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History Spotlight: "Meeting the World's Greatest Aviator"


 
Marine Clifford Frazier - Circa 1934-1935

When Marine Clifford Frazier was stationed to San Diego in the mid-1930s, he would have never expected to receive a close-up interaction with the Hollywood studios of Los Angeles, let alone a growing movie star.

Frazier would enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve in August of 1932 where he would be assigned to one of their Aviation Units; he would reach the rank of Gunnery Sergeant by September of 1934, quickly blitzing through the ranks. As Director Lloyd Bacon was planning the filming of his upcoming film "Devil Dogs of the Air", he approached US Naval Base San Diego for the principal photography in October, 1934. During the film's production, Frazier would receive the opportunity to meet various members of the film cast including one of the leading actors, James Cagney, the "World's Greatest Aviator" as his aircraft called him. It is unknown if GYSGT Frazier appeared in the film's final production of 90 minutes or flew in any of the film's aerial shots. One thing that is known, Mr. Frazier would proudly serve his country until 1957 when he would retire as a Chief Warrant Officer 2.

More information about his service and artifacts can be viewed in the Museum's Research Center by booking an appointment online or in person.

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