1Lt. Frank V. Rakela, ASN 19187934

B-24 Pilot

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 9th & 493rd Bombardment Squadrons

Enlisted 10 Dec 42   Honorable Discharge: 20 Dec 45

Distinguished Flying Cross    Air Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster

Presidential Unit Citation    Good Conduct Medal



(Image/Info Courtesy of Rakela Family)

Lt. Frank V. Rakela, Remembered

Frank V. Rakela was born on September 28, 1922 in Sacramento, California to Yerka and Matthew Rakela, who had immigrated from Croatia to Ellis Island in America. Frank grew up in Marysville where he lived with his younger sister, Rose Mary and his parents. He went to Notre Dame Catholic School where he excelled academically. Frank also played on the football team and became a violinist. As a teenager he performed in an orchestra and played second violinist. Frank went to the University of California Berkeley and graduated with a Master's degree in Business and became a civil engineer.

When WW11 started, Frank enlisted in the Army of the United States in 1942 at 20 years of age, where he became an airplane pilot in The United States Air Force. After training in the United States, he was stationed in Burma and India, performing 52 bombing missions in two years. Frank V. Rakela was First Lieutenant in the 7th Bombardment Group, which flew planes over the Himalayas. Frank flew a B-24 plane.

Frank V. Rakela received two Battle Stars, two Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Good Conduct Ribbon, and a Presidential Citation. Frank received an honorable discharge on December 20th, 1945.

Returning to Berkeley, Frank acquired a job at the California Department of Transportation, where he worked for over 40 years. Frank met his first wife, Mary Udjur at UC Berkeley and they were married in 1948 in San Pablo, California. They had six children and they all lived in Yuba City, California. After separating in 1972, Frank met and married Virginia Brasfield, who had three children. They established a residence in Sacramento, California

At Caltrans, Frank oversaw the building of two freeways, Interstate 50 and Interstate 80. At 92 years old, after many complications, Frank Vidodrag Rakela passed away on February 8th, 2015. He will be greatly missed as he was a truly humble and honorable man, and a wonderful father.


493rd BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel

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