Frank J. Cristando was born May 18, 1922 in New York City to Delfio and Lena Cristando. The family moved to Hollis, a smaller community in Queens, a part of New York City. Two siblings, a brother John and a sister Sophie were born in Hollis. The children attended elementary school in Hollis, and Frank graduated from Andrew Jackson High School. He had been attending New York University for only a year when Uncle Sam beckoned, and November 28, 1942, found Frank in the US Army at Camp Upton near Long Island, NY.

Frank completed basic training in Miami Beach, Florida, and was then transferred to Hammer Field in Fresno, California. He served for several weeks at Hammer Field, before being transferred to a Signal Corp Camp at Camp Pinedale just outside of Fresno, and was designated a Cryptographic Technician.

Frank served one year and twenty-four days stateside before being transferred to the China, Burma and India Theater of Operations. He was stationed at Army Air Corp Headquarters at Hastings Mill, about ten miles north of Calcutta, on the Hoogly River. He served as a cryptographer and communications center leader. Frank returned to the United States at the conclusion of World War II on the ship U.S. General Muir, January 10, 1946, and was discharged January 14, 1946 as a Technician Third Grade. He continued his education at Fresno State College, earning a BS Degree in Business.

When he was stationed at Camp Pinedale in 1943, Frank met his future wife Virginia Christa. They were married June 16, 1946 in Fresno, California and have three children, Ronald, Linda and Frank Jr. They have blessed Frank and Virginia with six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Frank became interested in the Veterans Memorial Museum, “Home of the Legion of Valor” through a good friend who was volunteering as a docent. At that time, the museum was open to the public only a few days a week, but were attempting to open on a daily basis. Consequently, Frank was asked to help accomplish this by joining the museum staff. Frank began as a docent of the museum in 1994, and hopes to continue as long as he is able. He thoroughly enjoys sharing the history afforded our community through the many artifacts and weapons displayed throughout the museum. As a docent, Frank provides a precious glimpse into our nation’s military history to the youth of our area and to the museum’s many visitors.