Retired Aug. 1, 1966. Died July 21, 1996.
Brigadier General Frank Walter Gillespie was originally a Michigander, born in Gaines, Mich., in 1912. Upon completing high school, he served in the Army for a year before entering the U.S. Military Academy from which he graduated in 1936 with a commission as second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps. In September of the same year he began flying training at Randolph Field, Texas, receiving his wings at Kelly Field in October 1937 and transferring to the Air Corps, U.S. Army.
One month later he was a member of the 24th Pursuit Squadron stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. Returning to the United States late in 1939, he remained in pursuit operations, becoming commander of the 7th Pursuit Squadron in 1942.
In March of the same year he was assigned as air officer to the U.S. Air Forces, Liberia, where he acted as air adviser to the operational task force which constructed an air field there.
Returning from Liberia, General Gillespie was assigned to the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff. His next assignment as air officer, Allied Control Commission for Hungary took him to Caserta, Italy and Budapest. In September 1945, he returned to Washington for duty with the Policy Division, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Force where he remained until 1948.
Between February 1948 and February 1949, General Gillespie graduated from both the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and from the Strategic Intelligence School, Washington D.C. He then became air attache to Australia and returned to Philadelphia in 1952 to act as deputy commander of the Air Photographic and Charting Service.
Following his graduation from the National War College in June 1953 the general went to St. Paul, Minn. as vice commander of the 31st Air Division (Defense). Upon transfer of General Matheny in September 1957, General Gillespie then colonel, assumed full command of the 31st Air Division.
General Gillespie was commander of the Seattle Air Defense Sector from August 1959 until June 1961, when he assumed command of the 86th Air Division (Defense), located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. This organization is the first line of air defense in Central Europe.
General Gillespie holds a dual rating as command pilot and technical observer. He has been the recipient of several outstanding awards, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.