Franklin, Irl, Lt Col

Air Operations
 
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Life Member
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USAF Retired
Current/Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1445Y-Air Operations Officer
Current/Last AFSC Group
Air Operations
Primary Unit
1974-1979, Directorate of Operations (HQ USAF/XOO)
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
1055A-Pilot Troop Carrier
Service Years
1956 - 1979
Voice Edition
Lieutenant Colonel


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Aviator (Command)


 

 Official Badges 

Air Force Retired


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
United Services Automobile Association (USAA)Sierra NavadaAF189Post 5
Air Commando AssociationAir Force Together We ServedAir Force Memorial (AFM)Chapter 744
  1958, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) - Assoc. Page
  1975, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Sierra Navada (Reno, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1979, Air Force Association (AFA), AF189 (Paymaster) (Las Vegas, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2000, American Legion, Post 5 (¬†Winnemucca, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2000, Air Force Association (AFA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2009, Air Commando Association [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2015, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Chapter 744 (Winnemucca, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
I am an independent instructor pilot as well as a ground school instructor for the Norther Nevada Community College. I supervise the adminisration of FAA examinations. I am Deputy Commander of a Civil Air Patrol Squadron. I also fly many search and rescue mission as a qualified Mission Pilot for CAP.
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From DD214:
SAMER.CRM.NDSM.AFEM.AFOUw/3OLC.RVCM.VSMw/4BSS.AFLSAw/OLC.RVN Gal Crsw/Plm.MSMw/1OLC,GB-62,HqTAC,74.AFCM,G-563,Hq7AF,67.AMw/11ILC,G2380,Hq7AF,68.SS,GB-985,DAF,70.MSMw/2OLC,Gb866,DAR,78
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Other Comments:
From 7th SOS:

The 7th Special Operations Squadron was activated on 1 July 1964 as the 7th Air Commando Squadron (7 ACS/USAFE) at Sembach Air Base, Germany. The original cadre came from Hurlburt Field, Florida, in March 1964, as Detachment 4, 1st Air Commando Wing. The new squadron was equipped with 4 C-123s, 6 C-47s and 2 U-10 aircraft, and had 265 personnel authorized. In February 1967, the 7 ACS was designated as the unit to receive the new C-130E(I) Combat Arrow aircraft. In May 1967, command of the squadron was transferred from USAFE to 17th Air Force. Today the squadron flies the MC-130H Combat Talon II at RAF Mildenhall, England.
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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1956, Officer Candidate School (OCS) (Lackland AFB, TX), 57T
 Unit Assignments
School AssignmentsBasic Flight School331st Troop Carrier SquadronTactical Air Command (TAC)
346th Troop Carrier Squadron (Assault, Fixed Wing)345th Troop Carrier Squadron464th Troop Carrier Wing777th Troop Carrier Squadron
314th Troop Carrier Wing Detachment 1, 314th Troop Carrier Wing7th Air Commando SquadronUnited States Air Forces in Europe (COMUSAFE/USAFE)17th Air Force
7th Special Operations SquadronTactical Air Warfare Center, Tactical Air Command (TAC)Headquarters Command (HQ USAF)
  1956-1957, Primary Flight School
  1957-1957, Basic Flight School
  1957-1958, 331st Troop Carrier Squadron
  1957-1967, Tactical Air Command (TAC)
  1958-1963, 346th Troop Carrier Squadron (Assault, Fixed Wing)
  1963-1964, 345th Troop Carrier Squadron
  1964-1965, 464th Troop Carrier Wing
  1965-1966, 777th Troop Carrier Squadron
  1966-1967, 314th Troop Carrier Wing Detachment 1, 314th Troop Carrier Wing
  1967-1970, 1055A, 7th Air Commando Squadron
  1967-1972, 1055A, United States Air Forces in Europe (COMUSAFE/USAFE)
  1967-1972, 1055A, 17th Air Force
  1970-1972, 1055A, 7th Special Operations Squadron
  1972-1974, Tactical Air Warfare Center, Tactical Air Command (TAC)
  1974-1979, Directorate of Operations (HQ USAF/XOO)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1962 Vietnam Advisory Campaign (1961-65)/Operation Mule Train
  1970-1970 Vietnam War - Southwest Monsoon Campaign (1970)/Operation Kingpin (Son Tay Prison Raid)4
 Military Association Memberships
United Services Automobile Association (USAA)Sierra NavadaAF189Post 5
Air Commando AssociationAir Force Together We ServedAir Force Memorial (AFM)Chapter 744
  1958, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) - Assoc. Page
  1975, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Sierra Navada (Reno, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1979, Air Force Association (AFA), AF189 (Paymaster) (Las Vegas, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2000, American Legion, Post 5 (¬†Winnemucca, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2000, Air Force Association (AFA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2009, Air Commando Association [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2015, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Chapter 744 (Winnemucca, Nevada) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on Lt Col Franklin's US Air Force Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE.
Lt Col Irl Franklin (Leon) - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Air Force.
I attended Kansas State University a land grant college and as such everyone had to take two years of ROTC. Having spent many a night on Boy Scout outings I knew I did not want to be in the Army so my desire was the Air Force. When enrolling as a freshman I was told all Air Force ROTC classes were full. After spending 3 hours working up my class schedule which included Army ROTC I was told they had opened up more Air Force classes so I did it all again (this time with Air Force classes), and so it was! I finished four years of schooling, received my degree and Commission in the United States Air Force Reserve. When on active duty I was offered and accepted a Commission into the Regular Air Force.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
Lt Col Irl Franklin (Leon) - Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took. What was your reason for leaving?
After being commissioned in May I reported to Lackland AFB in June to begin my career as a navigator. Being lucky, I found the navigator classes were full and was offered a pilot slot. Hooray! Upon graduation from pilot school I volunteered for C-130s and headed towards Sewart AFB, TN. Arriving there, I found I was put into a C-123 unit, much to my disappointment. However, I was lucky again because in about a year I was an instructor pilot and a short while later a flight examiner. If I had been the C-130 program I would have been in the right seat for 4 or 5 years. My following years, I spent flying, and working Wing or Air Division Command posts, in addition a tour at the Tactical Air Warfare Center and Headquarters USAF. I also did a tour in Germany in a Special Operations Unit.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH MADE A LASTING IMPACT ON YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY?
Yes, I guess you could say I was in the "mix of the War in Southeast Asia". I deployed with C-123s for Operation Mule Train in 61 & 62 and again with the C-123s for Operation Saw Buck in 63. The next time I deployed was with the C-130s in 1965, where we got out of country more often. I then transferred over to the Sky Hook C-130s in Special Operations. We deployed to Southeast Asia with Sky Hook C-130s in project Stray Goose.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
I am sure the honor to be chosen among all the C-130 pilots by the USAF to lead the mission on Son Tay.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?
While serving in Germany myself and a crew from my outfit were called back to the States to serve on a secret and dangerous mission. The mission turned out to be The raid on Son Tay, a prison camp 23 miles southwest of Hanoi. Our goal was to bring back about 75 of our POWs held by the North Vietnamese.

Silver Star Award Citation
Major Irl L. Franklin, US Air Force
Major Irl L. Franklin distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military
operation against an armed enemy of the United States during the Prisoner of War
search and rescue operation at Son Tay, North Vietnam, on 21 November 1970. On
that date, Major Franklin, as command of the lead aircraft, safely led the assault
rescue force deep into enemy territory to the Prisoner of War camp despite the
hazards of darkness, low altitude, and adverse weather. The result of his action
enabled the ground rescue force to successfully complete its mission. By his
gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Franklin has reflected great credit upon himself
and the United States Air Force.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR OTHER MEMORABILIA, WHICH ONE IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
The most meaningful medal I recieved is the Silver Star presented to me by the Secretary of Defense,Melvin R Laird, for leading the Raid on Son Tay NVN to rescue our POWs held them in the prison.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
I would have to say my wife (currently 53 years). She stood by me through many absences, worked, cared for our two children (generally, as they say "kept the home fires burning!"), and helped with the hard choices in life!
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
While deployed to Panama most of us grew mustaches. Two of our fair haired had facial hair would not show up. One day one of them appeared back in the barracks with a dark mustache. He confessed to going to the beauty shop and getting a dye job.The other fair troop thought that was a good idea. He made his appointment and showed for it to find half of the squadron waiting for him. Much to his dismay he took a lot of razzing while we all watched and heckled.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
After retiring from the Air Force I moved to Nevada and worked in the local school district as guidance counselor. Upon retiring from the school I was instrumental in forming a Civil Air Patrol Squadron (CAP) where I still fly. We are responsible for search and rescue missions directed by the Air Force as well as local law enforcement agencies and we support many other tasks. In my spare time I fly as an instructor pilot and teach aviation ground school at our local college. I also serve on the State of Nevada Juvenile Justice Commission.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
MOAA, ACA, AFA, 7th SOS, COMBAT TALON ASS.,SEA C-123 ASS, Son Tay Raiders ASS. Many of these have news letters and reunions of which I have attended.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
The military has been my life and molded my actions in every way. This is evident by the fact that I am still serving the USAF through CAP, an Auxiliary to the USAF.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?
I enjoyed my 23 years in the Air Froce as did my entire family. I would say to all get into an AFSC that you enjoy and take advantage of all the education opportunities that arise. Remember there will be times that will try you. But remember they too will pass. Enjoy your work and your co-workers as some will be friends for life.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
I have reconnected with a number of Airmen whom I lost contact throughout the years. In addition, setting up my AFTWS Profile Page has brought back many good memories that I had long forgotten.


Published in TWS "Voices" March 1, 2010

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