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0397-W2M-02/2008
Frank H. McArdle
Corporal/Colonel
U. S. Army
Vietnam
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 01/31/1945 - 11/08/1946
Jeep Driver, 46 Engineering BN
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Frank was born in Brooklyn, New York, as the youngest of four children of Frank T. McCardle, a typewriter repairman, and Rose Devine McCardle, a native of Ireland. When he was three, the family moved to Long Island. "Growing up on the streets of New York was just great," he says. "I have to say that I had the greatest time anyone could have as a child." Rent for the family was thirty dollars a month during the Depression, a time when family life revolved around the home. "The kitchen table was the center stage in our home," he recalls. Frank, who loved sports, played on a local baseball team, and organized a football team. Meanwhile he was educated in the public school system, then attended St. John's Preparatory School on an athletic scholarship. Each day his parents gave him a quarter for bus and elevated train fare to and from school, with a nickel left over for milk. He took his lunch wrapped in wax paper, a precious item because of war shortages, that he carefully folded and returned to his mother. Soon after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Frank recalls, churches were filled with "people saying prayers for deliverance from the difficulties that lay ahead." Soon after he graduated on January 25, 1945, he received his draft notice. On January 31, he believes, he was inducted at Fort Dix, New Jersey. On the troop train down to basic training at Camp Blanding near Starke, Florida, he recalls being served a large breakfast and dinner, but only an apple or an orange at lunch--from a dining car in the middle of the train. Initially assigned to a heavy weapons company, he was placed into rifleman training, he believes, because of loses in the Battle of the Bulge. He admired the training personnel, he says, who were mostly combat veterans. "They were good. They taught you how to stay alive," he says. Frank left Camp Blanding in April of 1945, about the time President Franklin Roosevelt died. After a 10-day leave he was sent to Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for advanced infantry replacement training. While there, he was felled by an infection on his neck, and entered the hospital for an eventual month's stay. "That's what really kept me out of combat, going to the hospital," he recalls. After his recovery he was sent to Camp Livingston near Alexandria, Louisiana, and placed in a casual company with men who had returned from overseas. After another 10-day leave (he was home when Japan surrendered) he crossed the country on a troop train to Camp Stoneman near Pittsburg, California. In the fall of 1945 he sailed to Hokkaido, Japan, arriving there on Christmas Eve of 1945. That night, a fire burned down his barracks. He was sent on to Sendai, Japan, and placed in the 46th Engineer Battalion. While working as a jeep driver, his neck infection flared up, and he spent another month in a hospital, where penicillin helped cure the condition. During his stay in Japan, he recalls "hundreds upon hundreds" of people waiting outside General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters to get a glimpse of the war hero. Frank left Japan on October 15, 1946 for Fort Lewis in Seattle, Washington. He was discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey on his birthday, November 8, 1946. "In many ways, I hated the Army," he says. "I hated the discipline and regimentation, even though it was ordered and structured and designed for my own good. I just didn't like it. And there were some crude people in there, but there were some saints and some good, smart people." As a civilian again, Frank says he "joined the 52-20 Club," referring to payments of twenty dollars a week for fifty-two weeks for participating former servicemen. He also worked at his brother's printing plant in Brooklyn for two months before entering Georgetown University in Washington D.C. where he majored in economics and played football. About halfway through his course of studies he married Nancy Curran on September 10, 1949. They would have four children and six grandchildren. Frank was called up during the Korean War. He graduated on June 11, 1951, and entered the U.S. Air Force on July 2.