Posted by: philipmartin | April 24, 2010

Frank Wayne Martin’s Post-War Career (as a Microelectronics Engineer)

Most who visit this blog likely know the late Frank Wayne Martin as the author of Patton’s Lucky Scout, his published memoirs of his soldiering days as an advance scout for General George S. Patton and the Third Army in Europe in World War II.

However, few of you may know of his illustrious career as a brilliant microelectronics engineer after the war.

Those of us regaled by his World War II experiences in Patton’s Lucky Scout will be interested, but perhaps not surprised, to learn of his amazing career afterward, in which he contributed to a number of groundbreaking microelectronics developments of the second half of the 20th century. Eventually becoming an international consultant, he did not retire until 2005, at age 82, due to health problems.

After he left the army in 1945 after VE Day, he returned to college and earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. He went on to publish over 100 technical papers and a book on marketing, and held more than forty patents.

Among other honors, he was president (and co-founder) of the International Society for Hybrid Microelectronics (ISHM) from 1968–69, and also co-founder and first president of International Electronic and Packaging Society (IEPS) from 1978–79. (In 1996, the two merged to become IMAPS (International Microelectronics and Packaging Society).

Here is more about Martin’s career accomplishments from the IMAPS website:

Wayne was involved with other societies such as IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) where he served as a past chairman of the PHP (Parts, Hybrids and Packaging) Group. His involvement in SID (Society for Information Display) led to him being given a life membership for his work in creating early concepts of liquid crystal and electroluminescent display technology. NEPCON (National Electronic Packaging and Production Conference) named him Electronic Packaging Engineer of the Year.

Wayne’s career specialty was in technology transfer, creating new products to meet changing markets. He worked on civilian and government projects for a number of companies including RCA, Zenith, Raytheon, Illinois Toolworks, Methode, and Rohm and Haas. He served as consultant to numerous companies, among them: Ford, Texas Instruments, Timex, and Hughes Aeronautics. He helped in the startup of MITRE and RADLAB. He also served as an independent research associate for Corning. He eventually became a full-time consultant.

He spent many years in the various electronic development areas, both in government and public sector work. He started his computer work on the vacuum tubes for Whirlwind (now at the Smithsonian), one of the first commercial computers. That led to his work in early silicon develop what he called a double diode, which functioned very similar to a transistor. He was also worked in the development of putting chips on substrates, consolidating them into what became known as chips on board (COB).

Wayne’s NASA & DOD work was extremely varied and included the guidance systems for the Chimp launch rocket and the Hawk and Sparrow missile systems. He was also involved in early plasma screen work with the Air Force when working on heads up cockpit displays. He developed the specific melting point glass that seals the glass sections. During the 1980s he worked on the U.S. Congressional Committee on Superconductivity.

His work on PWB (printed wiring boards) includes developing a new process that replaced copper etching with depositing copper paste directly on laminates. He was also involved with the development of the membrane keyboards and touch panels. He encouraged and helped both Timex and TI to switch from LED to LCD displays.

No wonder that General George Patton chose Martin to be included in that select group chosen to be advance scouts, often working behind enemy lines, for Patton’s Lucky Forward advance mobile headquarters . . . given Martin’s combination of high intelligence, engineering and observational skills, language abilities, and Yankee common sense.


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