Retired Jan. 31, 1954. Died Sep. 13, 1988.
Major General Franklin Otis Carroll was a visionary leader who made significant contributions to aviation and to the American war effort in World War II. His career spanned nearly the first half-century of military aeronautics. He witnessed a revolution in aircraft design, materials, performance and manufacturing, and was instrumental in guiding the U.S. Air Force's transition from reciprocating engines to jet propulsion. As the director of Wright Field's experimental engineering operations, he skillfully balanced the desires of dreamers, designers and operators.
General Carroll was born in 1893 in Washington, Ind. He received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois in June 1916 and began his military career the same month with the Illinois National Guard horse cavalry. He served on active duty until November performing border patrol in Brownsville, Texas. In May 1917 he entered Officers Training Camp at Fort Sheridan, Ill., and the following August began flight training at Kelly Field, Texas. He was commissioned as a first lieutenant in January 1918 in the Aviation Section of the Signal Reserve and was assigned to Kelly Field as an instructor.
In June 1919 General Carroll was assigned to Washington D.C., where he worked in the information group, Office of the Chief of the Air Services. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September 1920 and completed the Air Service Course the following June.
General Carroll then reported to the Air Corps Engineering Division at McCook Field, Ohio, where he initially served as an engineer in the structures and dynamics branch of the airplane section.
From August 1924 to November 1925 Carroll served with the Third Attack Group at Kelly Field. He returned to McCook Field in late 1925 as assistant to the chief engineer and transferred to the newly opened Wright Field, Ohio, as assistant chief of the experimental engineering section in July 1927. In September 1929 he became chief of the airplane branch.
In July 1931 General Carroll was assigned to France Field, Panama Canal Zone, with the 63rd Service Squadron and the Panama Air Depot. He returned to Wright Field three years later as assistant chief of the experimental engineering section. He then attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala. Following graduation in 1938, he moved to California as Air Corps representative with the Douglas Aircraft Company and North American Aviation, Inc.
General Carroll returned to Wright Field in March 1939 as chief of the experimental engineering section's research and development branch. In March 1940 he went to London, England, where he served as an assistant military attach for three months. Returning to Wright Field, he was appointed to the position of chief of the experimental engineering section and remained in that capacity until the end of World War II. During his tenure, he was at the center of every major experimental and engineering project at the field during World War II. He approved the creation of the world's most advanced wind tunnels and laboratories for aeromedical research, communications, navigation and radar. He also oversaw the introduction of the first jet engine to Wright Field. In short, he made the tough engineering decisions that translated proposals and requirements into airplanes -- some of the best airplanes in the world.
In October 1942 he was promoted to brigadier general. In January 1945 he assumed the additional duty of commandant of the Army Air Forces Engineering School at Wright Field, which later became the Air Force Institute of Technology.
General Carroll's next assignment brought him to Far Eastern Air Service Command headquarters for temporary duty on the Air Evaluation Board. In December 1945 he was transferred to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Materiel at PACUSA headquarters and in September 1946 he became commander of the Pacific Air Service Command.
In January 1947 he was assigned to the Air Materiel Command headquarters at Wright Field as assistant to the deputy commanding general for engineering. In June he was transferred to the Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Materiel at Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C. He also served as Army Air Corps representative on the National Inventors Council. In August 1947 he moved to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Materiel as deputy chief of the Research and Engineering Division. In October he was promoted to the rank of major general, and he became director of research and development at Air Materiel Command.
General Carroll became assistant deputy chief of staff for materiel at Air Force headquarters in October 1949. He then assumed command of the Air Engineering Development Division of Air Materiel Command. While in this position, he performed the additional duties of assistant to the deputy chief of staff for materiel and then special assistant to the deputy chief of staff for development. In November 1950 General Carroll moved the Air Engineering Development Division to Tullahoma, Tenn. It was redesignated the Arnold Engineering Development Center on June 25, 1951.
In February 1952 General Carroll was named director of Human Resources Institute at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
General Carroll logged 4,450 flying hours and was rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer. He also was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Captain Dec. 1, 1930; to major (temporary) June 16, 1936; to major (permanent) June 12, 1939; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Nov. 16, 1940; to lieutenant colonel (permanent) Oct. 15, 1941; to colonel (temporary) Feb. 1, 1942; to brigadier general (temporary) Oct. 31, 1942; to brigadier general (permanent) Feb. 23, 1947; to major general (temporary) Oct. 1, 1947; to major general (permanent) Feb. 19, 1948; with date of rank from Dec. 12, 1942.