Last Name:   

First Name: 
Francis R.
June 2, 1917   /   July 12, 2003
Poughkeepsie, NY
Clerk – Administration
Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation
Pre AVG:

Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, and went to New York City after graduation from high school.  He was running an elevator at one of the hotels when his uncle offered to pay his tuition at a secretarial school.  That turned out to be the making of a career.  How many young men could say they could type and take shorthand? 
He and his buddy, Leo Beaupre, decided to join the Air Corps and were stationed at Mitchell Field, Long Island when the recruiter for the Flying Tigers arrived.  Francis and Leo decided that it sounded like good pay and an adventure so they signed up with the AVG.

AVG Service: “I was in Headquarters, in Communications where decoding messages was part of my job.  I decoded the message from the War Department informing General Chennault that he had been promoted to Brigadier General.  When he drove up in his jeep, I handed it to him.  He read it, crumpled it up, and drove off without saying a word.
Chennault’s secretary, Tom Trumble, wasn’t fond of flying, so I traveled with the General.  We were in Loiwing Airport and the General had to fly off somewhere.  He told me to drive his Studebaker up the Burma Road to Kunming.  Doc Richards loaded the car with medical supplies before I left.  I got to a river where the trucks were all lined up to take a hand-propelled barge.  Only one truck could fit, but when they saw the car, they waved me on as the car would fit on the barge with a truck.  The car didn’t have any first gear so I couldn’t make it up the mountain.  David Harris pushed me up in his jeep.  I stayed overnight in a hostel in Paoshan on the Burma Road. I got up and left early in the morning.  Thirty minutes after I left, the Japanese bombed the hostel and Ben Foshee was killed.  At the next hostel, Manning Wakefield, Jr. fixed the first gear in the car.”
After the AVG was disbanded, Francis and Leo returned to the States where they were drafted back into the Air Force and sent to OCS in Miami Beach, FL.   After OCS, he was assigned to Patterson Field in Dayton, OH, in charge of four squadrons of black troops all during the war.
Post War Career:

Francis made the Air Force his life, and had the following assignments:  Fort Knox – Supply;  Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, SD – Titan & Minuteman Missile Program;  Aleutian Isles, Shemya AFB – Help troops in refueling planes with supplies on their way to Korea;  Pentagon – Communications;  Tripoli, Lybia – Communications; Pentagon – Communications;  Hascom Field, MA – Intelligence; Bangkok, Thailand – Executive Officer to Base Commander at Don Muong AFB;  Hurlburt Field, Ft. Walton Beach, FL – Head of Security Police.

 Francis retired from the Air Force in September of 1968, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He and his wife Margaret raised three daughters.

error: Content is protected !!