Benis M Frank



Benis M. Frank was born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1925, but lived most of his early life in Stamford, Connecticut. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut (1949) with a BA in History and did his graduate work in International Relations at Clark University. He had been a Marine Corps historian since 1961, pioneered the Marine Corps Oral History Program, Marine Corps History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, and headed it from 1966 to November 1990, when he was appointed Acting Chief Historian of the Marine Corps. In May 1991, he became Chief Historian. He retired in October 1997, after 43 years in active and civilian Marine service. Upon retirement, he was presented the Secretary of the Navy's Distinguished Civilian Service Medal.

He served as an enlisted Marine in World War II, participating in the invasions of Peleliu and Okinawa, and the occupation of North China with the 1st Marine Division. Commissioned just before the Korean War, he returned to active duty as a member of the 1st Provisional Historical Platoon at Fleet Marine Force Pacific. Later in the war, he served once more with the 1st Marine Division, this time in Korea, where he was the Division Order of Battle Officer and as Battalion Intelligence Officer of the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines.

Mr. Frank is the author of Okinawa: Touchstone to Victory and Halsey, both published by Ballantine Books, and Okinawa: The Great Island Battle, published in late 1978 by Dutton. He is the co-author of Victory and Occupation, the fifth and last volume of the official History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II. He also wrote A Brief History of the 3d Marines, Lauchheimer Trophy, and a history of U. S. Marines in Lebanon, 1982-1984. He was General Editor of the History and Museums Division's World War II 50th Anniversary series of commemorative monographs. By the end of 1997, there were 25 titles in the series. Mr. Frank was a major contributor to the Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II and has contributed to the Dictionary of American Biography. He also wrote a biography of General Holland M. Smith for Men of War: Great Naval Leaders of World War II. Mr. Frank also contributed to The Oxford Companion to American Military History and The Oxford Companion to United States History. He has written a number of articles and signed book reviews in the fields of military and oral history. He is a free-lance indexer and copy editor, and has refereed a number of manuscripts in the field of military history.

Mr. Frank belongs to various professional organizations and is a Fellow and former Governor of THE COMPANY OF MILITARY HISTORIANS and former managing editor of its quarterly, Military Collector & Historian. He is a charter member of both the Oral History Association and Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region and first president of the latter. He was the coordinator of Military Classics Seminar in Washington for nearly seven years and took up that position once again in Fall 1991 for a period of four years. Mr. Frank is a long-time member of the Society for Military History (formerly the American Military Institute) and is a former Trustee and Chairman of the Tellers' Committee of that organization. He was formerly editor of The Old Breed News, official bimonthly newspaper of the 1st Marine Division Association, of which he is a Life Member. He was President and a founding member of the Virginia Scottish Games Association, and is an Honorary Member of the St. Andrew's Society of Washington, DC. He is a member of The Military Order of the Carabao.

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