Frank Speer

Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Frank Speer enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and graduated from flight school in class 43-I. In March 1944, Speer was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group (formerly the Eagle Squadrons), where he soon became an ace.

He was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation.

While flying a P-51 Mustang near Poland, Speer was shot down and walked nearly 400 miles across northern Germany in an attempt to reach Denmark. He was captured after collapsing from exhaustion and lack of food.

Speer served 11 months in three different stalags, including being forced to participate in the “Death March” to Nuremberg. His third escape attempt was successful and, with help from group of French forced laborers, Speer and a friend captured 24 German soldiers and an officer.

He was discharged in 1946, but continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve until 1955. As a civilian, Speer has been a telephone engineer, an entrepreneur, a food service company manager and a real estate agent. He and his wife raised five successful children.

Speer is the author of three books about the 4th Fighter Group in World War II, including Wingman, The Debden Warbirds and One Down, One Dead. He is active in veterans’ organizations and in speaking to schools, libraries and civic organizations.

He was a featured speaker for an Ohio school district and also addressed the Cadet Corps of the Valley Forge Military Academy. Speer has also been featured in the Reading Air Show briefing room and the Wings Over Frederick Air Show.