Finding aid (Word)
Captain Thomas Franklin Pollock was born in Saticoy, California, on 8 August 1911. He attended Chaffee High School and Chaffee Junior College in Ontario, California, and the University of California at Berkeley. For eighteen months, during 1933 and 1934, he was employed by the General Electric Company in Ontario, California. From 1934 to 1935, he served with the Civilian Conservation Corps as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve, attached the 9th Corps.
Enlisting in the U.S. Naval Reserve in August 1936, Captain Pollock had elimination flight training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Long Beach, California. He was appointed an Aviation Cadet in the Naval Reserve in December 1936 and after flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, he was designated a Naval Aviator in January 1938. He was commissioned as an Ensign to date from 1 January 1938. He joined the Regular Navy in 1941, and continued to advance in rank to Captain, to date from 1 July 1956.
From February 1938 to February 1943, Pollock served with Patrol Squadrons 18, 13, 26, 102, and 101 operating from Pearl Harbor, San Diego, the Philippine Islands and the Java-Australia areas. In 1939, he participated in the mass flights of PBY squadrons to the Philippine Islands with Patrol Wing 10. After the loss of his aircraft by enemy action in 1941, he became a member of a Navy Bluejacket Battalion (Infantry) on Bataan. In January 1942, he escaped from Corregidor to Java on the submarine USS Seawolf and in April 1942, four days prior to the fall of the Philippines, flew a PBY seven thousand miles from Perth to Corregidor, and returned to deliver medicine and evacuate nurses and civilians. For these actions, he was awarded the Silver Star, and he earned the right to wear the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon awarded to Patrol Squadrons 101 and 102.
During the period of February 1943 to December 1944, Captain Pollock was the Officer-in-Charge of the Experimental Unit of the Headquarters Squadron, Fleet Air Wing 14, and Officer-in-Charge of the Air Unit at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, Inyokern, California. In 1943, he fired the first rockets from naval aircraft, including the 1,200 lb Tiny Tim and assisted in the development of magnetic detection techniques for antisubmarine warfare. He received a Letter of Commendation, with authorization to wear the commendation ribbon. He was also awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Government of Great Britain.
He was then the Officer-in-Charge of Air Support Training Unit 6 and as such developed air support tactics for amphibious operations in the Pacific. In July 1945, he assumed command of Air Support Control Unit #9, which, under his command, participated in the occupation of Japan. From January 1946 to May 1947, he was a student at the Naval War College and General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, and between June and September 1947, attended a refresher course in multi-engine aircraft at Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. He had Prospective Executive Officer/Prospective Commanding Officer training at Ream Field, Imperial Beach, California until November 1947. He then became Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron 4. As such, he completed the first aerial mapping survey of Southeast Alaska, covering over 50,000 square miles for the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. He received a special award for winning the Flight Safety Award for three consecutive quarters.
From June 1949 to July 1952, Captain Pollock was an instructor at the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in that assignment, participated in the early atomic tests at Desert Rock, Nevada. Following duty as Special Assistant (plans for atomic matters) to the Commander Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, he reported in February 1953 as executive officer of the escort carrier, USS Mindoro. After the carrier conducted early U.S. Marine Corps helicopter troop landing operations for the development of vertical envelopment concepts, Pollock was reassigned to the Staff of Commander, Carrier Division 16, as Operations Officer. In that post, he developed antisubmarine warfare tactics and advanced magnetic detection techniques and participated in the NATO antisubmarine warfare exercise CENTERBOARD critique in Lisbon.
He was Atomic Plans Officer on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, from February 1956 to May 1958, after which he served as Aviation Budget Officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. In that capacity he participated in Congressional appropriations committee budget hearings. In June 1959, he assumed command of USS Canisteo. In June 1960, he was detached to serve as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations to the Commander, Antisubmarine Defense Force, Pacific. On 19 October 1961, he reported as Commander, Fleet Air Wing 14 and in May 1963, he became Commander Fleet Air, Southwest Pacific. In March 1964, he joined the Joint Staff of the Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, with headquarters in Saigon and in March 1965, he was ordered to duty in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
In addition the Army Silver Star Medal, the Commendation Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two stars, and Order of the British Empire decoration, Captain Pollock earned the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon.
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of Captain Thomas F. Pollock consist almost entirely of documents collected by the Captain during his tour as the Assistant J-4 (Logistics) Officer with the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
The collection is organized in two series. Series I is a subject file, divided into separate folders on subjects relating to Captain Pollock’s time in Vietnam. The folders are in alphabetical order. Included are Pollock’s Index and General Information on his files, and his replies to Director of Naval History Rear Admiral Edwin Hooper’s requests for Pollock’s files.
Series II is a newspaper file. Included are Daily News Briefs, DOD/Commander’s Digests and Daily World News Roundups, all arranged in chronological order. Captain Pollock also kept clippings on specific events, such as the bombing of the enlisted quarters at Qui Nhon, the bombing of his office area, and the Montagnard issue. This series is arranged alphabetically by title.
This collection should be cited as Papers of Captain Thomas F. Pollock, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.
Subject Headings (LCSH)
United States. Navy--History--Sources.
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975.
Montagnards (Vietnamese people).