Posted by: philipmartin | August 26, 2010

On Mavericks and Creative Thinking

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
– George S. Patton

I think Frank Wayne Martin. one of Patton’s soldiers, would have agreed with that . . . given his World War II assignment as part of a maverick scouting unit for Patton’s “Lucky Forward” advance headquarters, often (as told in his memoir, Patton’s Lucky Scout) working with creative license behind enemy lines to scout the best routes for the Third Army’s march through Europe . . . and given Martin’s later illustrious career as a brilliant inventor of new engineering technology, with many groundbreaking patents to his credit.

As a young soldier, on occasion reporting directly to Patton, Frank Wayne Martin was greatly influenced by Patton’s highly original way of doing things . . . including Patton’s openness to listening to all viewpoints and encouraging those around him to observe, think independently, and share their suggestions. Patton was not a “yes” man! He wanted to know what people thought, and why.

By the way, the term “maverick” was originally coined to refer to cattle; in the American Southwest, it was an unbranded cow on the open range. It came from the name of a well-known cattleman, Samuel Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle, saying he thought it was too cruel. Others suspected, however, that the real reason was that he wanted to try to claim all the unbranded cattle as his!

Now that’s creative thinking!

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Posted by: philipmartin | July 2, 2010

Northeastern University Students Called Up for Active Duty

Wayne joined his reserve unit in 1942 while studying engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. In Spring 1943, the unit was called up for active duty. Not long after, many of those in this photo would find themselves fighting with the American units in Europe.

(From the collections of Frank Wayne Martin.)

Northeastern University students called up for active duty in World War II

Frank Wayne Martin is among this group in the photo; of the prominent guys in the foreground, he is the third up from the right-hand bottom, light jacket & light tie & big smile. His reserve unit is being called to report to Fort Devens, a Massachusetts base where New England units were trained for active duty in World War II.

The press clipping is likely from the Boston Globe or Boston Herald, April 1943.

Not surprisingly, all the guys are hamming it up for the photographer’s camera. Although they were soon to become part of the American fighting forces, many on the front lines in Europe with their lives in danger – and, in Wayne’s case, scouting for General George S. Patton’s forward command and often finding himself behind German lines – they all seemed to be taking the attitude recommended by General Patton, that “A good sense of humor is important to survival.”

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.

Posted by: philipmartin | February 10, 2010

Other Great Books on General George S. Patton

[Here are a few recommendations from Nancy Martin, who worked closely with Frank Wayne Martin to assemble Patton’s Lucky Scout, a World War II memoir.]

The foremost authority on Patton to me was Martin Blumenson, who served as staff historian for Patton’s Third Army and wrote several books, including The Patton Papers (2-volume set; the 1940–1945 volume is available in paperback) and Patton: The Man Behind the Legend. I would have loved to have written to him asking for his perspective on my father-in-law’s story, but he unfortunately passed away before we started working on the book.

Patton himself authored War As I Knew It. According to Amazon.com: “This absorbing narrative draws on Patton’s vivid memories of battle and his detailed diaries . . . a valuable chronicle of the strategies and fiery personality of a legendary warrior.”

Over time, Frank Wayne Martin collected several shelves of Patton and WWII titles. One of my favorites is Before the Colors Fade: Portrait of a Soldier, by Fred Ayer, Jr. (General Patton’s nephew). Ayer had the unique perspective of knowing Patton personally, as well as having served as a staff officer and knowing his famous uncle professionally. In his book, he portrayed Patton as the man my father-in-law knew: someone who loved being a soldier, loved reading, loved history (especially military history), and loved the men who fought for him.

On page 205 of Ayer’s book, he writes:

I wish the people for whom he fought, deeming it an honor and a privilege to do so, could know what manner of man George Patton really was, that underneath the rough-spoken, cold-blooded exterior he was a gentle and kindly person who had to make himself tough to do the job he had. He wasn’t born that way.

Those words ring so true for so many who found themselves in the midst of World War II or other conflicts over the ages.

One of the most remarkable things about my father-in-law’s book, Patton’s Lucky Scout, is the degree to which it seemed that Frank Wayne Martin stuck to his principles, treating those he encountered with respect and kindness, treating his job professionally (yet keeping his own sense of humor and dignity). Not easy to do in wartime, when, for many, emotions can cloud true wisdom and intelligence.

Posted by: philipmartin | January 8, 2010

Frank Wayne Martin Passes Away

As editor of Crickhollow Books, I’m saddened to say that Frank Wayne Martin, the author of Patton’s Lucky Scout, passed away peacefully yesterday on January 7, 2010, after some years of dealing with a problematic heart condition, with recent complications that even he, the quintessential survivor, could not overcome.

I’ll just share a few words sent by his daughter-in-law, Nancy Martin, who worked so wonderfully with him to organize his World War II memoirs into his recently published book. In her sharing of the news, she offered this piece from 16th-century Catholic poet/preacher/scholar John Donne:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were,
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind;
And therefore, never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

These famous words by John Donne are a prose passage from Meditation 17, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624).

Here’s a photo taken just after Wayne’s book was published last fall, taken at a local indie bookstore, Next Chapter Bookshop, in November 2009. I just want to add that it was a great privilege to know him and to be a part of sharing those remarkable stories, told with such humor and humanity, of his World War II days as a scout for General Patton.

Frank Wayne Martin at Next Chapter Bookshop

Frank Wayne Martin at Next Chapter Bookshop, November 2009

Posted by: philipmartin | January 3, 2010

Another Scene from the Battle of the Bulge

Here’s another photo from the collection of Frank Wayne Martin. Dark and grainy as it is, it shows a quiet moment during the cold, cold midwinter engagement known as the Battle of the Bulge. In this terrible battle, in which some 19,000 American soldiers lost their lives, the Germans attempted a dramatic counter-offensive in the heavily wooded Ardennes Mountain region of Belgium to try to to halt the Allied advance. From mid-December into late January, the two sides clashed in desperate fashion.

During the back-and-forth engagements, some German troops disguised as Americans managed to penetrate through the Allied lines to try to cut communication wires, change traffic signs, and such.

According to Wikipedia:

Checkpoints were set up all over the Allied rear, greatly slowing the movement of soldiers and equipment. Military policemen drilled servicemen on things which every American was expected to know, such as the identity of Mickey Mouse’s girlfriend, baseball scores, or the capital of Illinois. This last question resulted in the brief detention of General Bradley; although he gave the correct answer — Springfield — the GI who questioned him apparently believed the capital was Chicago.

Frank Wayne Martin was pulled into the fighting with the rest of the Lucky Forward scouting unit. Martin recalled in his World War II memoir, Patton’s Lucky Scout, how on several occasions he encountered groups of disguised German soldiers on some of his scouting missions.

How did I know they were actually Germans? They were all shaven. They had well-fitting uniforms, with their helmets on straight, and polished boots. No GI unit ever looked like that in combat, especially if they had to use foxholes! My suspicions were confirmed when they started talking in German when they thought I was out of earshot.

Here is a photograph of PFC Martin taken during that period. In this photo, he is standing (on left) holding a binocular case in one hand, while the other hand has a grip on a small calf.

The fellow toward the back, in the knit cap, is “Doc” Kidd, the medic assigned to the Lucky Forward scouting unit. The other two soldiers are unidentified.

Frank Wayne Martin, author of Patton's Lucky Scout, at the Battle of the Bulge

Frank Wayne Martin (left), "Doc" Kidd (in knit cap), and two others during the Battle of the Bulge

Photograph from the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 or January 1945. Photographer unknown.

Posted by: philipmartin | December 8, 2009

The German Volkswagen “Jeep” Fails the Field Test

From the Patton’s Lucky Scout book, a World War II memoir by PFC Frank Wayne Martin:

One of my assignments as the war was winding down was to check out German equipment, to see how the war was effecting the quality.

I have always enjoyed studying economics, and during combat in Europe, the only book I carried was a rather thin textbook on economics. After Patton saw me reading it, he started assigning me to report to him my view of how well Germany was dealing with wartime material shortages.

The German equipment used in the field showed signs of “cost trimming” by the end of the war. As a point of comparison, our jeeps were pretty rugged and took a lot of abuse, but the German equivalent was in far worse shape.

The Army Volkswagen was their equivalent of the jeep. To test to see if the new ones were as rugged as needed, I found one that I was sure was just off the production line: fresh paint, new fabric on seats, etc. I first drove it around an open field, leaving ruts three to five inches deep.

Testing the German Volkswagen "Jeep"

PFC Martin tests the German Volkswagen "Jeep"

Then I drove across the ruts. The chassis collapsed.

I got out and tapped it with my trench knife, hearing a thin sound. The chassis looked the same as earlier models, but instead of solid steel, it was made of thin sheet steel welded into a square shape.

Testing the German Volkswagen "Jeep"

PFC Martin tests the German Volkswagen "Jeep"

Testing the German Volkswagen "Jeep"

The German Volkswagen "Jeep" failed the test (unknown soldier sits on vehicle with broken chassis).

Posted by: philipmartin | November 25, 2009

Getting the Word Out

Technorati verification code: 2HESHSWFFNPK. (This is part of a process to get this blog registered with Technorati. Everyone else can ignore this post!)

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Here are several more photos taken by PFC Frank Wayne Martin, working backstage during the famous performance given for General George S. Patton and members of his staff in May, 1945.

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton

Head shot of one of the Lipizzan horses, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton, at St. Martin's, Austria

Note the staff cars lined up in the background in the next photo, as one of the riders moves forward on the left, hidden the shadowed canopy of trees.

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton

Lipizzan horse and rider, backstage, with Third Army staff cars in background, May 1945, at St. Martin's, Austria

Here’s a good shot of one of the riders entering or returning from the performance area:

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton

Mounted rider at a trot on a Lipizzan horse, backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton, at St. Martin's, Austria

All these shots were taken backstage, where PFC Martin was keeping an eye on the riders to make sure they were safe and no problems occurred to mar this historic performance for General Patton and others, after their efforts to save the Lippizan horses at the end of World War II from any danger.

The story of PFC Martin’s role in the event is found in the book:

Patton’s Lucky Scout
The Adventures of a Forward Observer
for General Patton and the Third Army in Europe

by Frank Wayne Martin, with Nancy Martin
Crickhollow Books, October 2009
(a World War II memoir)
paperback, 308 pages, $18.95 (click on the title above to order)

But the book does not contain any photos; instead, we are placing them on this blog, in batches. More to come soon!

Posted by: philipmartin | November 11, 2009

Lipizzan Horses Perform for General Patton – Backstage Photos

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton, at St. Martin's, Austria.

From the book, Patton’s Lucky Scout, by Frank Wayne Martin with Nancy Martin:

Lucky Forward had penetrated deep into Czechoslovakia by this time in the war. We were staying in a lovely little whitewashed house in a beautiful village. I was actually sleeping under a roof when this mission began. Very early one morning I woke up to a driver looking for me, shouting “Hey, Martin, the General wants to know if you can saddle and ride a horse?”

So begins a chapter about PFC Martin’s involvement in the operation to save the famous performing Lipizzan horses of Austria.

For the rest of the story, see the Patton’s Lucky Scout book, now available in paperback for $18.95, from fine bookstores online and in your neighborhood. (If you don’t see it on the shelves, ask for it; good bookstores will special-order a title for you.)

PFC Martin took a number of “backstage” photographs of the horses and riders coming and going. His role: to guard and protect the handlers.

The trainers were still technically prisoners of war, so my job was to guard them during the performance. Also, military protocol required that nobody else would be allowed to enter the holding area or mingle with the trainers.

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton

Lipizzan horses backstage, May 1945, ready to perform for General Patton, at St. Martin's, Austria.

(More photos to follow in next post.)

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