Raised in North Ogden, Franklin D. Maughan, Jr., better known as “Frank”, graduated from Utah State University with a dual major in political and military sciences. He completed ROTC, earning his 2nd Lieutenant commission and went on to training at Fort Knox, Kentucky with the US Army’s Armored 665th.
In 1966, Maughan volunteered for his first tour in Vietnam. Within 24 hours of his arrival, he was greeted with “It’s all yours,” by the officer he was there to replace and then told he had one day to figure out how to command a tank platoon. With less than a third of the requested tanks, armored personnel carriers, and troops, his outfit went on patrol of the main thoroughfare to Saigon becoming fully enthralled in battle against a full regiment of Viet Cong that morning.
While Maughan was with his one operational tank, along with the troop commander, out of nowhere, a blast knocked him sideways. Maughan shared that, “It came from a mortar round that had come right down the tank commander’s turret” and killed the commander instantly. As the battle raged for the rest of the day, the command was forced into a defensive perimeter for the night. In the early hours of the morning, Maughan realized two things, the enemy decided to flee in the direction of Cambodia and that he was the only platoon leader on the battlefield that was still alive.
The next day, General William Westmoreland arrived to award medals to Maughan and others that were present at the recent battle. At the end of the ceremony, Maughan was reprimanded by the troop adjutant for having his moustache out of balance. Maughan recalled trying to explain that he had only been in country 10 days and his gear hadn’t had time to catch up with him yet. Maughan completed a second tour in Vietnam participating in propaganda campaigns for the Psychological Operations Battalion.
Over the 28 years Maughan served in the military, he developed into an excellent communicator and gifted instructor that lead him to commanding a tank company, teaching at Officer Cadet School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, training cavalry troops with US Army Europe, and teaching ROTC at Brigham Young University. Captain Maughan’s final placement was directing community affairs and media relations at Fort Lewis, Washington.