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ABE FRANKEL DIRECTOR OF FIRST AIR SERVICE BAND
(During WWI ~ 1916-1918)


Abraham Frankel, registered for the Draft May 25, 1917 at about the time that the United States entered World War I. He was stationed at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. He was appointed Master Signal Electrician, 145th Aero Squadron, Regular Army of the United States, April 1, 1918, at Kelly Field, So. San Antonio, Texas, by Capt. Edwin H. Frith, Commander of the 145th Aero Squadron. The first pilots came from the Army and were trained at Kelly Field. I know that many musical artists joined the military thinking that they would be fighting on the front lines, but were assigned non-combat duties. I would assume that some military bands and orchestras were organized overseas and/or were sent overseas.

Below this clipping is a short snippet of information about the history of Kelly Field and it's historical contribution as the first Flight training field with the start of World War I.

Abe Frankel Now Director of First Air Service Band Abe Frankel Now
      Director of First
           Air Service Band

After but two months' association with the First Air Service Band, the Flying Department's authorized musical organization, Sgt. Abe Frankel has brought the outfit up to the point of excellence that it has evoked much favorable comment from Colonel Clagett and other officers of the field.

Ever since he came to the field last December, Frankel has been active in musical circles here and up to the time he was made head of the Flying Department band, was director of the Kelly Field orchestra and assistant to John Weber, leader of the Kelly Field band. - - - - -

The article is partially missing from here down. I gather from parts of it that it tells about is career, education and work in New York before joining the service and that while he was a Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, he either participated in or directed many musical programs in San Antonio. This article is either from a local New York paper or most likely from a Military paper. 



DropCap by Jaguarwoman.comBOUT KELLY AIR FORCE BASE. Kelly Air Force Base, the oldest continuously operating flying base in the United States Air Force, is located at the southwestern edge of San Antonio. It is the largest single employer in San Antonio; in 1989 it had more than 25,000 military and civilian employees, and its payroll exceeded $721 million. Capt. Benjamin Foulois, the "father of military aviation," selected the site in November 1916 to expand the activities of the fledgling Aviation Section of the United States Army Signal Corps from Fort Sam Houston. The new airfield was named for Lt. George E. Kelly, who was killed in a crash at Fort Sam Houston on May 10, 1911. He was the first American military aviator to lose his life while piloting a military aircraft. The base was initially called Aviation Camp, then Kelly Field. When the air force achieved autonomy in 1947, the name was changed to Kelly Air Force Base

Flying activities began on April 5, 1917, and with America's entry into WWI grew rapidly. The facilities were divided into Kelly Number One, later to become Duncan Field, for maintenance and supply functions, and Kelly Number Two, devoted to flight training. The base served as a reception and testing center for recruits as well as a training center for almost all the skills required to operate an air force. Almost all of the combat aviators of World War I earned their wings at Kelly Field. At some point of their training most of the future leaders of the air force passed through Kelly Field. They included the later air force chiefs of staff Carl "Tooey" Spaatz, Hoyt Vandenberg, and Curtis LeMay; Charles Lindbergh earned his wings at Kelly Field, as did the famous "Flying Tiger" Claire Lee Chennault.qv In 1928 the Academy Award-winning film "Wings" was filmed at the base.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A Brief History of Kelly Air Force Base (Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, n.d.). San Antonio Express-News, May 23, 28, 30, 1993. Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.


See these links for more pictures and documents regarding Abraham Frankel:


Frankel, Abraham - Biography and photo of Don and his brother Robert
Frankel, Abraham - As a young boy age 6 or 7
Frankel, Abraham - Certificate of Completion from Conservatory of Music, Vienna, Austria
Frankel, Abraham - Musical America Clip
Frankel, Abraham - Show Bill
Frankel, Abraham "Don Leon" - Orchestra


Abraham Frankel in tree . . .

Last Updated  ~  August 29, 2013


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