Frank V. Hokr was born August 1, 1924 in Cicero, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. His parents, Frank and Rose, were immigrants from Czechoslovakia, who had immigrated to the United States in 1918 just after the end of World War I.


Most of Frank's pre-school years were spent with his aunt and uncle and he grew up first speaking only Czech.  At the age of six, Frank's parents enrolled him in the Shakespeare Branch Elementary School, where he began to learn how to read, write and speak English for the first time.   His family then moved to Indiana where Frank attended the Pine Township Elementary School of Beverly Shores.  After his sophomore year the family started west and south along Route 66, settling in Los Angeles, California.  Frank enrolled in Manual Arts High School where his major was Electric Shop.  The emphasis was on Math and Science classes, especially physics and chemistry.  Frank graduated from high school in the summer of 1941.  Continuing his education he enrolled at Los Angeles City College in two engineering classes, Electrical and Radio engineering. This again meant more math courses.


December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, it meant a whole new kind of world was about to face young men around the world.  Frank was inducted into the Army December 8, 1942, one year after Pearl Harbor. They were taken by train to Fresno, a small farming town, located in Central California, where they were issued only the bare basics.  They all knew that "YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW!"


When Frank completed Basic Training, he was sent back to a real Army life at Santa Ana Army Air Base fondly remembered as SAAAB.  Through it all, there was the continual experience of marching, marching, marching.  It occurred to Frank that possibly they were just going to walk over the Japanese and Germans!


Frank was shipped 15th of September 1943 to Santa Maria, California to train at the Alan Hancock School of Aviation, Primary Flight School. He completed his last flight there on the 27th of September, with 68.45 hours in his logbook.  The second phase began October 1st with basic Flight School, at Marana, Arizona. Four days later, he was disappointedly washed out.  Frank and about 60 or 70 other EP's (eliminated pilots) traveled east to San Marcos, Texas  (2356th AFB) for the Air Corps Navigators School.  Upon graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant from Navigator School, and a leave home, Frank reported to Lincoln, Nebraska at the Classification Center where he was assigned to Combat Crew Training at Davis-Monthan AFB, then to Newport News, Virginia. It was there they learned they had been ordered to the 461st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force in Italy.  Frank’s crew realized that this would be the "Mother of All First Missions.”


Two hours into the mission the bomber formations began to encounter their first flak of barrages.  Their attacking fighters then immediately hit them from two directions.  Having no other choice, they were forced to bail out of the aircraft. This was a sad ending to his first bombing mission.  Frank was captured, interrogated at least five times and finally interned in Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany. The day was December 30, 1944.


Stalag 1 was a POW camp, detaining over 10,000 POW's.  Frank and his comrade’s liberation came with the arrival of Soviet Union troops.  On June 11 they boarded the SS General Buckner and arrived at Hampton Roads on the 20th of June 1945. Frank's last stop was Camp Patrick Henry.


The war over and discharge eminent, an Air Force recruiter persuaded Frank to retain his commission by joining the Air Force Reserve. He began weekend flight training, and was reclassified as a Bombardier-Navigator.  Frank’s outfit was combat ready when they learned that the North Koreans had just crossed the 38th parallel.  No more weekend warrior status.  His wing was consolidated with the 452nd Bomb Wing (L) and within 60 days were flying their first combat missions.  During that time, Frank flew 67 missions, including providing air support for General McArthur’s Inchon Landing, and close support to the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir.  His outfit also gave close support for the British troops at Kuna-ri as well as the Turks at Hagaru-ri. Upon completion of his tour in Korea, he was reassigned to the 6163rd Air Base Wing at Misawa, Japan.


In early August 1951, orders were cut to return stateside and Frank was reassigned to the Air National Guard Unit at Birmingham, Alabama.  A month before his discharge was scheduled, Korean veterans including Frank, were treated to a two-week combat training session in Temple, Texas.  Their schooling included night flights, bombing range and gunnery practice, as well as ground school reviewing of the Officer's Manual!  At this point Frank decided to opt out, resigned his reserve commission, and returned to his civilian life.


Frank became a commercial artist in the Los Angeles area.  In August 1950, he married a Fresno native, Lillian Maslowski who had attended Clovis High School just northeast of the city.  They had three children and eventually were blessed with six grandchildren.  Frank became a business partner in an Audio-Visual Production company in 1975, where he remained until his retirement.


Frank retired in August 1989, and in February 1990, he and Lillian moved from Southern California to Fresno.  Frank is currently active with American Ex-POW Post No.1 in Fresno. He also serves on the staff of the Legion of Valor Museum as an assistant to the Curator Ray Lee.  Frank enjoys his various assignments while working with the friendly museum staff.