About Frank Wayne Martin

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.

Responses

  1. Wow! What an extraordinary guy. We loved the book. It was extremely enlightening. We had never read anything like it before. The editing could have been sharper, but in a way, that added to the realness of all the episodes. We would laugh 0ut loud at parts, and share what we read in the morning. It is absolutely and totally amazing what he experienced and survived and came back to an equally astounding life. His positive attitude and ability to see things as an adventure and not wallow in self-pity in his extreme situations set him apart from most of us. Thank you so much for sharing his adventures. We had never read anything like it before though had read much WWII history.

  2. Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed the book and were able to take the measure of the man behind the book. He was a most remarkable man. I called him the poster boy for the power of positive thinking. Despite his many health problems he rarely complained.

    I take responsibility for all editing errors. His health was declining and while I knew it would be good to review the full text again – I knew my time was running out to get the book published in his lifetime. A clean copy book after he was gone would have been a tragedy to me. The book came out in October and he was able to bask in the enjoyment of his friends reading (and loving) the book, along with seeing his book for sell in a bookstore. He passed away less than three months after the book came out.

    I too have read a lot of WWII books. I find myself drawn to the personal accounts. Like Wayne they tell their personal story – each one unique.

  3. Hi Nancy, I was browsing in a used book store recently and found Wayne’s book. I’ve always been interested in story’s from the war but I’ve never read anything like this. I had friends who were over there and like Wayne they were trying to put it behind them. I thank you for being instrumental in getting him to share these stories. It is hard to imagine how those guys were able to live under the conditions they did and still fight the Germans. It make you wonder if we’ll ever produce people like that again. I have young friends who are interested what happened in those years, and I will pass this book on to them. Thank you again . I wish I had known him . John A Mcguire

  4. Thank you for your comment John. While he was “just doing his job” like so many other GIs he was also like many others an amazing example of the greatest generation. I love the stories and encourage everyone to talk to their family members while they can. For the record, he loved people “recycling” his book — sharing it others. He was a most amazing man and it was to be his “wing man” for his final years. I always say the book was a gift we gave each other.


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