Frank R. Britton
Steamfitter 1st class (T)
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 9/2/1942 - 9/2/1942
Ship Fitter 1st Class, USS Aulick

Frank was born in a Texas & Pacific Railroad hospital in Marshall, Texas, as the son of a bricklayer and railroad employee. The family soon moved to Shreveport where he graduated from Fair Park High School in 1938, and then attended Louisiana State University briefly. He went to work as a bricklayer, and was engaged when America entered World War II. "We went and talked to her daddy. We decided to delay the wedding," he recalls. Frank joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was assigned to a destroyer escort, the USS Aulick (DD-569). Frank sailed out as carpenter's mate, third-class. His rating was soon changed to ship fitter, in charge of repairs. Based at Espiritu Santos, the Aulick first saw action in Kula Gulf off Guadalcanal. In battle, Frank manned five-inch guns and worked in damage control. Once, when a Japanese plane hit the ship, he helped extinguish a fire in the magazine room. Thirty-one died in the incident. Before landings on Leyte, the Aulick deployed fifteen navy frogmen ahead of the minesweepers. Often, he says, he worked on about two hours of sleep, and ate mainly beans and rice--spicing up meals with Louisiana hot sauce his mother sent him. Frank returned to America after Japan surrendered. While the ship was anchored near New York City, he recalls, the crew stood at attention while President Harry S. Truman passed below on a barge, and then marched in a fifteen-mile-long parade. He was discharged at New Orleans Naval Air Station. He returned to work as a bricklayer and retired at age sixty-five.