MANSON -- Captain Frank Albert, USN (Retired), was born December 26, 1920, Drumright, OK. Son of Ella May Eastham Manson Reynolds and Asa Manson.
Decorated Veteran of WWII and Korean wars, Humanitarian, Historian, Author, Speechwriter, Educator, he is best-known for the July 27, 1959, cover story of Life magazine: "A Bold Proposal for Peace: A new kind of Great White Fleet." His naval histories included "The Sea War in Korea," published in 7 languages and selected for the White House Library.
Honors: Silver Anvil Award, Alfred Thayer Mahan Award, George Washington Medal of Freedom Award, Outstanding Alumnus, Northeastern Oklahoma State University, "Top Tau" by Sigma Tau Gamma, Commander-in-Chief's Gold Medal by the VFW, Commendation by the President, United States Naval War College.
Frank received a B.S. in Education from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah, class of 1941, where he was a member of the debate and tennis teams. He taught high school history briefly before completing Officer Candidate School at Cornell University in New York and receiving his Navy commission.
He served aboard USS Laffey DD-724, when she was attacked by 22 planes, "the most intensive and concentrated kamikaze attack against a single vessel during WWII." Laffey is enshrined in Charleston, SC. He was speechwriter and adviser for many senior Navy Leaders, including Admiral John ("Jack") McCain.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Kamikaze assault on the USS Laffey, April 1945:
On 16 April 1945, Laffey was assigned to radar picket station 1 about 30 mi (26 nmi; 48 km) north of Okinawa, and joined in repulsing an air attack which downed 13 enemy aircraft that day. The next day, the Japanese launched another air attack with some 50 planes.
Laffey survived despite being badly damaged by four bombs, six kamikaze crashes, and strafing fire that killed 32 and wounded 71. Assistant communications officer Lt. Frank Manson asked Captain Becton if he thought they'd have to abandon ship, to which he snapped, "No! I'll never abandon ship as long as a single gun will fire." Becton did not hear a nearby lookout softly say, "And if I can find one man to fire it."
The USS Laffey received the Presidential Unit Citation, five battle stars, and the Battle "E" for World War II service.
A public relations officer for much of his career, Capt. Manson was chief of public information for the Navy's Atlantic command in Norfolk. He retired in 1968. His decorations included the Navy Commendation Medal.
His other honors included the Alfred Thayer Mahan Award of the American Historical Association, the Public Relations Society of America's Silver Anvil Award and the Commander-in-Chief's Gold Medal of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
From 1969 to 1980, after his retirement from the Navy, Capt. Manson held high-level positions as an adviser on national security and international relations with the VFW, the Reserve Officers Association and the American Legion. In the 1970s, he was an anchor of the Manion Forum, one of the country's first syndicated conservative radio talk shows. He also toured the country in the late 1970s, speaking out against relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal.
Later in life, a grandson's persistent questions about dinosaurs led Capt. Manson to write a children's book, "The Adventures of Prince Albert and the Royal Dinosaurs," published in 1990. He also wrote many articles and, at the time of his death, was working on a memoir, children's books and works on military history.