Francis Marmen

Francis Marmen


By Ruby Woods-Robinson, M.S.L.S.

Francis “Pete” Marmen was born in Salem, Massachusetts, 9 December 1932. Pete was the fourth of five siblings born to Demetrius and Marie Marmen. Francis attended school in Salem, Massachusetts.

Master Sergeant Marmen joined the Air Force January 3, 1950. He did his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Straight out of Basic Training with the impending Korean War, he and many of his classmates were shipped to Fairbanks, Alaska. At that time they were building up the bases in Alaska. Francis was assigned to Explosive Ordinance Disposal. EOD was created in 1950, and Francis’s group mainly had on the job training. They were put on a Troop Ships and away they went. His unit was inspecting all of the munitions left over from WWII for corrosion, these were inspected in lots, a given percentage of each lot had to be inspected. If a certain percentage of that lot was found to have corrosion then a larger percentage of that lot had to be inspected; if more corrosion was found the munitions would have to be destroyed. Bombs were exploded, Small Arms disposed of by burning. If a lot was found to be acceptable, a portion of what had been inspected and was found satisfactory would be fired. Today’s military has newer procedures. While in Alaska for two years Francis worked on the Aleutian Islands and in Korea.

In 1952, Francis left Alaska and was assigned to Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Assigned to the first Pilotless Bomber Squadron. Francis and his friend Fred Day reported in and unless they would extend their enlistment they couldn’t stay in the Squadron, because this Squadron was leaving for Germany. Neither Fred or Francis extended so they were assigned to run the Firing Range and the Skeet Range.

Francis did not like the job, so he volunteered for a special project, not knowing what it was. In due time he received orders assigning him to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico to work with “Project Oerlikon”, no one knew what this project was, especially Francis. At this point Francis decided to get out of the Air Force.

However, on March, 1955 with unemployment being high Francis decided to reenlist and was sent to Keesler Air Force Base to go through Airborne Radio Operator School. From there he was sent to McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, California. Here he was assigned to 965th Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron. From here off to Tachikawa Air Base, Japan to the 6th Troop Carrier Squadron. This Squadron worked all over Asia. From Tachikawa, he was assigned to Yokota Air Base to the 56th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (also known by its nickname, Hurricane Hunters), is a flying unit of the United States Air Force, and "the only Department of Defense organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes." The 56th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron were the Typhoon Hunters of that day. After two years in this Squadron he was reassigned to Dow Air Force Base, Bangor, Maine. He attended B52 Gunnery, Ground Phase at Castle Air Force Base, Merced, California. Then on to Walker Air Force Base, Roswell, New Mexico for the Flight Phase. Many of his assignments do not exist today as a career nor are the Bases in existence.

In 1966 Francis had to give up flying because of ear problems. Again in 1966 he was reassigned to Keesler to attend Ground Equipment Radio Repair, and from Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, he went to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska. Here he was assigned to the Ground Electronic Engineering Installation Agency (GEEIA) as NCOIC of the Radio Shop. He enjoyed this work which included installing Electronic Equipment at remote sites in Alaska. After three years he was assigned to Havre Air Force Station in Montana. Finally, he decided retirement looked good, and off he went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In 1973 he moved to Lakeland, Florida until 29 December 2012, when he moved to the most wonderful retirement facility in the world, “Armed Forces Retirement Home-Gulfport”.

Francis is proud father of two girls, Carol and Christine. Each has children. One grandson, Matthew will graduate from High School at the end of May. His other grandson, Morgan, graduated from Central Florida University last June 2012 and his granddaughter Casey is in her third year at Central Florida University. His lovely wife Chiyo passed March, 2006.