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MURRAY COUNTRY FAMILIES

Franklin Alexander McGinty
1912-1943


Franklin Alexander McGinty, known as Frank, was born in 1912, the son of John Roy and Emma (Thomas) McGinty. His father, John Roy McGinty, Sr., founded The Chatsworth Times, in 1913.

Franklin, according to a Times article published shortly after his death, "spent most of his youth in Chatsworth. He was a graduate of Chatsworth High School. Later he was graduated from the University of Georgia...He had studied music most of his life and was an accomplished pianist and organist."

Frank was living in Atlanta, teaching at Lavonia High School, just prior to joining the Navy.

His brother, Roy McGinty, Jr., followed in their father's footsteps, became publisher of The Chatsworth Times.

Franklin's parents received a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, dated September 23, 1949 that read as follows: "You were recently informed by telegram from the Bureau of Naval Personnel that your son, Franklin Alexander McGinty, Soundman third class, USNR, had been report "missing." He was a member of the crew, attached to the USS Plymouth, when that ship was sunk on 5 August 1943 as a result of an underwater explosion of unknown origin off the coast of North Carolina. The ship was set afire by the explosion and sank in approximately three and a half minutes.

Planes dropped rubber boats and life jackets, which assisted the survivors to remain afloat until rescued. The survivors were taken to Norfolk, Virginia, where many were treated for injuries sustained in the sinking. Although the body of your son was not recovered, upon reviewing the circumstances surround the loss of the vessel as reported by a formal Board of Investigation, I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that your son lost his life in the disaster."

A subsequent article in the January 20, 1944, issue of The Chatsworth Times, reported President Cites Frank McGinty for Heroism. Franklin A. McGinty, soundman, third class, USNR, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Roy McGinty, of Calhoun, has been presented posthumously, the Navy Cross for extreme heroism while serving on the USS Plymouth when it was sunk on August 5, according to a dispatch from Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox.

The citation of the President awarding the Navy Cross reads: ‘For extraordinary heroism while serving aboard the USS Plymouth during and after the sinking of that vessel on August 5, 1943. When there was an underwater explosion amidships, causing devastating fires and extensive damage, McGinty unhesitatingly risked his life in behalf of his endangered shipmates. In a courageous attempt to rescue a man known to be trapped in the ship's flaming armory, McGinty entered the compartment and himself trapped. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.'"

Although most people don't seem to remember it, the Navy launched on August 5, 1944, a destroyer escort vessel that was christened the USS McGinty (De-365). This vessel was 306 feet long and 36' 8" wide, and had a speed of 24 knots. It carried a complement of 14 officers and 201 enlisted men. It was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in just over 3 months, in Orange, Texas.

After a shakedown cruise near Bermuda, followed by training along the east coast of the United States, the McGinty departed Norfolk, Virginia, December 4, 1944, for escort duty in the western Pacific. Astonishingly a vessel named for a sailor who died August 5, 1943, was built and launched August 5, 1944! It was actively engaged in the war in which the ship's namesake had died less than 18 months after the sailor's death!

 



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