Col. Frank C. Caldwell USMC (ret.) was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He attended Davidson College, and joined the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA in 1942. He finished Marine Parachute School at Camp Lejeune, NC, and was assigned to the 1st Marine Parachute Batallion. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater in New Caledonia where he served as a Platoon leader, Executive Officer and Company Comander of "A" Company, Parachute Battalion. He saw combat action against the Japanese on Guadalcanal, Vella La Vella and Bougainville, in the British Solomon Islands.
After the Parachute Battalions were deactivated, he was assigned to join the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA, having been promoted to Captain and Commanding Officer of "F" Company, 26th Marines, 2nd Battalion (George Wahlen's unit).
His unit landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, February 19, 1945. For a single battle, his unit suffered the highest killed-in-action rate of any Marine Company in U.S. history. Near the end of the campaign, he continued to fight with no officers, and very few Sergeants remaining. He was one of, if not the only Company Commander to endure the entire Iwo Jima campaign without being killed or evacuated. For his efforts on Iwo Jima, he was decorated with the Navy Cross and Purple Heart.
During peacetime, he served at Marine Barrack, Navy Air Base in Glynco, GA, then spent two years as Marine Detachment Commanding Officer on the U.S.S. Little Rock (CL-92) He spent three years with the Testing and Educational Unit at Quantico, VA, and two years as a Marine Officer/Instructor for the N.R.O.T.C. Unit at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.
He served in Korea in 1953-54 as an Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. In 1954-55, he served at the Advanced Infantry Officer School at Fort Benning, GA. From 1955-1958, he was assigned as a Marine Officer/Instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He attended Senior School in Quantico, VA from 1958-59, and then became an instructor there until 1962.
He was assigned to the Operations Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters Marine Corps from 1962-63, then became Director of Marine Corps History from 1963-1973, when he retired with the rank of Colonel.
He received the following decorations, medals, badges, commendations, citations and campaign ribbons: Navy Cross, Legion of Merit, Navy Commendation, Purple Heart,Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/4*, WWII Victory Meal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, Korean Service Medal w/1*, U.N. Service Medal, Korean P.U.C., Navy and Marine Corps Parachute Insignia, National Defense Service Medal 2nd Award, Navy Unit Citation, Republic of Korea, War Service Medal (K.W.S.M.)
He currently resides in Virginia with his wife Peggy.
The author recognizes Col. Caldwell for his willingness to spend hours on the telephone discussing the painstaking details of combat operations on Iwo Jima. This information proved to be very valuable in the completion of the book.