- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Frank A. Manson, 84, retired Navy captain

Frank Albert Manson, a retired Navy captain and veteran of World War II and the Korean War, died Jan. 20 from congestive heart failure in Culpeper, Va. He was 84.

Born Dec. 26, 1920, in Drumright, Okla., he received a bachelor’s degree in education from Northeastern State University in 1941. He participated on the university’s debate and tennis teams and taught high school.

After completing officer candidate school at Cornell University, he was commissioned in the Navy. Later, he attended the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

He is best known for his concept to use surplus Navy ships for peaceful purposes. His idea was captured in legislation and passed the Senate, and was the subject of the July 27, 1959, cover story of Life magazine: “A Bold Proposal for Peace: A New Kind of Great White Fleet.”

As a lieutenant, he served as communications officer aboard USS Laffey DD724 — nicknamed the “Ship That Wouldn’t Die” — when the ship was attacked by 22 kamikaze planes off Okinawa on April 16, 1945. The Laffey survived the most intensive and concentrated kamikaze attack against a single ship during World War II, and is enshrined in Charleston, S.C., at Patriots Point.

He retired from the Navy in 1968 after serving as chief of public information for the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic under Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, who later became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

For the past six years, he was the primary caregiver for his wife, Lee, who suffered major disability as a result of a stroke.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Orie Lee Pickren Manson of Fredericksburg, Va.; a son, Frank Karig Manson of Raleigh, N.C.; two daughters, Jennifer Joy Manson Wilson of Alexandria and Barbara Lynne Manson Wilson of Hollywood, Md; a sister, Anna Laura Manson Grelle of Fort Myers, Fla.; and 10 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughters Melanie Leigh Manson and Janice Celeste Manson.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. March 10 at the Fort Myer Post Chapel, with burial to follow at Arlington National Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the USS Laffey Association Work Party Fund, c/o Treasurer, Joe Folino, 960 Gary St., Turlock CA 95380.

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