Did you know Clinton County has a proud record of military service?
Four US Air Force generals who have called Frankfort home are memorialized in a monument at the courthouse. They are Lt. Gen. James F. Record, Lt. Gen. Jay W. Kelley, Brig. Gen. James W. Lucas, and Brig. Gen. James P. Ulm. As well, two Navy admirals also hailed from Frankfort: Vice Admiral William Sims Farber and Rear Admiral Harry William Need.
A Clinton County native whose military service included a dramatic sea rescue is Adrian Marks, a Navy pilot who rescued 56 sailors from the USS Indianapolis by landing his floatable aircraft against regulations to provide a life saving float in shark infested waters. The rescue came four days after the USS Indianapolis was sunk in the Pacific Ocean by a Japanese Sub late in World War II.
A new movie is being produced about the tragic events of the USS Indianapolis. Men of Courage starring Nicolas Cage is expected to be released later this year. Here in Clinton County, a new airport terminal bearing Marks’ name also is planned at the Frankfort-Clinton County airport, with bids expected to go out in the fall after a slight delay in design approval. And the Frankfort Community Public Library is hosting a program with Richard Thelen, Michigan, one of the last surviving crew members of the USS Indianapolis, at noon on May 20 in the Skanta Theatre. The library also is exhibiting “Through the Lens: The Naval Institute Presents the USS Indianapolis—Alfred J. Sedivi Photography Collection” through June 30.
But the commitment and dedication of our hometown heroes is not found only in the dramatic rescue stories or in the highly decorated officers, but also in the many men and women who have enlisted in the military out of a strong commitment to protect our country. For instance, according to Images of America: Frankfort, the Catron family, Cleo and Gertrude Catron, sent five sons off to war during World War II. Dee, Dale, and Glay joined the Army, and Gayle and Les joined the Navy. Four of the Catron sons returned home, but Dale Catron was reported missing in action in 1944. Likewise, many other Clinton County families also have sent their sons and daughters off to war or military service.
With Memorial Day just a little more than two weeks away, make plans to honor the veterans and military personnel in your family and in our community.