Col. Tut was one of the good guys

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Greenville lost one of the good guys Saturday.

Col. James Fisher Frakes passed away at the age of 93.

If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because you probably knew him simply as Tut.

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He was kind, inquisitive and unassuming. He was quick to flash a smile, and even quicker to make a friend. He had a great laugh and truckload of stories that would keep his listeners on he edge of their seats.

He was also a genuine American hero.

Col. Tut was a distinguished World War II veteran, who upon graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point was commissioned in the Army Air Corps, and went immediately to the European Theater where he would fly 52 combat missions with the 34th Reconnaissance Squadron, including a flight over Normandy on D-Day. He served in the European Theater until the Germans surrendered in May of 1945.

But Col. Tut’s service to his country didn’t end there. The Columbia, Tenn., native would go on to serve as assistant athletics director at the Air Force Academy, as Base Commander of Wheeler Air Force Base in Hawaii, as a member of the faculty of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, and as head of the Air Force ROTC program at Georgia Tech before finally retiring from the Air Force in 1970.

That’s quite a career by any stretch.

But the true measure of anyone’s life isn’t in the titles held at work or in awards earned, it’s in the impact that person makes on others.

Col. Tut impacted many.

As an airman he impacted countless people he never met by bravely defending their freedom.

As a Rotarian, and a Paul Harris Fellow, he impacted thousands worldwide through his contributions toward helping eradicate polio. Right here in Butler County he impacted those in need by helping provide them with coats to keep them warm on cold winter days.

And those were just the folks that didn’t get the privilege to actually meet Col. Tut.

If you knew him, I feel sure he impacted you.

I know I was impacted by his humility, his willingness to serve and his genuine concern for others.

Having the chance to share lunch with Col. Tut at Rotary Club was a highlight of my Thursdays.

He will certainly be missed by many.

Greenville lost one of the good guys on Saturday.