Profiles of Honor Spotlight:
S2C. James Fleenor

S2C. James Fleenor

Bristol, VA

 

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A young teenager at the start of the war, James Fleenor was eager to fight from the moment the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor. He would have to wait two years before, at 17, he was sworn into the Navy. In 1944, Fleenor set off for the Pacific aboard the USS Franklin, an Essex-class aircraft carrier. The ship was heavily targeted by kamikaze planes, and suffered damage from a direct hit that killed 69 men. Fleenor was sent home while the ship was repaired, where his brother noted that, "He was an entirely different person... He had aged so much in one year."

 

Fleenor then returned to the repaired Franklin to prepare for the invasion of Okinawa, but on March 19, 1945, a Japanese plane dropped two 500-pound bombs on the ship. The Franklin, amazingly, was salvaged, and the ship returned to the U.S.—but James Fleenor did not. He and more than 800 crewmen were killed in the attack.

 

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Provided by – Bud Fleenor (Brother) / The Virginia War Memorial

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