War Veteran Interview, George Frank”s World War II Story: If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifices they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Today, we are interviewing George Frank on his experience fighting in World War II.
Air Date: 09/23/2019
Guest: George Frank
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics, all kinds of issues that intersect on policy, faith, and the culture.Â
It wouldn’t really matter what the issue was: we would still take the same approach no matter what the issue is. We’re going to look at what the Bible says; we’re going to hear what history can teach us about that issue how can we learn from where previous societies or nations have attempted to do certain things.
Of course, having a Constitutional perspective as well; knowing what our government documents say about how that should operate, how that particular right should be protected or whatever it might be in the culture.Â
That’s why you often hear us say on the program; we’re looking at things from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.Â
We think it takes all three in a nation such as what we have here in America. It takes all three of those perspectives for us to really identify what’s the right position on an issue.Â
What’s the right action as a citizen and responsibility as a citizen. Certainly, we talk a lot about that here at WallBuilders – the biblical responsibility to be good citizens good stewards of the freedom that God has given us, and to pay attention. Get educated on these things.Â
It doesn’t mean you have to devote your whole life to it. You know some people can become so politically-minded they’re no practical good here on Earth. We don’t want you to do that either, but we do want all of us as citizens to accept that responsibility.
Â Get educated about what’s happening and take action to preserve freedom for future generations.Â
That’s the way actually to invest in the next generation.Â
We shouldn’t be handing off to our kids and grandkids a nation less free than the one that was given to us. Let’s work hard to make sure we’re giving them a good inheritance of freedom here in America.Â
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator. I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton is with us. He’s a national speaker, pastor and President of WallBuilders.Â Â
We get to do all kinds of interviews here on the program. Some of the coolest interviews that we get to do are of the veterans the folks that have been willing to pay the price for us to be free.Â
These veteran interviews are firstly are a great way to capture history on them. We read about these kinds of things in books but to have somebody that actually lives it out; it is great to be able to get that history from them.Â
So we love doing veteran interviews here at WallBuilders Live. We have a wealth of them on our website, WallBuilderslive.com. Go check those out. David, Tim new interview today with George Frank. Tim, you get to spend some time with him.
Interview with George Frank, World War II Veteran
It really is something special anytime you talked to a veteran but especially a World War II veteran, knowing how few of those guys are still around today. Especially when it was people who were involved in combat, and certainly we want to honor all military regardless of the role they played in their service for the nation.Â
Anybody that gets involved in helping defend freedom and defend our rights and liberties in America, to free other nations in the midst of tyranny and oppression which is certainly what happened in World War II, we applaud the people that were involved.
The guy today actually was part of certainly helping people. He was in the medical arena on a ship, and his ship was in the middle of a lot of combat zones. He also had family that was in the military, and some of them were on warships, not just medical vessels or at least vessels that were taking in wounded people.Â
The Doolittle’s Raiders
There will be a lot of cool details about this story coming up. One of the things that actually is a part of the story was the Doolittle’s Raiders. Dad, you can help tell us some of the story. Doolittle’s Raiders were part of an operation that was in the Pacific Theater, after Pearl Harbor happened, trying to go in and do something to let Japan know that this was not going to go unnoticed what just happened at Pearl Harbor.
Yeah. When Japan hit Pearl Harbor and then turned around the next day to hit the Philippines, and wiped out Air Forces and Navies, etc., we wanted to be able to send a message to Japan that said: look you’re not going to get away with this.Â
The problem was we were still using a lot of World War I planes and ships, and we didn’t have a good way of getting the message there. They had wiped out so much of our Navy and aircraft carriers we couldn’t close enough to them.Â
The USS Hornet and Bombers
Our planes were so old and so small they couldn’t fly to Japan. So we had a really difficult situation. They took the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, and they took some B-25 planes.Â
They stripped them down took the guns out of them, took all the weight out they could, put extra fuel tanks in them, and they loaded with bombs, and they put these bombers on this aircraft carrier.Â
The aircraft carriers are designed to launch Fighters which are much smaller, much lighter, and need a shorter runway. We’re talking bombers here loaded with bombs that need a really long runway and a long roll distance to get off the ground.Â
So to surprise the Japanese, we took and put a bunch of these bombers on this USS Hornet.Â
Again, the bombers are stripped down, and we got them in the air. I mean right to the end of the runway: they did everything they could. They practiced in California on short fields to learn how to take off really quickly.Â
We got the bombers up.Â
We Bombed Tokyo
This was early in the war shortly after Pearl Harbor had been hit. We got the bombers there – we bombed Tokyo and said we could get you if we want to. That’s a message that changed the complexion of the war.Â
Japan had to keep a lot of troops at home to defend the island, defend their shores rather than having them all out fighting the Allies. So, it was a significant feat.Â
Most of the planes were able to get out of Japan and get to China, which was friendly at that time that was allied, and most of the pilots were safe.Â
Some were captured. In trying to find the pilots at had bombed Tokyo, it was estimated that they killed up to 300,000 people trying to find the pilots in China among the Chinese.Â
It’s An Amazing Story
It really is an amazing story, and that’s a peripheral part of this story today.Â
So, when you hear George Frank mentions that one of his brothers was on the USS Hornet, that’s what happened. That’s what the Doolittle story is. It’s one of the most amazing stories in World War II.
It showed part of that American enterprise and American courage: you’re not going to get away with this. We’re going to send you a message. We’re gonna do something nobody thinks we can, and we’re going to do it in a short period of time. And that’s what they did.
George Frank, our special guest. Always an honor to have a World War II veteran with us. You’re about to hear it right here on WallBuilders Live.
We Want To Hear Your Vet Story
Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.
Once in a while, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.Â
One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.Â
You have friends and family that also served. If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected].
Give us a brief summary of the story, and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!
George Frank’s Story
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. This is Tim Barton, and I’m joined by World War II veteran, second-class petty officer George Frank. Mr. Frank, thank you so much for being on the program today.
You’re very welcome.Â
Mr. Frank, we would just love to hear your story.
I was born in 1925, so I was a young guy when the war started. I enlisted in the Navy, and I went to Newport, Rhode Island, for boot camp training. We stayed there for, I think, four weeks before they shipped us out.Â
From there, I went to Great Lakes naval training, that’s just outside of Chicago. I went to school there. Then they sent us back down for more training, and I went to Chelsea, Massachusetts.
They had a naval hospital here. We went in for training between there, and Boston is where we did our training.
White And Green Medical Ship With Christmas Lights
When you enlisted, did you intentionally choose the Navy, and did you want to be in the medical personnel?
Yes, I did. I did. I had two brothers in the service ahead of me, and one of them was a pharmacist mate. That’s what they call them then, hospital corpsman. So I followed in his footsteps. I got the same training that he got from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.
After that, they sent you to different places. The ship I got on was a Navy ship called the USS Relief. All that was was a hospital ship, strictly a hospital ship.Â
When we went out, we were painted white with a green stripe on it, and we had lights on it at all time, no matter where we went we were lit up like a Christmas tree.Â
What we would do, we would go up off the islands out there. They took one little town after another; island hopping is what it was.Â
We’d go to these islands and onshore; we’d pick up all the casualties that day they had right on a beach. They’d ship them out to the ship I was on.
Was the idea of the painting and the lights to make sure that nobody engaged you in a firefight?
Â That’s it. Let them know that we were just a hospital ship. Strictly a hospital ship.Â
We were out there, and you’d go ashore to pick up the casualties that they’d ship out to you and take them either to Australia, New Zealand or back to Pearl Harbor for more treatment if they needed it. That’s how we handle that part.Â
It was a pretty busy duty because we had so many people to care for. It was a ship that was well worth its money. It was easy to see it coming and going.
In the midst of the Pacific conflicts as they were island hopping, were you in close proximity to the battles as they were going on? Or did you go in after everything was done and settled? Or were you all pretty close to the firefights?
We Were Pretty Close To The Firefights
It was pretty close to the firefight because there’s where we’d get the casualties.Â
The ones that were not troops landed on an island to take it. This island that they attacked and they had the wounded people; they sent them out to a ship that was just off to ashore waiting for the casualties, American casualties.Â
Then we take them casualties and take care of ourselves, and if we didn’t get done with them as I said, they’d go back to Pearl Harbor, or they’d go to New Zealand or Australia with the casualties for further treatment. That’s how we handle them.
We’d Go To Australia Or New Zealand
That was your vessel that would actually sail back to Pearl or New Zealand or Australia. Would you drop them off and turn around and go right back and get more?
We would take them to the beach or to a hospital, and they’d get further treatment there. As I said New Zealand or Australia, then we turn around and go back out to where the next island was nearby to get some more casualties and do the same thing again. Wow. We’d make a lot of trips to New Zealand, Australia, and Pearl Harbor. That’s how we handled the casualties.
Mr. Frank, you mentioned that you had two brothers that were also in and you enlisted after they were already in? Did they enlist before Pearl Harbor or was Pearl Harbor the impetus for them to get involved?
He Went And Volunteered As Soon As Pearl Harbor Happened
Â As soon as Pearl Harbor happened, my brother Charlie, that’s my oldest brother, he volunteered and went right down and got into service in the Navy. He was the first boy of us to go. Then my brother Joe went, and brother Joe became a torpedo man on a nice brand new destroyer.
Joe Was Torpedo Man
It was some beautiful ship he had there. He did the work on the torpedoes to shoot down the other ships, the Japanese ships, that were out there. They had a lot of ships all over the place. It was kill or be killed, really.
On your ship, were you close to Charlie who was a pharmacist mate? Were you ever around Charlie? Did you see Joe at all?
I Met Them Both Out In The Pacific
I met both of them out there in the Pacific.Â
Yeah yeah yeah. And Charlie was on a big new carrier aircraft carrier.
So, Charlie was it was a pharmacist assistant or medical assistant on a ship that was engaged in a lot of firefights -Â
Yes, they were engaged in more fights than you could shake a stick at.
And obviously Joe too, as a torpedo man. So your family really was very involved in the war.
Well, I think you could say that pretty well. Yeah. Charlie’s ship was the aircraft carrier there that took on the planes left and right. Do you remember Jim Doolittle?
Absolutely yes, sir. Doolittle’s raid.
Yeah. I don’t know how many planes they had on the deck. I’ve got a few pictures of that. They were two-engine planes, and they just stacked up that flight deck, and they got as many off as they could.
Well, Mr. Frank looking back at World War II, are there any moments that really stand out in your mind from your service or even stories that you heard about as things were going on?
We Kept Pushing The Japs Back
Â When you have wounded people, you save as many as you can save. Then you got to take them to different places where they can get better treatment. As we were out there longer, we kept pushing the Japs back all the time.
We had a lot of fights going on between our planes and their planes. We’d get closer and closer to Tokyo to do the work wherever we had to go do it.
Yes, sir. Did your brothers make it back from World War II?
They Made It Back Safely
Yes. Both of them did. They got back safely.Â
Joe And That Destroyer Had Lots Of Tough Jobs
Well, my brother Joe on that brand new destroyer had a lot of tough jobs to do. They would be the lead ships going into these different harbors they were going after.
They would clear the way for the aircraft carriers in that and make sure they didn’t get attacked. They’d get in front of them, go in first and clear the air of any Japanese planes that they turned out from the beach and so on.
So the destroyer not just cleared the air for ships but also the planes?
Right. That was a big job there. Later, as the war carried on, to get out front and make their way through for the big bombers to go in.
Mr. Frank looking back in your time, what would be a phrase if you were gonna talk to maybe one of your kids or your grandkids if they asked you to sum up your time in service? Is there a kind of culmination that you would give them in just a sentence or two of your service and your thoughts about World War II?
I Would Dig Up Pictures
Oh, I would certainly dig up the pictures I had and have those to serve, show and tell about them all.
It was a long drawn-out war, but we could see the change in it as we got stronger, and as we had big heavy battleships out there too.
They would attack the Japs, and they would have the other planes clear the storm. I hope some people will be in a position to get some of these pictures, and kind of find out a little more about this what took place in those days.
Yes, sir. We’re hoping that people listening to some of your story, even hearing about your brothers, hearing about Doolittle, and Doolittle’s raid; maybe they’ll be encouraged to go find out more.Â
That’s really why we want to do this: is to help people know a lot of the stories in the history that so many people just don’t know anymore.
General Douglas MacArthur
That’s right. They’ve forgotten stories, and you can get to them. You got to remember your boy, General Douglas MacArthur. Do you remember him?
He was one of the big shots.Â
Yes, indeed he was.
Hopefully, people will be encouraged to go do some more research and find out more about these stories.Â
I really appreciate your telling us part of your story because it’s encouraged me that I want to go back and look up some more of this. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story, and we are definitely going to lookup more of these stories and get to know more.Â
So, thank you for that encouragement and inspiration, really. Also, thank you for your service. We really appreciate it.
Well, I appreciate you wanting to find out more about it, and I wish you good luck and thank you very much for inquiring about that. Take care now, and God bless you.
Very special thanks to George Frank for joining us today. Be sure and check out Wallbuilderslive.com, and we’ll have some other veteran interviews for you there as well.Â
What An Honor To Get To Talk To A World War II Veteran
But Tim, what an honor to once again get to talk to a World War II veteran to learn these incredible stories from firsthand knowledge.
It really is.
I loved even his question about General Douglas MacArthur as if, now son, you do know who he was, right?Â
I felt like if I said no, I was going to be scolded and then learned this really long history lesson which might have even been worth saying no just to hear what he was going to tell me about MacArthur.
It’s certainly an honor to talk to him and get some of this insight into what he experienced in his life, and his brothers who are part of what was going on.Â Â
The fact that they got to meet up in the middle of the Pacific theater, how incredible is that? Though we were a large contingent, it was connected enough that brothers were finding each other away from home in the middle of a war.Â
So, it was really fun to talk to him about a lot of these details.
They Made A Lot Of Trips
It’s interesting too about the fact there is a hospital ship because you know he said they made a lot of trips, and that was his phrase a lot of trips between Pearl Harbor, New Zealand, and Australia, etc.Â
That’s the Pacific Theater and the Pacific is such a huge ocean.Â
There are so many islands in it, so many places we had massive battles. Many of those battles were so bloody because the Japanese were such a different opponent from the Germans.
I was just looking at numbers real quick, and in the Pacific theater, there were 111,000 nearly 112,000 Americans who were killed, but there were 254,000 who were wounded.Â
How Different Medicine Was
I mean that’s a lot of people that they have to carry back and forth on this hospital ship. They pick them up off an island and then take them to Pearl Harbor, New Zealand or Australia whatever is closest then go back and pick up more.Â
I was thinking about how different medicine was in World War II. We’re not talking the Dark Ages, we were talking decades ago, but part of the way we know there’s a big difference in medicine is if you look at the number of Americans killed in World War II versus those that are wounded, that’s a 2:1 ratio. Essentially, there’s twice as many wounded for those that are killed.Â
Today, as you look at what’s happened with the war on terror for nearly 20 years, I mean we’re 18 years into this: the number of wounded compared to the number of killed is almost 7:1.Â
That’s because we can now take those who are wounded and do so much more for them than what we could do back in previous wars. We still have lots of casualties, but they’re not ending up as fatalities as they had been at that time.Â
But George has to deal with medicine at a time where they didn’t have what we have today. So essentially, half of your casualties or one-third of your casualties end up dying as compared to the way – they were so different.Â
The Kinds Of Injuries He Would Have Taken Care Of
So there’s a lot that he didn’t say in there that if you read into could be very graphic. What he did for all those months and years, in taking care of the types of injuries that he would have taken care of coming off the islands.Â
Particularly what the Japanese were doing, whether it be with flamethrowers, the kamikaze bombers, beheadings or anything else; the Japanese was fundamentally a more brutal people than even the Germans were except when you look at the Holocaust side of it.Â
I mean at that point that’s where Germany kind of starts looking like Japan: in the way the Germans treated Jews. But the way Germans treated Americans, and others were very different whether it’s the French or the Spanish, etc. but not the Japanese.Â
So for him to be in that theater, for that many years and deal with the kind of medical situations they had, that’s amazing stuff.Â
There’s a lot behind the story he didn’t say that could have been said when you know really what medicine was like at that time.
Well, they always act like it was no big deal. To us, it’s crazy and shocking and all those things. But to them, it’s like we lived through it; you just do what you gotta do.
TV-Series on General Douglas MacArthur
Guys let me back up also to when he pointed out General Douglas MacArthur. I knew who he was. Part of the reason I know General Douglas MacArthur, is we actually got to do a special on General Douglas MacArthur.Â
There’s a T.V. series that is outright now. It airs once a week on TBN. You can watch it online. We’ve been posting about it on our social media. You can find links on our social media wall, Wallbuilderslive.com; there’s a lot of information.Â
But one of the things we did is: we did a special a show on General Douglas MacArthur talking about his life – his story, his history, and his faith.
One of the reasons that I was very familiar with and most people aren’t familiar with today. So even when Mr. Frank was asking well you know about General Douglas MacArthur, right?Â
I think it’s actually a very fair question because most Americans don’t know much about General Douglas MacArthur.
Most Americans Don’t Know Much About General Douglas MacArthur
Well, we see the A.P. history standards are out right now, and the A.P. history standards for high school kids do not have Douglas MacArthur anywhere in those standards.Â Â
This year’s top history kids coming out of high school and Douglas MacArthur does not appear anywhere in those standards – not anywhere. Man, was he a big difference in what happened in World War II.
It’s one of the reasons that he’s one of the guys we feature in this T.V. show.Â
I think there are twenty-two or twenty-three individuals that their stories around the nation. We actually go on location and get to talk about them in detail.Â
A Museum With His Personal Memorabilia
We got to go some pretty cool places for General Douglas MacArthur.Â
We got to go to a museum that has a large collection of his personal memorabilia. As we’re telling his story, you see a lot of his own personal collection right there on display.
That’s actually where he’s buried – at that museum. His tomb is right there at the museum.Â
Check Out Our Website
If listeners do want to know more about this, they can check out the website Wallbuilderslive.com or WallBuilders.com. They can find us online at TBN or watch us on T.V. The show airs one day a week. I would highly encourage people to check it out. Learn some of these fun stories as we tell them on location but certainly do appreciate Mr. Frank for sharing some of his story with us today.
More of these types of interviews are available on our website today at Wallbuilderslive.com. You can also get some C.D. that are compilations of many of these interviews we’ve done over the last few years.Â
Encourage you even to do the same thing there in your family, in your community.Â
If there are veterans in your family, folks you know from your church that need their story to be told – they don’t need it to be told.Â
We need them to tell their stories so that we can be reminded of the price of freedom, and so that we can honor them. We can honor those who came before us.Â
Sit Down With Them
Take the opportunity to sit down with them.Â
Record the interview with them, especially if it’s a family member of yours, so that you can have that for posterity that you can pass it on to your kids and grandkids. Capture those interviews, capture them now don’t miss the opportunity.Â
It’s A Great Way To Preserve History
It’s a great way to preserve history.Â
It’s also just a great way to instill patriotism, a love of freedom, and a desire to do our part to preserve, and protect it for the next generation.Â
We’re so thankful that you listen today to WallBuilders Live.Â
We’d love to have you come alongside and be one of our partners that allows us to do this great ministry. We love doing what we do, and it’s because of your contributions that we’re able to do that.
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