Frank Clements Acker was born in Peekskill, New York, on 7 July 1909, son of Frank and Miriam C. (Gallagher) Acker. He attended Lincoln High School in Jersey City, New Jersey and Night School at New York University prior to his appointment to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in June 1928. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 2 June 1932, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from 1 January 1951.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1932, he was assigned to USS Chester (CA-27), in which he served in various capacities as a junior officer until December 1935. In January 1936 he reported to the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, and when detached in June of the same year, was ordered to USS Bonita, on the West Coast. He served as Assistant First Lieutenant and Commissary Officer on board that submarine until December 1936, after which, from February 1937 to April 1939, he was Engineer Officer and Executive Officer of USS S-37, operating in the Philippines and China, with one cruise to the Dutch East Indies.
During the period May until September 1939 he studied French at the University of Tours, at Tours, France, then returned to the Naval Academy where he was a French Instructor until June 1940. From June 1940 until May 1941 he served as Executive Officer of USS R-3, operating on the East Coast and Panama, and the next year served as Personnel Officer, First Lieutenant and Base Defense Officer at the Submarine Base, Coco Solo, Canal Zone. In July 1942 he assumed command of USS S-15, also based on Panama, and after a year in that command, commissioned USS Pomfret at Portsmouth and commanded her during two war patrols in the Pacific before his detachment in October 1944.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, with Combat "V," "For meritorious service as Commending Officer of the USS POMFRET, during the Second War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters of the South China Sea and the Luzon Straits, from September 10 to October 25, 1944..." The citation continues: "Courageous and determined although handicapped by serious illness, Commander Acker succeeded in penetrating alert enemy surface escorts to launch a well planned and brilliantly executed torpedo attack which resulted in the sinking of a Japanese freighter and the infliction of extensive damage on another hostile vessel...He withdrew his gallant ship undamaged from the field of combat and returned her safe to port...(serving) as an inspiration
to his intrepid officers and men ..."
From November 1944 throughout the remaining period of World War II and until November 1945 he was Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Squadron 20 in the Pacific. Upon his return to the United States he was ordered to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, where he completed the Command and Staff Course in June 1946 and served on the Staff (Plans and Undersea Warfare) and completed the Senior Strategy and Tactics Course in May 1948. From June of that year until August 1949 he was attached to the Second Task Fleet, in Plans (Undersea Warfare) and as Flag Secretary on the Staff.
A student at the Armed Forces Public Information School, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from August to November 1949, he was graduated fourth in a class of 76 members. In December 1949 he was designated Deputy Director of Training for the Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, and engaged in lecture work at various places including the Air War College. In August 1952 he became Commanding Officer of USS Ajax (AR-6), operating in the Far East (Japan and Korea). He received a Letter of Commendation with Commendation Ribbon from the Commander SEVENTH Fleet "For meritorious service (in that command) in the performance of duties vital to the support of the U. S. Seventh Fleet and other naval forces in the Korean Area from October 3, 1952, until June 22, 1953..."
Returning to the United States in September 1953, he was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, Navy Department, where he had administrative duties for approximately two years. In May 1956, he took command of USS Monrovia (APA-31), operating primarily in the Mediterranean. During his year of command MONROVIA won the Battle Efficiency Pennant and Amphibious Force Battle Readiness Plaque. He received a Letter of Commendation from Commander Amphibious Force, US Atlantic Fleet for "leadership and outstanding performance of duty" in achieving the Battle Efficiency awards. In June 1957 he became Commanding Officer, Naval Administrative Command, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V," and the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Acker had the Submarine Combat Device; the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal (Asian Clasp); China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; and United Nations Service Medal.