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Adapted from "Rear Admiral Frank B. Voris, United States Navy, Retired" [biography, dated 20 September 1971] in Biographies, 20th century collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • World War II 1939-1945
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Frank Burkhart Voris

27 April 1909 – 15 November 1986

Frank Burkhart Voris was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, on 27 April 1909, son of Dr. Henry McMunn Voris and Mrs. Marjorie (Burkhart) Voris. He received the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Illinois, at Urbana, in 1930 and 1933 respectively. For a year, July 1933-July 1934, he interned at Jackson Memorial Hospital and St. Francis Hospital, both at Miami, Florida, and from 1934 to 1936 he served as Resident Surgeon at the latter. Between 1935 and 1941 he was engaged in private medical practice in Miami Beach, Florida. 

Commissioned Lieutenant (jg) in the Medical Corps of the US Naval Reserve, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Rear Admiral, to date from 11 October 1966. On 15 July 1946 he transferred from the Naval Reserve to the Medical Corps of the US Navy. 

Reporting for active duty on 13 September 1941, he served as Junior Medical Officer at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, and in December 1941 transferred to the Naval Recruiting Station, Jacksonville, for duty as Recruiting and Medical Officer. Between March and July 1942 he attended a course in aviation medicine at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and upon completing his instruction, was designated Flight Surgeon. 

In July 1942 he was assigned duty afloat as Junior Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon aboard USS Sangamon, and in November 1943 joined Carrier Air Group THREE as Air Group Flight Surgeon, based successively aboard USS Kearsarge, USS Yorktown and USS Lexington. He was entitled to the Ribbon for a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded USS Yorktown and a similar award to USS Lexington. He continued to serve with that air group following the cessation of hostilities in August 1945, until June 1947. 

He had flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and was designated Naval Aviator upon completing the course in 1948. In August of that year he was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, as Senior Medical Officer, where he remained until December 1949. He next reported as Assistant Director of the Aviation Medicine Experimental Laboratory, Naval Air Material Center, Johnsville, Pennsylvania, and in August 1950 became Head of the Special Activities Branch, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, Washington, DC. While there he was one of nine volunteers who participated in a test during an atomic explosion in Nevada in March 1953. The only medical officer in the group, his primary concern was to evaluate the mental and physical reaction of the men in his trench, a half mile from the explosion. 

In August 1955 he joined USS Forrestal (CVA-59) as Senior Medical Officer and in December 1957 reported as Director of the Aviation Technical Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. In that assignment he also served as Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons for Aviation Medicine. From July 1961 to July 1964, he was Assistant Director for Research and Development, Aerospace Medicine Division, National Aeronautics and Space Agency, Washington, DC, after which he had duty as Special Assistant for Medical and Allied Sciences, Naval Material Command, Washington, DC. In July 1967 he became Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for Research and Military Specialties, Navy Department. 

He assumed duty as Fleet Surgeon on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet in July 1969 and was awarded the Legion of Merit. The citation follows in part:  In this assignment “…Rear Admiral Voris maintained a constant surveillance of all military medical department facilities in the Pacific to assure that United States military personnel continued the best possible medical care…”  On 1 May 1971 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy. 

In addition to the Legion of Merit and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two stars, Rear Admiral Voris had the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one battle star; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars (seven engagements); World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one star. In 1946 he was awarded the Selective Service Medal by the Selective Service System and also has the Founders Medal. He was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics John Jeffries Award for 1969, awarded for his contributions to medical research and development for the Navy and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He had done much work in establishing criteria and standards for manned spaceflights. 

Rear Admiral Voris died 15 November 1986.

Published: Wed Feb 27 15:51:38 EST 2019