Born in New Jersey in 1926, Frank Slocum’s association with firepower began at Fort Monmouth where he sold newspapers to the troops. When he was 16, he moved to California to live with his aunt. There, he worked as a stock tracer helper for P-38 fighter planes at the San Bernardino Army Air Service Command Depot, later known as Norton Air Force Base.
At age 17 in September 1943, Slocum joined the Navy. He served in World War II on USS LSM-313 in the Asia-Pacific Theater. After the war, Frank and the ship served as occupation service in the Far East. In April 1946, Slocum left the Navy. In 1951 and 1952 he briefly served in the Army.
In 1955, Frank received his appointment to the Secret Service. At that time, the Secret Service was under the Treasury Department, so he began his career working counterfeiting cases. In addition to his Secret Service-issued Smith & Wesson Model 19 Combat Masterpiece in .357 Magnum, Slocum purchased a Colt Marshal revolver in California while assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office.
The Colt Marshal was made between 1954 and 1956. Chambered in .38 Special, only 2,500 of these revolvers were made during the brief period of their manufacture. Most were produced with four-inch barrels and a small number were produced with two-inch barrels.
Slocum’s revolver was the snubbie. Most of those had an “M” in the serial number, though this particular firearm does not – an anomaly found on only a handful of those produced.
Frank didn’t spend his entire career in the counterfeiting department. He soon moved on to more high-profile assignments. During his 20-year career with the Secret Service, Special Agent Frank D. Slocum provided security to five Commanders-in-Chief. It was with this Colt Marshal revolver that Slocum used to protect Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
Slocum wasn’t part of the presidential motorcade that fateful November day in 1963. He was 1,400 miles away working criminal cases in Los Angeles. That afternoon, however, he found himself standing on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
The Secret Service changed after Kennedy was assassinated. New protocols, equipment, and procedures were implemented. Slocum witnessed the paradigm shift firsthand over the next 12 years until his retirement in 1975.
During his career, Special Agent Slocum did far more than protect Presidents. He also provided security for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; King Tupou IV of Tonga; Prime Minister Mara of Fiji; Prime Minister Whitlam of Australia; Emperor Hirohito of Japan; Prime Minister Rowling of New Zealand; and Prime Minister Mata’afa of Western Samoa, among many others.
Despite all of the professional changes that occurred during his 20-year career involving five Presidential administrations, Special Agent Slocum’s Colt Marshal revolver remained a personal constant. The gun was in his possession for 56 years until he donated it to the NRA National Firearms Museum in 2011, where it is currently on display in the “Long Arm of the Law” exhibit. Slocum passed away in December 2014 at the age of 88.
(Firearm courtesy of NRA Museums)