At 99 years old, World War II Veteran, Frank Wright, was finally in attendance for his first San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday, January 28th. This was a National Football Conference Championship game and they honored Mr. Wright. The 49ers playoff game was one to remember for Frank.
Who Is Frank Wright?
Frank was born in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. The year was 1942, and Frank completed basic training bootcamp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Francisco, California. This is where Frank’s love for the 49ers and his dream to attend the 49ers playoff game began.
After bootcamp Frank fought battles through the Pacific Theater in World War II. One of the battles Frank fought in was the Battle of Iwo Jima where he witnessed the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. The flag raising in that location is now symbolic for victory within the American Armed Forces.
Next, Frank was assigned to a unit led by President Roosevelt’s son. He was now in the 4th Marine Raiders Unit out of Camp Pendleton. While fighting, Frank traveled between 11 islands on different Navy ships, got struck by a bayonet in the stomach in Guam, and was shot in the arm and the chest by a machine gun in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Finally, Frank’s service as a Marine drill instructor came to an end and he was given the pleasure of training new recruits.
Wright Is One of Many Purple Heart Recipients
The Purple Heart award is given to service members who were wounded or killed in enemy action while serving in the United States military. Purple Heart recipients are service members who have sacrificed themselves while in the line of duty.
Frank was given not only the Purple Heart award with the Presidential Unit Citation, but also the Navy Unit Commendation, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with three service stars, the Fleet Marine Force with four stars, the Marine Corps Expedition Medal, the Combat Action with four stars, the Victory Medal and finally the Good Conduct Medal.
Receiving Recognition During the 49ers Playoff Game
There were 71,000 people cheering in the stands as Frank stood in the end zone in his dress blues. When discussing the San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs game, Frank said “ I had a good time. It was a great game in the second half. The first half was weak to me and the crowd. But the coach told them what-to and made them stand in a corner, I guess.”
When the first half of the game ended, the 49ers were down 24-7. They came back strong in the second half and did not let Frank down. The 49ers were leading with a ten point advantage leaving the score 34-24. In the 4th quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers game the 49ers triumphed 34-31. They are now heading to the Super Bowl in Vegas to have a rematch against the Chiefs.
Frank was thankful for the gratitude and compassion shown during the 49ers playoff game. This was not the first time Frank was recognized at a sporting event. He recently threw out the first pitch at the Stockton Ports game. When Frank is not at sporting events, he can be found working on his second book about his military endeavors.
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