Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free

 

Purple HeartJoe Barron

 

Date and Place of Birth: September 29, 1919 Pennsylvania
Date and Place of Death: March 19, 1945 Pacific Ocean, off coast of Japan
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Second Base
Rank: Shipfitter Second Class
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

 

Joseph A “Joe” Barron was born on September 29, 1919 in Pennsylvania. The Barron’s moved to New Jersey in the 1920s and Joe attended Gloucester High School where he played second base and led-off for the school baseball team.

 

Following high school, Barron continued to play baseball in the Camden County League for the Brooklawn and Audubon teams. In 1942, he hit .377 for Audubon.

 

Barron worked at the New York Shipbuilding Company and entered the Navy on his 23rd birthday in 1942.

 

USS Franklin

USS Franklin (CV-13)

 

USS Franklin

USS Franklin after being hit on March 19, 1945

Shipfitter Second Class Barron served on the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) in the Pacific. On February 13, 1945, Barron’s father, Harry, passed away. It is doubtful Joe was ever aware of this because just before dawn on March 19, 1945, the USS Franklin, which had maneuvered to within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, was attacked by a single Japanese aircraft that made a low level run on the ship to drop two semi-armor-piercing bombs. One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, causing destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the Combat Information Center. The second hit aft, tearing through two decks and fanning fires which triggered ammunition, bombs and rockets. The Franklin lay dead in the water, lost all radio communications, and was enveloped in flames. Among the 724 crewmen killed that day was Shipfitter Second Class Joe Barron. The USS Franklin limped to Pearl Harbor.

 

Joseph Barron is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.

 

Some of this information was obtained from www.dvrbs.com.

 

Added October 23, 2006.

 

Copyright © 2013 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.