Frank L. Burns
Frank Lee Burns (23 November 1939, Colby, Kansas – December 10, 2003, Georgetown, Texas) was a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served in Vietnam and, in retirement, became an information specialist.
Burns earned a B.A. degree from Central Michigan University (where he helped draft the 1962 Port Huron Statement, a political manifesto) and later earned a Masters degree in Criminology from Sam Houston State University.
As an Army officer, Burns served two tours in Vietnam (Silver Star, Bronze Star with 2 OLCs). He created the military recruitment slogan "Be All That You Can Be" in 1980 and was director of "Task Force Delta" (an ad hoc working group of 300 U.S. Army psychic adepts that met quarterly at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas) beginning in 1983. In the same year, Burns created the Meta Network (TMN), one of the first public online communities. TMN was one of the consortium of online communities and networks that banded together to form the Electronic Networking Association in 1985. It describes itself as being "dedicated to learning and creative freedom". Burns ultimately became president of Metasystems Design Group.
Burns was one of the first 100 hang glider pilots in the United States. He flew stunt kites with his wife Billye (nee Adams) to the delight of crowds of children at the Washington Monument and elsewhere. They moved to Georgetown, Texas (Billye's home town) in 2002.
Burns died at age 63 in Georgetown. His official military grave marker bears, as an "Emblem of Belief", the Buddhist "Wheel of Righteousness"; a civilian tombstone bears images of hang gliders.
- The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004), book describing some of Burns' activities with fellow officer Jim Channon.
- InfoWorld - 1991 11 4 p36 "Metasystems Design Group Inc., known for its Caucus conferencing software for PC and minicomputer ... true computer conferencing, such as subject matter indexing," said Frank Burns, president of Metasystems Design Group."
- H. Rheingold - The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier 2000 28 p286 "Another partner in MDG, Frank Burns, was Colonel Burns of the U.S. Army's delta force in the early 1980s, when I first met ... Before he retired to become a toolmaker for electronic activists, Burns came up with the army's highly successful recruitment slogan, "Be All That You Can Be." ..."
- Other sources, however, name Earl Carter (pen-name, E.N.J. Carter) — senior copywriter at the N.W. Ayer Advertising Agency — as the creator of the slogan. E.g., America’s Army by Beth Bailey, pp 191-192.
- Ronson, Jon (2004), The Men Who Stare at Goats; Simon & Schuster, pp 160-161 [pbk edition].
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