The Story of a Pistol

To keep in touch with you and keep the recipes coming, I have decided to write about a few of my favorite guns. I did have a number of stories planned around trips and trade shows, but they were all cancelled. I did chase some turkeys late in the season, but I had no luck there. We did have some great hunts and saw plenty of birds, though.

I love 1911’s. They are one of my favorite pistols. I had the opportunity to pick up a beautiful military-issued 1911 a number of years ago. Anytime that I pick up an old military weapon, I wonder about the story behind it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that history is lost. This weapon is different. The story of this pistol can be told.

Black and white photograph of Frank T. Happy in military uniform.

Frank T. Happy was born in Dayton, OH, in 1923. He and his brother John both entered military service during World War II. They both became pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Frank saw extensive service in the Pacific in New Guinea, the Philippines , etc. He flew the Douglas A-20 Havoc. He was a member of the famed 312th Bombardment Wing, also know as the “Roaring 20’s”.

The 312th Bombardment Wing .

His wife Sue was the inspiration for the nose art on his plane, “SWEETEST SUE”. She passed away along with their child during childbirth.

Frank T. Happy posing with his plane, which has nose art reading "Sweetest Sue."

He continued on with his military career, participating in the Berlin Airlift and other theaters. He was awarded at least 5 medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross and several Air Medals, all the while carrying this incredible 1911 pistol.

After retiring from the military, Frank became an air traffic controller. He worked his way up in the Federal Aviation Administration, becoming a regional director. He passed away in 1985 from cancer. I didn’t know Frank, but I think about him every time I hold this pistol. His memory lives on with this 1911.