Frank L. Carran
Biography: Frank Louis Carran was born on February 10, 1924. He was the son of Louis Carran and was a resident of New Castle, Pennsylvania. He attended local schools through the 9th grade. To help support his parents and siblings, Frank took a job with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
Service Time: Frank entered the service on March 23, 1943, in Erie, PA. He was assigned to Company A of the 672nd Tank Destroyer Battalion and joined the unit while it was stationed at Fort Ord, California. The unit was re-designated as the 672nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion on April 15, 1944. They moved to Camp Stoneman, CA, and completed final preparations for shipment overseas. Their ship left from the San Francisco port on September 23, 1944. The unit landed at Bougainville Island, in early October 1944, and participated in the assault of the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Phillipines, and supported the drive south to Manilla.
A photo brought home by Frank identified that William Bigelow, of Altoona, PA, was his assistant driver and radio operator during their time overseas. The unit used LVTs, which stood for Landing Vehicle – Tracked. Each of the vehicles was equipped with a combination of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns. Frank’s LVT was named the “King Cobra”.
While attached to the 11th Airborne Division, the 672nd captured the Los Banos Prison Camp and freed the civilians held there. Moving to Morotai Island, they were attached to the 1st Austrailian Division in June of 1945. Portions of the unit participated in the assault landing, at Balikpapan, Borneo, on July 1, 1945. The 672nd shipped back to the U.S., arriving on December 24, 1945. They were deactivated that same day at Camp Stoneman. Frank was discharged at Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the rank of Technician 5th Grade. He received the WWII Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, Good Conduct Medal and he shared in the unit’s Presidential Unit Citation, which was only recently approved. Frank did remain in the reserves, after the war.
The image above left was probably taken late in the war or after hostilities had ceased. The right image is a portrait of Frank done after the war.
Frank returned to New Castle and worked for the Shenango China Company. He was married on November 9, 1946, and enjoyed hunting, fishing and reading in his spare time. He was also an active member of the First Christian Church, in New Castle. Frank passed away on January 2, 2001, and was buried in the Mount Jackson United Presbyterian Cemetery. Frank’s name is included on a memorial, erected after the war, by the Lawrence County Veterans Council. A new plaque was installed in 1979, which reads “To All Who Served Their Country Honorably in the Armed Forces of the U.S.A.”
I want to thank Frank’s son, Art, for providing the photos and information for this tribute along with additional materials on the 672nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion.