It is with great sadness that I have to report that we have lost two original cadre pilot members of the 351st Fighter Squadron within days of each other. This post is made with condolences to the families of Frank King and Jack Walsh and with thanks to Susan King (daughter of Frank) and Marilynn (daughter of Jack) for passing on the the sad news.
Francis N. King
Francis N. ‘Frank’ King, born March 6, 1920 in McCormick, S.C., died on July 2, 2015 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. He enlisted as Aviation Cadet in January 1942 and completed pilot training 9 October of that year at Moore Field, Mission, TX, Class 42-I. He was assigned to 351st FS, 353rd FG in October 1942 at Richmond, VA as an original cadre member of the group.
Frank arrived in Britain 6 June 1943 and completed theatre training at Goxhill. He flew combat from Metfield and Raydon in his P-47 Thunderbolt he named ‘Gator Bait’. He flew fighter sweeps, bomber escort, dive-bombing, and strafing. He flew the Schweinfurt and first Berlin escort missions. He also flew the 353rd’s first dive-bombing missions in the P-47.
Frank was credited with 105 missions. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with cluster, Air Medal and three clusters. After combat, he transferred to 27th Air Transport Group, Belfast, Ireland. Here he flew new aircraft to combat bases, including P-47, P-51, P-38, B-26, A-26, B-24, B-17, and C-47. He flew troops and cargo around the ETO and on one occasion even flew a Piper Cub to Paris from Scotland and toured Paris prior to troops entering the city.
Frank returned to the U.S. October 1, 1944. He was then assigned as a P-47 combat instructor at Richmond, Va and completed a tour as test pilot. He was released from active duty August 27, 1945 as a Captain.
After the war, Frank was employed in the printing industry and attended Temple University studying Business Administration. He also graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and Air War College. His civilian occupations included Training Representative and Manpower Development Specialist for New Jersey and State Supervisor, retiring in 1985 as Regional Director of Manpower Training, for the U.S. Department of Labor.
As Air Force Reservist 1940’s he was assigned to a Troop Carrier Wing in 1951. He flew C-46 and C-119s. As Squadron Ops and Squadron Commander he received the Air Force Flying Safety Award for ten years accident-free flying. He flew cargo and personnel stateside during Korean War and was recalled for the Cuban Crisis. He was later at Operations Control dealing with the Dominican Republic and ferried C-119’s to India and Vietnam. He also Instructed pilots in C-119 for flying in Vietnam. Later he was Task Commander for specific Air Force/Airborne Alaska operations. He retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Colonel on March 6, 1980.
Colonel King is preceded in death by his wife Ruth Ludlam King and survived by loving daughters Susan King Roth and Carol King Smith and their families.
Jack R. Walsh
Jack R. Walsh, age 94, died July 4th, 2015, at home in Boise, ID, surrounded by family.
Flying was his life and graduated from the Air Force Advanced Flying School, Class 42-H, Luke Field, AZ, in August 1942. He was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 353rd Fighter Group as an original cadre member of the 351st Fighter Squadron flying his beloved P-47 that he named ‘High Sierra’. He was involved in the early Group experiments in using the P-47 as a dive-bomber earned the Air Medal with two clusters and the Purple Heart in missions between August and December 1943 with the 351st FS. After he returned from Europe, he married Emma Kaneg in 1944. After retiring from the Air Force, Jack worked with the Federal Aviation Agency in Spokane WA, and Boise, ID
He is survived by his wife, Emma, brother Earl Walsh of Angels Camp, CA; daughter Marilynn and husband James Griffin of Boise, two grandchildren Gail Tosh Crumpton of Fort Worth, TX; Gary Griffin of Fairbanks, AK; and foster grandson, Spencer Farrell of Phoenix, AZ. He also leaves behind 5 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Kathleen Walsh in 1995 and brother, Ralph Walsh in 1969. His dry humor and engaging grin will be missed.