Benis Frank: Marine Corps Historian And Veteran (Obit.)

Historians in the News

Benis M. Frank, 82, a Marine Corps chief historian who started the military branch's oral history program, died March 10 at Prince George's Hospital Center. He had congestive heart failure.

Mr. Frank, a Bowie resident, was a Marine Corps veteran of World War II and the Korean War and rose to the rank of captain in the Marine Corps Reserve.

After a career in sales and teaching, he joined the Marine Corps as a civilian in 1961. He worked in the History and Museums Division at headquarters and started its oral history section in the early 1960s. He was chief historian from 1991 until retiring in 1997.

Among his books were "A Brief History of the 3d Marines" (1962), "Okinawa: Touchstone to Victory" (1970), "Halsey" (1973) and "U.S. Marines in Lebanon, 1982-1984" (1987).

Of the last book, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote it was an "extremely enlightening and useful history of the corps' 18-month experience in Lebanon -- as the marines themselves saw it. . . . It is not only a valuable short history, but also a gold mine of raw material for anyone who might want to write about this misadventure."...
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