Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

July 4, 2014

Freedom Fighter: Frost recalls WW II service

Corsicana — As America pauses this weekend to celebrate its independence, it pays tribute to those who served to fight for those freedoms.

It was later in World War II that Alton Frost was shot down on Luzon in the South Pacific. It’s one of those incidents that easily comes to mind.

“That particular day, the Japanese Air Force didn’t have anymore fighters,” Frost recalled. “They Navy had sunk their carriers. I was going in on a bombing position and for one reason or another it didn’t release.”

Stuck with a 1,000-pound bomb on his plane’s belly, Frost knew he had to get rid of it, and he was alone in his one-engine plane.

“I told my two wingmen, ‘I’m going to circle over the target and get rid of the bomb,’” but instead of going back up to 10,000 feet, where he usually started for a bomb dive, Frost only went up to 5,000. As he came over the target, he waggled the plane like a dog shaking water, and the bomb dropped off, but then he saw the two puffs of black smoke and knew his plane was doomed.

“The bomb was gone, but I had no power. I headed for the water and made a wheels-up landing before I got to the water,” Frost said. “It was between two coconut trees.”

The rough landing clipped one of the trees and knocked loose the fuel line, spilling gas across the jungle floor.

Soon after he’d extricated himself, Frost crawled out and was greeted by a soldier who pulled up in a Jeep to check on him.

“I said ‘where are we in relation to the front lines?’ and he said ‘We’re on the front line.’”

Frost borrowed a match from the soldier and pitched it into the gas, burning up his plane and hitched a ride to the nearest landing strip, where one of his wingmen swung down and picked him up.

His captain was none to happy about the loss of the dive bomber, and sent Frost to speak to the colonel.

“The colonel was taking a sunbath in his shorts with a magazine over his face when I got there,” Frost recalled, chuckling. “I told him what happened and he said ‘Tell the S.O.B. to get you another plane and mark it up to losses to the enemy.’”

Frost, who grew up on PIsgah Ridge, joined the Navy in 1942. He wanted to be a pilot, and was trained in two-engine planes initially. When he asked to be switched over to single-engine fighters, he was moved into the Marine Corps.

As a pilot of a Marine Scout Bomber, he flew 96 missions, was awarded the distinguished flying cross three times, four air medals and one bronze star. It was his job to go in before the bombers and drop smoke bombs to help identify targets to his fellow dive bombers.

The citation that accompanied Frost’s bronze star praises “his aggressiveness in seeking front line positions from which to direct air strikes and for his utter disregard of the hazard of enemy fire,” according to Maj. Gen. James T. Moore.

Frost trained in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Cherry Point, North Carolina, and then was sent overseas to New Guinea. From there, the squadron was sent to Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Luzon and Mindanao.

An appendicitis attack requiring emergency surgery took him out of action in the summer of 1945.

“By the time I rejoined the squadron they’d dropped the atomic bombs and the Japs had surrendered,” Frost said.

Frost tried to stay in the service after the war, but there just wasn’t enough need for pilots and he eventually came back to Navarro County.

After trying to get into Southern Methodist University, he became one of the first students at Navarro College — one of the “Barracks Bunch.”

He continued in the reserves, but never got called up again for active duty. He left the reserves in the 1950s. That also ended his flying career.

“I liked flying better than anything I’ve ever done,” Frost said.

Frost became a corrosion engineer, and worked for Gulf Oil for 30 years. He was injured in 1957 when a butane leak in a pipeline caused a fire that burned his face and arms.

He and his wife Marie live in Wortham. They reared two sons, one now deceased, and have grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Most of the family lives in the Houston area, but they’re back and forth, said son Johnny Frost.

“He’s got great-great grandchildren now,” Johnny said. “It’s a blessing.”

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com.

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • 7-31-14 Fire2.jpg Deputies, fire departments have busy weekend

    An attempt to bootleg electricity off a pole using jumper cables is believed to have caused a building fire that took out a former restaurant in Angus Friday morning, one of a series of calls to Navarro County Sheriff’s Office to the southern end of the county over the weekend.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-31-14 Rice ISD Alex Stough mug.jpg Rice students win UIL scholarships

    Three Rice High School students received UIL scholarships for competing in academic competitions at the state level, according to advisor Alan Lewis.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • 7-31-14 Collin Main signal.jpg Signal finally fixed

    It took a couple of months to get the parts, but the signal light at Main and Collin streets in downtown Corsicana is finally up and working again.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor from a grim start to 2014 and should show renewed strength into next year.

    July 30, 2014

  • Poll: Americans cool to border-crossing children

    SAN DIEGO — Americans are wary of granting refugee status to children crossing the U.S. border to flee strife-torn countries in Central America, and most in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to accept asylum seekers generally.

    July 30, 2014

  • 7-30-14 4-H robotics.jpg Science made simple

    Hats out of old newspaper and leftover wrapping paper, simple robots out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencil erasers, a microcosm of the aquifer made of root beer and ice cream — with a dollop of chocolate syrup. These were among the fun science projects at Tuesday’s 4-H Discovery Days event at the Navarro County Youth Expo.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • County: No increase in city subsidies

    As budget talks continue at the Navarro County Courthouse, one consensus that’s been reached will impact budget planning at the Corsicana Government Center.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30-14 AthensFire.jpg Senate report finds fault with government inspection of chemical facilities

    WASHINGTON — The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at a higher risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Club-Rotary gov.jpg Club News

    News and announcements submitted by clubs and organizations throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat 7/30/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Twitter Updates