Frank T. Searcy
Biography – Frank Thweatt Searcy was born on Oct. 8, 1896, in Cassville, Georgia. He ws the son of William H. Searcy and Elizabeth Catherine Maxwell and attended elementary and secondary schools in Cairo, GA. He continued his education with 3 years at the University of Georgia and some preparatory work at Marion Institute. At age 22, he entered into the United States Military Academy at West Point as a cadet. He was there from June 17, 1918, to June 15, 1920, when he graduated and was promoted to First Lieutenant. During his time at West Point, he was known as “The Old Campaigner” to his classmates and was thought to be a “natural born” soldier if ever there was one. From there it was off to Fort Benning, GA, for the Basic Course at the Infantry school, Sept 15 1920 to June 30, 1921. On August 25, 1921, he married Grace Higdon of Calvary, GA. He was one of the first graduates to be assigned to tanks, in the 15th Tank Bn. on July 1, 1921.
The following list of assignments is from the early years of his military service:
About 1922 to 1926 Ft. William McKinley, Philippines, 57th Infantry
Aug 29, 1926 to Nov. 27, 1926 On leave of absence and in route to Fort Sill, OK
Nov. 21, 1926 to July 1, 1927 At Ft Sill, OK with Company 20th Inf. on Special
Duty as Bn. Supply Officer.
Jun. 18, 1927 to Jun 21, 1927 Troop movement, Ft. Sill to Ft. D.A. Russell, WY
Jul 1, 1927 to Jan 4, 1928 At Ft. D.A. Russell, 20th Infantry
Jan 4, 1928 to May 31, 1928 With HQ Company, 20th Infantry
Jun 1, 1928 to May 20, 1929 Personnel Adjutant, 20th Infantry
No date Detached Service on border with 20th Infantry,
Apr 10, 1929 to May 17, 1929 Left Ft. D.A. Russell
May 21, 1929 to July 2, 1929 On leave of absence, en route to station
Jul 2, 1929 to ? Assistant Professor of Military Science and
Tactics, Clemson Agricultural College, SC
In addition to the above listed assignments, Frank served at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, Ft. Warren, Maryland, and the Panama Canal Zone. He was a student at the Command and General Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and pulled General Staff Duty at Third Army and Army Maneuver Headquarters.
In 1940 he was selected for the first tank destroyer battalion which would later be put in the 1st Tank Destroyer Brigade with General Herbert Earnest in January of 1944. In a report on the Operations of Task Force A, which was approved by General Earnest, it lists Col. Frank T. Searcy as the TFA executive officer. During the Brittany campaign, the loss of the 15th Cavalry’s commanding officer forced the transfer of the HQ 6th Tank Destroyer Group commander (Logan Berry) to take his place. Frank Searcy was then moved into Berry’s position with the 6th TD Group. Lt. Col. Cadenhead assumed Searcy’s duties with TFA. For his part in the Brittany campaign, Frank received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. He remained with the unit during their attachment to the XIII Corps (Ninth Army) and the difficult Roer-Rhine-Elbe campaign. During this time he also served as the XIII Corps anti-tank and security officer. He received the Bronze Star for distinguished and meritorious service during this time. He left the 6th to return to the 1st Tank Destroyer Brigade on May 19, 1945.
After the war, his assignments included Combat Command “A”, 5th Armored Division, Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and then back to General Staff Duty as G-1 (Personnel and Administration) Fourth Army, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. During that time he dealt with the difficult personnel problems of the early 1950’s. He received two commendations for superior performance of duty during this time and Commendations from the likes of General Leroy Lutes, General Alvan Gillem (XIII Corps) and General Robert Beightler during his career.
His last assignment was with the Military Aid and Assistance Group in Portugal in 1953. It was then, after 36 years of devoted service, he was forced to retire, due to a heart condition. He and his wife went back to their home state of Georgia and a life of bird hunting, fishing and prize plant gardening.
A passenger list from the ship Saturnia, has the couple leaving Lisbon in Portugal, on June 30, 1954, arriving in New York, on July, 1954.
He joined the Rotary Club in 1955 and worked with the local Community Chest and Red Cross in an effort to serve those less fortunate. A massive heart attack took his life on July 20, 1971. Colonel Frank Thweatt Searcy is buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Thomasville, GA.
Research – All the information I have on Frank Searcy came from two articles, both from West Point publications. One is his obituary and the other is an excerpt from some type of officer update. Both were courtesy of Bob Dawn who was a First Lt. and Platoon leader in the 15th Cavalry, which was part of Task Force “A” in Brittany. Bob was also a graduate of West Point.
Lonnie Gill’s book, Tank Destroyer Forces, lists Searcy as their commander but nothing else about him. I have found no listing for any children.