CWO Raymond "Ironman" A. Frank

Unit: 160th Special Operations Regiment
Age: 45
Home Town: Monrovia, CA
Died On: 10/03/1993

CW4 Raymond A. Frank, 45--"Ironman" to his buddies for his iron will and determination to return to duty after sustaining serious injuries in a helicopter crash--was also a talented artist, seamster, golfer, pianist, carpenter and mechanic, said his widow, Willi Frank, of Clarksville, Tenn.

"He was just great at so many thing," she says. "He could play anything he heard on the piano," and would play for hours on the grand piano in their Clarksville home.

The Franks had been married for more than 20 years. Willi Frank says her husband was her best friend and confidant.

"He had blue eyes that seemed so wise and always laughing," she says. "He had a smile that...could melt the coldest heart."

They met on Willi's birthday at a bar where she worked. He had just returned from a tour in Vietnam. She waited on him and offered him a piece of her birthday cake. He declined and took her out to dinner instead after she got off work. They were married soon after, Willi Frank says.

In 1990, Raymond Frank was seriously injured in a helicopter crash at Fort Chaffee, Ark. His left leg was crushed and three vertebra were shattered. It took three surgeries to get him back on his feet, but he was determined to fly again.

"His flying skills in that incident saved the lives of seven other crew members," Willi Frank recalls. His determination to return to duty was an inspiration to other soldiers, she says. "He was totally dedicated to this country."

Raymond Frank was killed Oct. 3 after he was captured by Somalis when his aircraft was shot down over Mogadishu.