Frank Wead

Frank Wead

Naval Aviator
Born 24 AD

Frank Wilbur "Spig" Wead was a U.S. Navy aviator turned screenwriter who helped promote United States Naval aviation from its inception through World War II.

related links


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Frank Wead.


1895 Birth Frank Wilbur Wead was born to Samuel De Forest Wead and Grace (Bestor) Wead on 24 October 1895, in Ward No. 5 of Peoria Township, Peoria, Illinois. … Read More


1912 16 Years Old On 16 July 1912, Frank Wilbur Wead (aged 16) was admitted into the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1916. … Read More


1916 20 Years Old 1 More Event
Following graduation from the Naval Academy and leave, Wead reported to his first sea-duty assignment, on 28 June 1916.
1917 21 Years Old 1 More Event
Wead was next assigned to on a cruise from San Francisco, departing 25 April 1917. … Read More
Wead received a permanent promotion to lieutenant (junior grade) on 3 June 1919 (as of 1 January 1920, he remained in the temporary rank of lieutenant).
1920 24 Years Old 1 More Event
Wead was designated a United States Naval Aviator on 17 April 1920; his wife, Minnie "Min" Wead, pinned his golden wings to his uniform.
1921 25 Years Old 1 More Event
On 21 April 1921, a newly promoted Lieutenant Frank Wead reported aboard USS Aroostook (CM-3), homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. … Read More
The experience gained aboard USS Aroostook involving F-5-L flying boats was instrumental in Wead being selected as commanding officer of Combat Squadron No. 3 (re-designated, Fighting Plane Squadron 3, on 17 June 1922), U.S. Pacific Fleet; he served in this capacity for over a year until the spring of 1923. … Read More
During the period 22–23 June 1924 just off-shore of NAS Anacostia, Wead and Lieutenant John Dale Price, using a Curtiss CS-2 with a Wright T-3 Tornado engine, set new Class C seaplane records for distance (963.123 miles), duration (13 hours 23 minutes 15 seconds), and three speed records (73.41 mph for 500 kilometers, 74.27 mph for 1000 km, and 74.17 mph for 1500 km).


In early April 1926, Wead received a naval message at his headquarters, NAS North Island, that he was selected for promotion to lieutenant commander; promoted ahead of his fellow naval aviators Class of 1916; and, one of the Navy's youngest squadron commanders. … Read More
1927 31 Years Old During spring 1927, in the hope that his recovery was imminent and with the strong recommendation from Commander Marc A. Mitscher, Rear Admiral Moffett submitted Wead's name to Rear Admiral Richard H. Leigh, Commander, Bureau of Naval Personnel, recommending Wead to be the new squadron commander of VF-6B (previously, VF-2) with duty aboard USS Langley.
1928 32 Years Old However, Wead was placed on the retired list, 28 May 1928 with a residence of Los Angeles, California. … Read More


1941 45 Years Old In the hours immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, from the library within his rented estate in Beverly Hills, Wead listened as bulletins interrupted regularly scheduled radio programs with updated details of the bombing. … Read More
1943 47 Years Old 1 More Event
The story of Wead's sea-duty during World War II began in the air flying from Port of San Francisco and landing at Honolulu Harbor aboard NC18605 Boeing 314 Clipper Dixie Clipper, arriving at Oahu Island on 21 November 1943. … Read More
1944 48 Years Old …  Wead was relieved of active duty on 21 July 1944, and was processed through the Personnel Department at NAS Alameda receiving his discharge papers and a train ticket for Los Angeles, California.
1945 49 Years Old Wead was placed on the retired list on 11 May 1945 with the rank of commander. … Read More


1947 52 Years Old Frank Wead entered Santa Monica Hospital on 1 November 1947 for surgery and died on 15 November in Los Angeles, California. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.