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Today in History




Name: Frank O'Driscoll "Monk" Hunter
Distinguished Service Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Frank Hunter
Country: United States
Rank: First Lieutenant
Service: United States Air Service
Units: 94th Aero, 103rd Aero
Victories: 9
Born: 08 December 1894
Place of Birth: Savannah, Georgia, USA
Died: 25 June 1982
Place of Death: Savannah, Georgia, USA
Cemetery: Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia, USA
 
 
The son of John H. Hunter of Savannah, Georgia, Frank O'Driscoll Hunter joined the United States Army Signal Corps in 1917. A SPAD XIII pilot, he was posted to the 94th Aero Squadron on 22 May 1918 but, four days later, he was transferred to the 103rd Aero Squadron. Though wounded in action on 2 June 1918, Hunter scored nine victories making him and Paul Baer the highest scoring aces in the squadron. When the war ended, Hunter remained in the army, attaining the rank of Major General and commanding the 8th Air Force Fighter Command in England during World War II. Before he retired from the United States Army Air Force in 1947, Hunter Army Air Field at Savannah, Georgia was named in his honor. He was the only person to have had a military base named after him while still living. Hunter suffered a stroke on 12 June 1982 and died at St. Joseph Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. He was 87.

According to syndicated columnist Charly Clapp, Hunter was "nicknamed Monk because of how he looked as a baby."
   When parachutes were first adopted by the Air Force and all pilots were forced to wear them, Monk Hunter, like most World War I fliers, held them in great contempt until a vivid example or their value was brought home. In the early 1920's Hunter went to Wright Field to test hop a new fighter plane and it so happened that he wore a new chute, which had been fitted before he put on a leather flying jacket. So he couldn't fasten the buckle across his chest. He climbed into the new fighter without much concern about his valueless chute, but just as he was going to take off an incoming plane delayed him for a few moments so he wriggled around in his seat and was able to connect the two ends across the front. Within 10 minutes the new fighter caught on fire and Monk made his first parachute jump.
Charly Clapp, The Amarillo Globe - Wednesday, May 02, 1945
The Macon Daily Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, Sunday, 12 January 1919, page 1
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday, 21 March 1925, page 1
The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia, Sunday, 7 March 1926, page 1
The Morning Union, Springfield, Massachusetts, Monday, 28 June 1928, page 18
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Ypres, Belgium, June 2, 1918. Lieutenant Hunter, while on patrol, alone attacked two enemy bi-place planes, destroying one and forcing the other to retire. In the course of the combat he was wounded in the forehead. Despite his injuries he succeeded in returning his damaged plane to his own aerodrome.
General Orders No. 147, W.D., 1918
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Champeny, France, September 13, 1918. First Lieutenant Hunter, accompanied by one other mono-place plane, attacked an enemy patrol of six planes. Despite numerical superiority and in a decisive combat, he destroyed one enemy plane and, with the aid of his companion, forced the others within their own lines.
General Orders No. 147, W.D., 1918
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Verneville, France, September 17, 1918. Leading a patrol of three planes, First Lieutenant Hunter attacked an enemy formation of eight planes. Although outnumbered, they succeeded in bringing down four of the enemy. Lieutenant Hunter accounted for two of these.
General Orders No. 147, W.D., 1918
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Liny-devant-Dun, France, October 4, 1918. While separated from his patrol First Lieutenant Hunter observed an allied patrol of seven planes (Breguets) hard pressed by an enemy formation of ten planes (Fokker type). He attacked two of the enemy that were harassing a single Breguet and in a decisive fight destroyed one of them. Meanwhile five enemy planes approached and concentrated their fire upon him. Undaunted by their superiority, he attacked and brought down a second plane.
General Orders No. 147, W.D., 1918
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Bantheville, France, October 6, 1918. While on patrol First Lieutenant Hunter encountered an enemy formation of six mono-place planes. He immediately attacked and destroyed one enemy plane and forced the others to disperse in confusion.
General Orders No. 147, W.D., 1918
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 02 Jun 1918 1725 103rd   Two-seater Mont Kemmel
2 13 Sep 1918 1710 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII 1 Chambley
3 17 Sep 1918 1545 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Verneville
4 17 Sep 1918 1545 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Verneville
5 04 Oct 1918 1200 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Ligny-devant-Dun
6 04 Oct 1918 1200 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Ligny-devant-Dun
7 06 Oct 1918 1115 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Bantheville
8 19 Oct 1918 0835 103rd SPAD XIII Halberstadt C 2 La Croix aux Bois
9 23 Oct 1918 1125 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII 3 Dun-sur-Meuse

1 Shared with Lt DeFreest Larner
2 Shared with Lt William Ponder
3 Shared with Lt P R Pyne
 
Books
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
 
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