via email from Philip O. Richart, 2-4-07
I can provide some details on Col. Frank Wilbur Wright, AO-6336. I first became aware of him while reading Sloan's "Wings of Honor." On page 394, Appendix E is a list National Guard Aviators includes his name associated with the Oregon National Guard. He is also mentioned on pp 228 and 410. I have been associated with the Oregon Military Museum since 1984 and had never heard of him!
A check Oregon Adjutant General Reports, Army Registers and the state archives brought some details to Light. He was born in Portland on 26 August 1886. Apprentice Seaman 3c, Oregon Naval Militia 1903. Cadet Corps, Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State U.) 1908-10, graduated. Enlisted Co F, 3rd OR Inf. 1910, discharged to accept Commission. Commissioned 1st Lt. 15 December 1911. While still a 1st Lt. he was given command of the 8th Company, Oregon Coast Artillery and also commanded the Oregon Coast Artillery Band! Promoted Captain 13 January 1915.
With the declaration of war in 1917, the now 12 Companies of the Oregon Coast Artillery began reorganizing as Artillery units for use in France, initially forming the 65th Artillery CAC, which saw extensive service in France with British 9.2" Howitzers. The remainder was incorporated in the 69th Artillery, CAC. Frank W. Wright, meanwhile is charting a separate course, transferring to the Air Service Signal Corps as a 1st Lt on 14 November 1917, eventually joining the 173rd Flight Detachment on 5 January to 15 March 1918. As a relatively experienced Pilot he is sent to Europe. The US Army and Navy found themselves with more pilots than they could use as they began organizing their own Squadrons. At the same time the British and French were short-handed. Many of the US Army and Navy Pilots were assigned Allied units as replacements and to gain combat experience before joining US units. Most seem to have remained with these units for the duration of the war. Wright was assigned to No. 209 Squadron, RAF in April 1918, remaining with them until the Armistice. I havenít found any details of this service and don't know whether he had any victories. Noting his date of birth, he was flying combat in the Sopwith F.1 Camel at age 32!
After the war, he remained in the Air Service,promoted Capt. 1 July 1920, and is known to have been at Luke Fd. in Hawaii in 1922. He became a Major 1 August 1935. Temporary Lt Col 26 August 1935. Lt Col. 26 July 1940. Temporary Col. 16 October 1940. He retired in the rank of Col 31 July 1946. He died at Madigan Army Hospital in Washington 9 November 1950.
Further details are sketchy, he was the first Commander of Mc Chord Army Air Base. In 1944 he commanded the 18th Replacement Wing at Salt Lake City from 30 January to 27 March. He is also known to have commanded Wright Fd. later that year.
At enlistment in 1910 he weighed 130 Lbs and was 5' 4 1/2" tall...
Philip O. Richart
FRANK W. WRIGHT, Major, Air Corps, Patterson Field, Fairfield, O. Aero Club certificate 524 or 1916; expert certificate 111 of 1917. He soloed June 1, 1916 in a ...............
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir
From The Early Birds of Aviation
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