Odell, Franklin C. Jr.

Franklin C. Odell U.S. Army Air Corps WWII
Franklin C. Odell U.S. Army Air Corps WWII

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Date of Birth: 7/13/1921
Died On: 11/21/1988 Last Residence: 28570, Newport, Carteret, North Carolina
Street Address: 11 Elmn Place
Service Number: 8349463
Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Corps - Warrington DD-843, 2 Feb 1947

Veteran Code: USAAC-121

BIOGRAPHY Extended Information
Franklin C. Odell Jr

Franklin C. Odell Jr was born on July 13th, 1921 to parents Franklin and Evelyn Odell. Franklin lived at 11 Elm Place in Rye, New York (Street view) back when Rye was a small town with a population of 9,865. Franklin lived with his parents, an older sister, Winifred, and an aunt, Lucinda. Franklin's father owned their home and it was valued at $15,000 ($285,000 in today’s dollars).

Franklin attended Rye High School, class of 1939. He participated in many activities and achieved a few honors during school, including being a member of the National Honors Society, part of the Self-Reliant club, he participated in the plays “Growing Pains,” “China Boy,” won the 1938 Drama Award, was a secretary, played in the band, part of the Q.V. Club, was a stage manager, part of the Stagecraft Club, Drivers’ Club, and participated in the play “The Ivory Door.” After his graduation Franklin worked as a File Clerk for Turnance Brokerage. In the last week of March in 1940, he worked 44 hours and in 1939, he earned $200 ($3,800 in today’s dollars) and worked 17 weeks of the year.

Franklin enlisted into the US Army Air Corps in 1943. He served during WWII as a Sergeant in the 422d Night Fighter Squadron, the "Green Bats". On 14 July 1943, the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron was formed. Initially it was based in Orlando, FL before detachment during World War II, to the Ninth Air Force at Charmy Down, England.

During the run-up to D-Day the squadron flew with the Royal Air Force to flight against German nightly intrusions of UK airspace. This included the V-1 missiles! The 422nd was the first squadron in England flying the night fighter Northrop P-61, Black Widow. After D-day the squadron moved to Cherbourg - Maupertus, France, followed by Chateaudun, France and Florennes, Belgium. Main mission was air defense of allied liberated territory, intercepting Luftwaffe bombers and night flights. The 422nd also participated in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) in the Belgium Ardennes. Mission was nightly attacks on enemy troop movements and bridges. In April 1945 the squadron moved to Langensalza Germany and Kassel in May. After demobilization in Europe (September 1945) the aircraft were flown back to the US for storage or post war use in different interceptor squadrons. The 422nd was deactivated.

Sergt. Odell In Unit Awarded Presidential Ribbon In Germany Franklin had embarked overseas in December, 1943 and had served as a radio operator in England, France , Belgium and Germany and was a wearer of the European Theatre Ribbon with three campaign stars.

After the war he received an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Franklin was a self-employed engineer who designed pools and homes and other buildings. He also did consulting work for construction firms.

On Oct 13 1945 he married Joan Wiley at the United Methodist Church of Rye. The couple lived in Rye and moved to Mill Creek NC . While in Rye, Mr Odell was a parishioner of the United Methodist Church and a member of the Rye Rotary Club.

In North Carolina he and his wife started a “pick-your-own" blueberry farm which they operated until the time of his death. Mr Odell was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Newport (NC) Rotary Club, and St James United Methodist Church of Newport.

Franklin C Odell a former engineer whose family had lived in Rye since the 1600s died Monday, November 21st, 1988, at Graven Regional Medical Center in New Bern, N.C. He was 67 and suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

In addition to his wife he was survived by a son Franklin C Odell of Cullman Ala.; two daughter Shirley K Odell of Mill Creek and Barbara Watts of Chicago; a sister Winifred O Sherburne of Rye; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

John Melfi
RHS 2021

Sources: Rye High School Yearbook 1939 1940 Census Full Obituary Marriage Article

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