Franklin Charles Shields
T/4 in Signal Co, Special : Radio B
Military occupational specialty: 740 (radio operator, intermediate speed)
Born 1921 in Austria
County of residence at enlistment: Delaware County, NY
Other residence(s): New York, NY (1950s, Martin spreadsheet); Shady, NY; Staten Island, NY; Hendersonville, NC
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: unskilled public service occupations, n.e.c.
College education before the war: SUNY Cobleskill, College of Agriculture and Technology 1 year
College education after the war: SUNY Cobleskill, College of Agriculture and Technology
Frank Shields was born Franklin Karl Schilz on August 1, 1921 in Graz, Austria. He was an only child, and his father was a businessman. At some point the family left Austria and went to England, and sometime before 1940 Frank's father emigrated to New York, leaving his wife and son in London.
Frank arrived in New York from London on July 1, 1940 and moved in with his father in the Bronx. In December of that year, he filled out the document to declare his intention to become a citizen.
He registered for the draft on February 14, 1942, indicating that he was a student at the New York State Institute of Agriculture (now SUNY Cobleskill, College of Agriculture and Technology). He completed his freshman year there, and then enlisted on November 4, 1942, becoming a part of the Signal Company Special. He had changed his name to Franklin Charles Shields between his draft registration and his enlistment. He saw service in Europe during the war where his German language skills were undoubtedly a plus.
He was discharged from the Army with the rank of T/4, and returned to Cobleskill, graduating with a degree in agriculture in 1947. He remained in upstate New York for a few years; his mother lived in Shady, NY and he was living in Shady in 1952, and serving as president of the Lower Hudson Alumni Association of the Agriculture Institute.
He married Brigitte Schalhorn in 1956 in Manhattan; she had emigrated from Germany to the US in 1952. They lived on Staten Island for some years and he served as an agriculture commissioner in New York and New Jersey, advising farmers on raising healthy dairy cattle. His obituary says that he described this job as a hobby that paid, because he so loved the work.
In retirement, Frank and Brigitte moved to Hendersonville, NC and he became an active member of the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville. Brigitte died in 2015 and Frank sold their home and moved to Carolina Village, a retirement community in Hendersonville. In 2018, his church honored him at a Veterans' Breakfast with a certificate of recognition and appreciation, acknowledging his unique service in World War II.
He died on April 29, 2020, at the age of 98.
College yearbook (see below)
1940 shipboard manifest, immigration
1940 citizenship, declaration of intent
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1947 college yearbook (click View/Open and choose 1947)
1952 article in the Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) re his alumni work with SUNY Cobleskill
1956 marriage record
1965 mother's obituary
1974 US public records index
2015 wife's obituary
2020 Find a Grave record
2020 Facebook page of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC which contains obituary