This article was co-authored by Deacon David P., Society of Jesus, who will be ordained as a Jesuit priest in the summer of 2018.  Deacon David attended Fordham and Santa Clara University, where he received degrees in psychology, philosophy, and theology.  David also happens to be the first cousin of Frumentarius, which, per Catholic doctrine, secures Fru’s place in heaven.  At least, Fru is pretty sure that’s how it works… more research might be needed.

March 19, 1945.  The USS Franklin is conducting offensive operations off the coast of Japan in the waning days of the Second World War.  The Navy vessel comes under withering attack by Japanese aircraft, including a kamikaze attack which inflicts a devastating and direct hit on the warship.  Lieutenant Commander Joseph Timothy O’Callahan, military chaplain and Catholic Jesuit priest, begins to grope his way through smoke-filled passageways to the flight deck above.  In the midst of exploding armaments, and with the ship hit by incessant explosions, O’Callahan ministers to the wounded and dying, “comforting and encouraging men of all faiths,” according to the citation that would result in the Jesuit priest receiving the Medal of Honor.

Realizing there was more to be done beyond his spiritual duties, O’Callahan then “organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck.”  He directed the sailors to jettison live ammunition and to flood the magazine in which live ordinance risked being detonated. 

O’Callahan personally manned a firehose to put cooling water on hot, armed bombs rolling hazardously back and forth on the deck of the listing naval vessel.  According to his citation, Lt. Cmdr. O’Callahan “inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port.”