until he enlisted in the Navy,
June 14, 1943
. Carmen begins the diary
February 27, 1944
while docked at
. He wrote for exactly one full year ending on
February 26, 1945
. Wartime regulations prohibited diaries, but often these regulations were ignored by both seamen and Admirals alike. Carmen would remember all that happened during the day and only at night with a flashlight and a blanket over his head would write in his bunk.
Carmen's Secret Diary
Aboard the USS HORNET (CV-12) in 1944
(click on text above to see MORE info about Carmen!)
Carmen stayed calm during all the action, and there is plenty of that. He is a one man cheerleader for the ship, singing praises with words and never complaining. He keeps repeating how the ship holds the record for one day, shooting down 67 Jap planes. He lost his innocence on September 23, when his best friend Shermie was killed by the strafing of the ship by a Japanese plane. “It made me sick inside to see Eddie’s body slide off the board and hit the water. Hope, God will look after him and give him everlasting peace and rest.”
He would write how the weight of the world was on the young brave pilots, who had to learn to fly off the small surface of the Hornet in only a few days of trial runs.
December 16, 1944
, he says, “Today the 13,000
landing was made on the Hornet.” On December 13, the Captain made a speech. He said, “Up till today our carrier has traveled one hundred thousand miles. We could have gone around the world four times.” Some of the destinations of the Hornet were
. On two of the pages he writes about bloody
when the Marines were having such a hard time on the island. The Hornet was one of the support carriers. During all the action in the Pacific the men were facing kamikaze planes and endured a few typhoons. The Hornet was the first carrier to make strikes on
Throughout the diary Carmen mentions the fleet of ships supporting the Hornet. There was a special bond between the crews in the task force. Carmen gives you a close up view of the daily activities of all the sailors on the ship. You feel that you are right there with them, living through the emotions they felt.
Once you read this diary, you will better understand what made this generation of men so special. There was a reason the diary fell into my hands and that was to share it with you. God Bless all who served and God Bless
Carmen's sister Barbara Franceschelli (right) with
Naomi Sokol Zeavin
Read Barbara's & Naomi's fascinating interview about Carmen
Naomi Sokol Zeavin appeared in New Britain, Connecticut on September 6, 2008
at the release and signing of her book "Carmen's Secret Diary on the USS Hornet (CV-12) in 1944". See new PHOTOS!
This book is sold on
Contact Naomi Sokol Zeavin on her YouTube Channel for more info!
Published by Paula Elsey, President, History4ALL
"I'll Walk Alone" by Sammy Cahn
Sung by Dinah Shore