Frank Schiel, Jr

Frank Schiel, Jr

Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Death 7 Dec 1942 (aged 25)
Burial Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA
Plot N-26C
Memorial ID 130458127 · View Source
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Member of the American Volunteer Group, known to the world as The Flying Tigers. Frank Schiel was recruited from the US Army Air Force and met with other volunteers in the Bellevue Hotel in San Francisco, California in late July, 1941. 28 AVG members (16 pilots & 12 ground crew) sailed from San Francisco aboard the Java-Pacific Lines ship BLOEMFONTEIN on July 24th. They would transfer in Singapore to the PENANG TRADER, a smaller ship. They docked at the Port of Rangoon, Burma on September 15th and traveled by train to the AVG's Keydaw airfield at Toungoo, where they arrived that night.

Schiel would fly with both the 1st and 2nd Squadrons of the AVG. He achieved the rank of Deputy Squadron Commander of the 1st Sqdn "Adam & Eves". AVG records show that he was credited with 7 enemy aircraft destroyed---he was an ace.

After disbandment of the AVG on July 4, 1942. Schiel remained in China and re-enlisted in the US Army Air Force; he was immediately promoted to the rank of Major. He was selected to command the 74th Fighter Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group under the command of Col. Robert Lee Scott, Jr. (who wrote "God is My Copilot"). The 23FG was assigned to the China Air Task Force (CATF) under the command of Brig. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault, the originator of the AVG.

Major Schiel was a most highly decorated aviator and his image appears in many of the Flying Tiger documentaries as he pins on his USAAF insignia (dark hair, mustache, big smile).

Excerpts from The Daily Courier (3/24/1996 - Prescott, AZ)
article by Mary Woodhouse:

In 1920 Frank's family moved to Prescott where they lived at
128 N. Summit Avenue. He loved the idea of flying and built many model airplanes. While in Junior HS Frank organized the Prescott Junior Aeronautical Club. While attending the University of Arizona he received an appointment to the US Mlty. Academy at West Point but he declined it as "he wanted to fly, not to walk".

He joined the Arizona National Guard, then the US Army Air Corps; he graduated from flight training at Kelly Field, Texas in 1939. As a flight instructor, he was recruited for the American Volunteer Group (AVG) in July, 1941. Schiel was known for his flying ability and uncanny sense of navigation. Col. Robert Scott noted that Schiel's work was "one of brains and cameras instead of guns and bombs".

He removed the guns and protective armor from his plane to improve its speed and range. Frank was also known for his trademark radio signal "Llego bueno" which, translated from Spanish, means "Arrived OK" at his destination. While returning from a long photo reconaissance mission, the Republic P-43 Lancer he was piloting crashed in bad weather in the mountains just north of Kunming, China. In the charred wreckage of his aircraft they found his turquoise & silver Zuni bracelet. He was buried in Kunming, but his remains were returned to his family and he was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott on Oct. 18, 1947.

Maj. Schiel was awarded 7 medals including the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He flew over 200 missions. (much information provided for the article by Schiel's sister, Lorrain Kawulok)

Note: Tex Hill's book describes Schiel's crashed aircraft as a F-4A (recon version of the P-38 Lightning). Schiel crashed on Pearl Harbor Day 1942.

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  • Created by: Tripp Alyn
  • Added: 27 May 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 130458127
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Schiel, Jr (30 Nov 1917–7 Dec 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 130458127, citing Mountain View Cemetery, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Tripp Alyn (contributor 47431564) .