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Veterans’ Voices: Frank Warren (part 2)
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Veterans’ Voices: Frank Warren (part 2)

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Vets - Frank Warren 2

Frank Warren of Eddy, seen here in dress uniform during his Army service in the 1960s, flew planes and helicopters in Vietnam and Korea.

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Last week: Eddy resident Frank W. Warren enrolled in the National Guard in the early 1960s, went to Vietnam and became a pilot in both civilian and military life.

Frank W. Warren, 80, has had a life full of adventure. Joining the Army National Guard in the early 1960s, he was deployed to Vietnam and served with two companies.

Warren came back to the States in February 1971 to Fort Hood to a mechanic job. The Army sent him to Fort Eustis, Virginia, to become an aircraft maintenance officer and Mohawk test pilot. He also went to Fort Ruckus and became an OH-58 helicopter pilot and learned to fly the UH-1 Huey. He was a mechanic on all of them when not flying.

Now a chief warrant officer 2 at Fort Hood, Warren worked on Mohawks exclusively from 1971 to 1975.

In 1975, Warren was deployed to Seoul, South Korea, as a maintenance officer but he also flew missions. “It was intense,” he said. “We had to have a plane running along the DMZ (demilitarized zone) a full 24 hours.”

In some ways, Warren found it scarier than the Vietnam War. He was flying electronic surveillance over the DMZ, and occasionally, the North Koreans would “lock” onto a plane with a missile. “You never knew if there was going to be an international incident,” he said.

As a maintenance officer in Korea, Warren was assigned his own Huey to fly around South Korea to get parts.

To get more flying time, Warren also volunteered to serve standby as a Medivac helicopter pilot, taking off and landing in remote places that had no airport. They flew at night and had to clear all obstacles before they could pick up the patient and get them to a hospital.

In the summer of 1976, Warren was there during the notorious Korean ax murder incident.

“We came pretty close to going to war with North Korea,” Warren said.

According to reports, soldiers were trimming a poplar tree for a better view along the joint security area of the DMZ. The team of those pruning the tree was confronted by a group of North Koreans, who ordered the team to stop the pruning, which the team ignored.

The men were unarmed, and two U.S. officers were bludgeoned to death with axes.

The next day, according to published reports, hundreds of fighters, helicopters and bombers flew in from Guam, and another 12,000 troops were ordered to South Korea. They took all that firepower and went in to cut the tree down completely.

“It was pretty intense for us,” Warren said. “We had Cobras, Mohawks and U-21s all ready to go. We were on duty 24 hours.”

After two years in Korea, Warren returned to Fort Hood. As a warrant officer, he was often assigned to captain-level jobs. He tried to get promoted to captain to no avail. He decided to get out and he went back into the Reserves, serving eight more years.

From 1977 to 1981, he became a missile repairman for the Tow and Dragon missile. From 1981 to 1983 he took a tour in Temple, where he was flying out of Austin part time.

He failed a flight physical, so he reverted to staff sergeant E-6. After two years, he made E-7, then took a warrant officer’s slot and became a chief warrant officer 2 again. He retired in 1989 from the 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard with a Bronze Star, 10 Combat Air Medals and an assortment of medals and ribbons.

Warren moved to Bruceville-Eddy to be near his parents. Continuing his education, he got both a master’s and Ph.D.-ABD (All But Dissertation). He taught at Temple College for 22 years and retired in 1998. He expanded his construction business full time until 2010, when he formally closed it.

From 1979-80, he spent 15 months as a bush pilot in Alaska, flying where there were no roads. He also taught Indians in seven villages, as well as teaching at Yukon Flats ISD.

In addition, he drove a truck for 17 years.

In 1962, Warren met Carol Montrose, and they will be married 59 years this December. Together, they have four children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“I still don’t let the grass grow under my feet,” said Warren, who is also a Mason. “I’m pro-military, but not with the current leadership today. Today, it’s more political. I’m pro-anybody who runs toward trouble, not away from it.”

“Veterans’ Voices,” featuring stories about Central Texas veterans, publishes every Sunday. To suggest a story about a Central Texas veteran, please email veteransvoices@wacotrib.com. “Veterans’ Voices” is proudly sponsored by Johnson Roofing.

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He flew electronic surveillance missions in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia: “You could hear us, but you couldn’t see us,” he said. “We were a threat because we located the enemy, and when we did, we called in the big boys.”

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