FRANK01: The Meaning Behind the Callsign That Downed the Chinese Balloon

The two F-22 Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base involved in the downing of the Chinese ISR balloon had the callsigns “FRANK01” and “FRANK02,” which was named in honor of WWI pilot Frank “Balloon Buster” Luke Jr.

First Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr. was credited with 19 aerial victories, 14 of which were German balloons. His final flight was on September 29, 1918, where he destroyed three German balloons and engaged ground targets while he was being pursued by several German  aircraft over Murvaux, #France. He was mortally wounded by ground fire, which forced him to land in a nearby field. Luke exited his aircraft and opened fire on approaching German soldiers before succumbing to his wounds.Luke was the first airman awarded the Medal of Honor.

Photographs of the two F-22s returning to Langley AFB taken by @jetmanmatt on Instagram.