December Issue WAKE FOREST ALUMNI NEWS, 1942 Page Twelve

Colonel Frank Armstrong Addresses Student Body

Col. Frank Armstrong, chief of the American Bomber Command in England and 1923 graduate of Wake Forest came back to the campus after 14 years' service in the air corps of the United States Army. At home on a short leave before once again resuming duties with the air force, he is well remembered as one of the best athletes in the history of the college, having been captain of the baseball team and first baseman, and blocking back on the football team.

Upon graduation, he tried teaching school at Selma for a while, but grew restless and in 1928 joined the army air corps. He soon gained the reputation as one of the best pilots in the service, and for a time piloted Admiral Byrd over the country.

In November, 1935, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for performance in the Panama Canal Zone. In August, 1942, he was awarded the Silver Star for his part in the American raid on Dieppe, France.

With all of these achievements backing him up, Colonel Armstrong stood before an audience of Wake Forest students, faculty, and townspeople and said, "I wish Murray Greason '26, were standing behind me. Then I'd feel more like running interference." In that statement, alluding to his football days at Wake Forest when he and Greason were members of the team which beat Carolina four years in a row and won the State Championship in 1924, he admitted that he was still a Wake Forest boy.

Later Colonel Armstrong added, "The tactics and techniques which I have employed in this war were learned back here playing football."

During the talk, Colonel Armstrong recounted numerous experiences he had had since he went to England in February, 1942, as one of six men to organize the American Bomber Command. He was in personal command of the flying fortresses in the Dieppe raid on the French coast.

Several times he referred to the close relationship among the men within a fortress, and the oneness of purpose with which they work. "You learn to love your gunner like your brother, especially when he spatters a Focke Wulf 190 that's about 100 feet above you. The gunner is the man who takes you over and brings you back. Within the ship, if the gunner doesn't like the navigator's eyes, or the navigator doesn't like the co-pilot's hair, we change around."

As he looked over the student body and noted the number of boys who would soon be in the armed services of this country, he counselled them "I would advise you to go into it as a business; use your head -- there's nothing to be afraid of."

Wake Foresters are doing their best by their Uncle Samuel -- and this goes for the faculty, the campus and buildings, the alumni, and students.

Nineteen of the professors are now in uniforms. Several hundred cadets in the Army Finance School are receiving instruction on the campus. Many of the college students have already enlisted and others have signed up in one of the Reserve Corps which may allow them to graduate before being given technical training leading to a commission, and more than 1,000 of its alumni are already in military service.

One of the professors, Dr. Nevill Isbell was this month given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the chemical warfare division. The other 18 profs. are in various technical branches of the service: some in the intelligence division, some as physical education instructors, and others with the F. B. I.

Alumni Unit in Australia

The other day Lieutenant Colonel C. Tolbert Wilkinson '20, commanding officer at the 171st hospital in Australia received a letter from Ivan L. Bennett '16, chief chaplain of the southwest Pacific area, stating that he (Bennett) was a Wake Forest man. "Come over to see me," Bennett wrote. "We will organize an Australian Wake Forest alumni chapter and paint the town old gold and black."

Then there is Lieutenant Frank Norris '37, son of the Rev. and Mrs. C. H. Norris of Wake Forest, who has been making history. Frank is a Navy physician attached to the Marine Corp in the Solomon Islands. Recovering now in a San Francisco hospital from a "Daisy Cutter" Jay bomb which disabled him while treating a Marine for a scorpion bite, Frank said "the man with the best ears usually survives in the Solomons." This is because the Japs do most of their fighting at night.

Parachute Jumper

Lieutenant Walton Kitchin '36, physician-son of President and Mrs. Thurman Kitchin, who hit the air lanes with remarkable accuracy as a football passer back in 1935, has taken to the air again: this time as a parachute jumper with his medical kit.

Now attached to the medical corps of the U.S. Para-troop forces at Fort Benning, Georgia, Walton relinquished a post of comparative safety at Stark General Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, and volunteered for paratroop service. "An older man can do what I was doing at Charleston," he reasoned. Chalk up another point in favor of college football!

Colonel Philip P. Green '12, recently assumed command of the North Sector General Hospital at Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, which is said to be one of the largest, if not the largest, army hospital in the world.

1,000 in Service

All told the college has more than 1,000 alumni at war. The October ALUMNI NEWS carried names of 188 who are in the service, and the list which appears below contains 252 others, making a total of 440 that we know about.

Please look over the list and the one which appeared in the October issue and let us know of any omissions. Use the questionnaire on page 20. [names omitted]


Main | Publications | Articles | Images | Biographies | Citations | Syllabus