Manson, Frank A. (1920-2005)
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on six interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell from December 1987 to April 1988. The volume contains 361 pages of interview transcript plus an appendix and a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2014 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.
Of particular interest in this oral history was Manson's close association with a number of four-star admirals whom he discussed candidly: Louis Denfeld, Forrest P. Sherman, Robert B. Carney, Arleigh A. Burke, Harold Page Smith, Harry Don Felt, Robert L. Dennison, David L. McDonald, John S. McCain Jr., and Claude V. Ricketts. Manson was commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1942 and went through the naval training school at Ithaca, New York. In 1943-44 he was part of the staff of the Boston Representative of Commander Destroyers Atlantic Fleet. He had combat experience in the crew of the destroyer Laffey (DD-724) in 1944-45. Shortly after World War II, he was selected as a public information specialist and augmented into the regular Navy. He served in the late 1940s on the Secretary of the Navy's Committee on Research on Reorganization (SCOROR) and participated in the writing of volumes of the Battle Report about the Navy's combat operations in World War II—as well as a later Battle Report volume on the Navy in the Korean War. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he served as speechwriter to CNOs Louis Denfeld and Forrest Sherman. From 1951 to 1953 he was historian at the foundation of NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe (CinCSouth) and from 1953 to 1956 served as speechwriter for two Chiefs of Naval Operations, Robert Carney and Arleigh Burke. From 1956 to 1958 he was head of Plans and Policies Analysis, Office of Progress Analysis, in OpNav. He was coauthor, with Commander Malcolm Cagle of the 1957 book The Sea War in Korea. As a student at the Naval War College, 1958-59, he developed a "White Fleet" concept for the humanitarian use of Navy ships. In 1959 Life magazine published a cover story on his idea. From 1959 to 1963 Manson served as public information officer for CinCNELM in London, in 1963-64 served in the Navy’s Office of Information (Chinfo), followed by duty in 1964?68 as public affairs officer for NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLant). His final tour of active duty, in 1968, was as head of the book and magazine section of the office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). His post-retirement activities in the foreign relations field were on behalf of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.