Franklin was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy and the fifth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in January 1944, she served in several campaigns in the Pacific War, earning four battle stars. She was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in March 1945, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, becoming the most heavily damaged United States aircraft carrier to survive the war. After the attack, she returned to the US mainland for repairs, missing the rest of the war; she was decommissioned in 1947. While in reserve, she was reclassified as an attack carrier (CVA), then an antisubmarine carrier (CVS), and finally an aircraft transport (AVT), but was never modernized and never saw active service again.