McCRARY, Frank, CAPT Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary Designator/NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot heavier than air or lighter than air
Last Rating/NEC Group
Officer
Last Duty Station
1940-1943, Shore Units/Naval Aviation Depot Alameda (NAVAVNDEPOT)
Service Years
1897 - 1936
Captain Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

468 kb

Home State
Arkansas
Arkansas
Year of Birth
1879
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Lonoke, Lonoke County, AR
Last Address
Alameda County, California

Date of Passing
Jun 10, 1952
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Captain Frank Robert McCrary, USN
Naval Aviator Number 91.
The Navy's first Lighter than Air (LTA) pilot.
Headed the Free Balloon and LTA training, 1915-1917.
The first CO of the Navy's first dirigible, Shenandoah, ZR-1.

Captain Frank Robert McCrary, USN: Born 1 October 1879, in Arkansas, Captain McCrary entered naval service on 11 September 1897 as a Naval Cadet at the US Naval Academy. He graduated with the Class of 1901. As a lieutenant commander, he was the first Navy’s first Lighter than Air (LTA) pilot, and executive officer of Pensacola Naval Air Station and headed up its Free Balloon and LTA training there, 1915-1917. He became the first CO of the Navy’s first dirigible, Shenandoah, ZR-1. He  held that position from October 1923 to some time in 1924. The Shenandoah crashed in September 1925 under the command of his replacement due to violent weather in Ohio. There were 13 fatalities and 29 survivors.

McCrary was promoted to Captain on 22 January 1924. Captain McCrary was appointed commanding officer of NAS North Island (then called NAS San Diego) for the first time, and served there until 10 June 1926 when he assumed command of the USS Langley CV 1 until 4 January 1927. From there, he returned to North Island for the second time from 12 September 1927 until September 1930 when he assumed command of the USS Saratoga CV-3. He served in that capacity until June, 1932 when he transferred to the Naval War College. Next, McCrary is shown as one of the commandants of Taal Air Stalin at Pensacola Naval Air Station from June 1933 - May 1934.

His last assignment was Bureau of Aeronautics. He retired from the Navy June 30, 1936. The Navy re-called McCrary out of retirement and on November 1, 1940 he become Alameda Naval Air Station’s first commanding officer, until 1943, age 64.

He died at age 72 years on 10 June 1952, in Alameda County, California.

He  married Mary B. Davison in Dublin, Ireland during WW I. Mary had been doing Red Cross work in France and became first American woman yeoman to serve in a foreign field at the Naval Aviation Headquarters in Paris. Their son Shannon, followed in his Father’s footsteps as a Naval Aviator. Unfortunately, LCDR Shannon McCrary was killed in a crash not far form Miramar Naval Air Station in 1956.

.oOo.

The Alameda Naval Air Station has a remarkable history. It was one of the largest, most complete Naval Air Stations in the world. It was commissioned on November 1, 1940 and commanded by Captain Frank McCrary. There were 200 military and civilian personnel.

The workers at the Naval Air Station represented 271 separate and distinct trades and could manufacture and repair every part of any aircraft. In time, modern production methods insured that the overhaul of an attack aircraft was completed every day and one and a half patrol aircraft every other day.

   
Other Comments:

Awards and Citations

Navy Cross


Awarded for actions during World War I

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Frank Robert McCrary, United States Navy, for distinguished and heroic service as Commanding Officer of a U. S. Naval Aviation Detachment in Ireland, during World War I.
Action Date: World War I
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Division: Naval Aviation Forces
   
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Naval Aviator Wings
Dirigible Pilot Wings

 
 Duty Stations
Shore Units/US Naval Academy Annapolis (USNA)US NavyFormal SchoolsUSS Langley (CV-1)
USS Saratoga (CV-3)Continuing/Professional Education Schools/Naval War CollegeCommander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)Shore Units/Naval Aviation Depot Alameda (NAVAVNDEPOT)
  1897-1901, Shore Units/US Naval Academy Annapolis (USNA)
  1902-1902, USS New York (ACR-2)
  1903-1903, Naval Sea Units
  1906-1908, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla /First Torpedo Flotilla
  1906-1908, USS Chauncey (DD-3)
  1911-1912, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla
  1911-1913, USS Sterett (DD-27)
  1914-1915, Naval Flight Schools/Naval Flight Training
  1915-1917, Airship
  1916-1917, Shore Units/NAAF - NAAS - NALF - NAF - NAVAIRFAC
  1917-1919, Shore Units/NAAF - NAAS - NALF - NAF - NAVAIRFAC
  1917-1919, Shore Units/NAWS - NAD - NOD - NOF - NOU - NAVWEPSTA - NAVMAG
  1923-1924, USS Shenandoah (ZR-1)
  1926-1927, USS Langley (CV-1)
  1927-1930, NAS - NAB - NAVAIRSTA - NAVAIRDEPOT/NAS San Diego
  1930-1932, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1932-1933, Naval War College/Naval War College (Staff)
  1933-1934, Commander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)/CNATRA Detachment Pensacola
  1934-1936, Bureau of Aeronautics
  1936-1940, Broken Service
  1940-1943, Shore Units/Naval Aviation Depot Alameda (NAVAVNDEPOT)
 Reflections on Service
  Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Navy?
  Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took.
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  Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which one was your least favorite?
  From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
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 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1897-1901, United States Naval Academy
 Combat and Operations History
  1917-1918 World War I*
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Frank McCrary married to Chief Yeoman Mary B Davison, USN
  Captain Frank Robert McCrary, USN (background info.)6
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