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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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FRANK CARLIN SUTTON

Frank C. Sutton, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Web)
Frank C. Sutton, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Web)

Frank Sutton landed once at Tucson, Monday, August 19, 1929. He flew an unidentified Boeing F2B. Based at San Diego, CA aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga, he arrived amidst nineteen other naval aviators, each signed into the Register on the middle third of page 112. Other than the first six who signed their own names, the rest were entered by an unknown hand all at once. Please direct your browser to the link and review page 112. There you'll see that signers Chourre through Wick comprise the group of twenty. They all remained overnight at Tucson, departing the morning of the 20th for El Paso, TX.

Photograph, right, from the link, probably taken during the 1940s. The nature of the link (a Weblog) suggests there may be no guarantee of link longevity. Therefore I have copied this portrait and other items below to preserve them on this page. If you find the link disabled, please let me KNOW.

What were twenty Navy pilots doing at Tucson all at once? They were on a grand cross-country flight headed from San Diego to Cleveland, OH and back to participate in the National Air Races (NAR) held August 24th-September 2nd at Cleveland that year. Lt. Cdr. Homer Wick was commanding officer of Squadron No. 1 based on the Saratoga.

Wick brought his entire squadron through Tucson on behalf of the NAR. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Navy ordered numerous activities by its personnel, ships and airplanes to build confidence in the naval force among the U.S. citizenry, to provide real-life training for personnel, as well as to encourage recruitment.

Sutton's job in the group was as section leader for the aerobatic team named the "Nine High Hats." Below, Sutton is circled and shown with the rest of his section (the two officers immediately behind him) and the entire 9-man team just three days before he landed at Tucson. Sutton also participated in event No. 21 of the NAR, the Navy Pursuit Race. It took place on August 30th and covered 100 miles in ten, 10-mile laps. According to the Aircraft Yearbook for 1930, sixteen navy pilots competed. Sutton placed third with an average speed of 126.5MPH. Please direct your browser to Wick's page to see a tabulation and identification of all the men in his squadron.

The "Nine High Hats," August 16, 1929 (Source: NHH via Bob Woodling)
The "Nine High Hats," August 16, 1929 (Source: NHH via Bob Woodling)

Sutton's service record is below. The first small image documents his service during WWI arom 1917-18.

Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Woodling)
Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Woodling)

The majority of the following chronology was compiled in 1945; the addendum on the fourth page traces his assignments through his retirement in 1953. His was a career of varied assignments, in peace and in war, in aircraft and on ships, and in offices on dry land.

Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)
Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1922 with a B.S. in Naval Science. He earned his Naval Aviator wings at Pensacola, FL during 1926.

Between 1935–1938, below, the squadron participated in Fleet Problems XVI through XIX, as well as XXI, which was the last major Fleet Problem conducted before U.S. involvement in WWII.

Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)
Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)

He was married to Miss Frances Alcott Richards of San Diego, CA, April 16, 1928. As a lieutenant in 1931, Sutton was Chief Flight Instructor, Primary Land Planes, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL.

From June 27, 1938 to May 28, 1940 Sutton commanded VA-35, designated Torpedo Squadron THREE (VT-3), based at San Diego Naval Air Station aboard the Saratoga. At the time, the squadron flew Douglas Devastator TBD-1 aircraft (known "affectionately" by pilots as "Torpeckers"). Previous Register pilots to command the squadron were Harry Bogusch (February, 1928-July, 1929), A.E. Montgomery (July, 1929-July, 1930), J.L. Cotton (March, 1931-June, 1931), J.J. Ballentine (July, 1931-December, 1932) and Harold Brow (May, 1933-June, 1934), one of the Navy pilots who accompanied Sutton in his landing at Tucson.

Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)
Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)

During WWII, Sutton commanded, from the time of its commissioning on March 2,1944, the U.S.S. Saginaw Bay, an escort carrier with a crew of 860. He and his ship were involved in the assaults on the Solomon Islands, and in the liberation of the Philippine Islands. Later they supported the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Saginaw Bay was decommissioned on June 19, 1946.

Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)
Frank Carlin Sutton, Service Record (Source: Web)

Sutton retired as a Rear Admiral, although this was an awarded rank conferred on him at the time of his retirement because of his preceding service record. However, he retired at the pay grade of a captain, the rank he acquired ten years earlier on May 15, 1943. Separately, his record was praised in a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, May, 1953, below.

Commendation Letter from Secretary of the Navy, May, 1953 (Source: Web)
Commendation Letter from Secretary of the Navy, May, 1953 (Source: Web)

Below, the paperwork for his separation from the Navy, June 30, 1953.

F.C. Sutton, Service Separation Form, June 30, 1953 (Source: Web)
F.C. Sutton, Service Separation Form, June 30, 1953 (Source: Web)

Frank Sutton was born September 25, 1898. He died circa 1985.

Frank C. Sutton, Obituary, Ca. 1985 (Source: Woodling)
Frank C. Sutton, Obituary, Ca. December, 1960 (Source: Woodling)

 

Obituary, left, alludes to his 36-year naval career and retirement in 1953 near Columbus, OH. He was divorced at the time of his death.

Besides his support of the Citizens for Humane Action, he is a member of the Benefactor's Circle of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. He enjoyed a long retirement. Rumor has it that he comitted suicide. Can anyone CONFIRM cause of death? How did he occupy his time during his 30-year retirement?

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 02/07/12 REVISED:

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Sutton to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

Some of the images come from the Naval History and Heritage Web site (NHH) via site visitor Bob Woodling. Thanks to Bob for help researching this page.

OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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