At the age of 80 I wrote a book called "The Ghost Ship". It had that name because the Navy never knew where the ship was, could not tell anyone what missions they were on or even acknowledge that it existed. The only way we could find the ship was if we could see it tied up at the finger piers at North Island Naval air station, San Diego. The Ghost Ship was the most top secret ship in our Navy, the Marines that served on her were the most top secret Detachment in the Marine Corps and were classified Top Secret for 45 years. I served aboard her for two years and it was the most elite outfit in the Corps. Only the top two graduates of Sea School were picked for this Detachment. There was a group of Marines stationed at Sea School in 1953 called "The Movie Platoon", they also were the top two graduates of Sea School. They were making a movie for the Commandant on guard mounts. They also represented MCRD at official functions, funerals, etc., most of the Marines in this Platoon were also picked for the Top Secret Detachment. I served on three operations in those two years. Operation Castle was six nuclear tests, the Bravo shot was the largest hydrogen bomb the United States set off. Operation Surf Board was the largest peace time landing. We put 12,000 soldiers from Fort Ord and Camp Roberts ashore at San Simeon and shortly after that we were on Operation Wigwam, an atomic bomb set off 2000 feet underwater to see if an atomic bomb could be used against a sub and how it would effect surface ships. It was set off 450 miles southwest of San Diego. The profits are shared with the Wounded Warrior Project and the Curtiss Atomic Marines.
Get this book at The Ghost Ship.
Semper Fi and God Bless,
Ed Franklin 1953-56