Navy hospital corpsman killed by insurgents during convoy attack
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    Unhappy Navy hospital corpsman killed by insurgents during convoy attack

    Navy hospital corpsman killed by insurgents during convoy attack
    MCB Hawaii
    Story by: Sgt. Joe Lindsay

    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, HawaiiNANGALAM, Afghanistan - Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fralish, 30, a Navy hospital corpsmen assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from New Kingstown, Pa., was killed in action Feb. 6 northwest of Mehtar Lam in the Laghman Province of eastern Afghanistan when his convoy came under attack by enemy insurgents.
    Fralish, an Iraq veteran and 1994 graduate of Cumberland Valley High School, died at the scene.

    “We were on a patrol in the Gonepal Valley when the ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia) attacked us,” said 2nd Lt. Austin Fletcher, Alpha Company Platoon commander, 2nd Platoon, 1/3. “HM3 (Hospital Corpsman third class) Fralish was killed in the first burst of enemy fire. We immediately returned fire, and the resulting firefight lasted approximately two or three minutes before the ACM scurried back into the hills.”

    In addition to the ground battle, coalition air support was also called in, but enemy casualties were unable to be confirmed, noted Fletcher.

    “HM3 Fralish always put his Marines' safety and well-being ahead of his own,” said Fletcher, a native of Buckhannon, W. Va. “He wasn't the type of corpsman who was ever in the rear. He was always quick to volunteer to be on the front lines with the Marines. He was a very selfless man. The bond between Marines and their corpsmen is one of the strongest bonds there is, and our bond with HM3 Fralish was especially so. He was one of us. All the Marines in Alpha Company are hurting right now over his loss.”

    “The Marines are taking his death hard,” added Capt. Thomas Kisch, company commander for Alpha Company, 1/3. “'Doc' Fralish was the best of the best,” continued the St. Louis Park, Minn. native. “We couldn't have asked for a better corpsman to serve alongside with us in Alpha Company. The best way we can honor his memory is to get rid of the insurgents that plague this country and secure a lasting freedom for Afghanistan. I know that's what 'Doc' would want us to do.”

    News of Fralish's death also hit his fellow corpsmen particularly hard.

    “It feels like a piece of our hearts are missing,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Oxenford, hospital corpsman, 1/3, who served alongside Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “Time may heal our wounds, but the space in our hearts will always be felt. He is missed and loved. The corpsmen and the Marines of Alpha Company will miss him dearly,” admitted the Virginia Beach, Va. native.

    “John was a man who knew something about everything,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Taylor, a 1/3 hospital corpsmen from Texas who also served with Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “He was a very caring person who would go out of his way for anyone. He loved being a corpsman and he loved his Marines. He was very passionate about the medical care he gave to all.”

    That passion was evident in the days before his death, when Fralish treated a local Afghan girl who had injured herself.

    “He was always worried about the welfare of others - whether it was Marines or the locals - he always wanted to help people,” said Fletcher. “Recently he went out of his way to help a little Afghan girl who had broken her leg. Gangrene was setting in and she was in bad shape. HM3 Fralish took care of that girl, treated her in the field and then facilitated getting her sent to a more adequate medical facility. That's just the kind of person he was. If somebody needed help, he was going to be the one to make sure they got that help.”

    According to his fellow corpsmen, even though Fralish took his job with the utmost seriousness, there was also a lighthearted side to his personality.

    “I never once saw him in a bad mood,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Gorman, hospital corpsman, 1/3, from Queens, N.Y., by way of Tucson, Ariz. “He always had a sparkle in his eye. He was very serious about his job, but not in a stuffy way. He was just a fun guy to be around.”

    Perhaps it was that sparkle in his eye and his good-natured attitude that led many of his fellow corpsmen to feel comfortable enough around Fralish to refer to him simply as “Captain America.”

    “He was funny, smart, wise, caring and helpful,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerod Napier, hospital corpsman, 1/3, who served with Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “You couldn't ask for a better friend than John. To sum it up, he was one of a kind. He seemed to be everywhere all the time, just like Captain America,” continued the Orlando, Fla. native, “and he also had these unique facial features to go along with his bald head.”

    “That was his nickname - Captain America, we all called him that,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jayme Frianeza, hospital corpsman, 1/3 and Camp Blessing leading petty officer. “He was just so gung-ho about the Marines,” continued the Tumon, Guam native. “He loved being 'green-side.' He prided himself in being physically fit like the Marines. Whatever the Marines did, he wanted to be right there alongside them, no matter how dangerous it was. He relished being in the field with the Marines and doing the hard stuff. He died the way he lived - all out.”

    “In this war, there's going to be people - corpsmen and Marines - that we lose,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Darwin Ramos, hospital corpsman, 1/3, currently serving as the Camp Blessing independent duty corpsman. “It's the nature of war. People will die. My guys all know the job that we came here for. We all know the risk and what's on the line - which is our lives.”

    “Still, we weren't ready for this one,” continued the San Diego native. “We weren't ready to lose HM3 Fralish. We weren't ready to lose Lance Corporal Brixey, either. (Lance Cpl. Billy Brixey Jr., a 1/3 motor transportation mechanic from Vidalia, La., died Jan. 27 in Germany two days after being seriously wounded during an insurgent attack on his convoy in Kunar Province). I don't think you're ever ready to lose one of your brothers.”

    Despite the pain they said they are feeling, Fralish's fellow corpsmen all echoed each other when it came to the ones who are affected most of all by this event - his family.

    “All of us would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Fralish family back in Pennsylvania,” said Chief Petty Officer Claude English, senior enlisted medical department representative, 1/3, and New Orleans native. “We would like to tell the Fralishes that John had his priorities in order. He had a solid foundation of morals and values. John was a good friend and was loved and respected by all. He is exactly what a son should be like. Hopefully the Fralishes can find some peace knowing that he was doing what he loved and was loved for what he did. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fralish family. God bless you and God bless John Fralish.”
    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(Feb. 17, 2006) -- NANGALAM, Afghanistan - Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fralish, 30, a Navy hospital corpsmen assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from New Kingstown, Pa., was killed in action Feb. 6 northwest of Mehtar Lam in the Laghman Province of eastern Afghanistan when his convoy came under attack by enemy insurgents.
    Fralish, an Iraq veteran and 1994 graduate of Cumberland Valley High School, died at the scene.

    “We were on a patrol in the Gonepal Valley when the ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia) attacked us,” said 2nd Lt. Austin Fletcher, Alpha Company Platoon commander, 2nd Platoon, 1/3. “HM3 (Hospital Corpsman third class) Fralish was killed in the first burst of enemy fire. We immediately returned fire, and the resulting firefight lasted approximately two or three minutes before the ACM scurried back into the hills.”

    In addition to the ground battle, coalition air support was also called in, but enemy casualties were unable to be confirmed, noted Fletcher.

    “HM3 Fralish always put his Marines' safety and well-being ahead of his own,” said Fletcher, a native of Buckhannon, W. Va. “He wasn't the type of corpsman who was ever in the rear. He was always quick to volunteer to be on the front lines with the Marines. He was a very selfless man. The bond between Marines and their corpsmen is one of the strongest bonds there is, and our bond with HM3 Fralish was especially so. He was one of us. All the Marines in Alpha Company are hurting right now over his loss.”

    “The Marines are taking his death hard,” added Capt. Thomas Kisch, company commander for Alpha Company, 1/3. “'Doc' Fralish was the best of the best,” continued the St. Louis Park, Minn. native. “We couldn't have asked for a better corpsman to serve alongside with us in Alpha Company. The best way we can honor his memory is to get rid of the insurgents that plague this country and secure a lasting freedom for Afghanistan. I know that's what 'Doc' would want us to do.”

    News of Fralish's death also hit his fellow corpsmen particularly hard.

    “It feels like a piece of our hearts are missing,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Oxenford, hospital corpsman, 1/3, who served alongside Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “Time may heal our wounds, but the space in our hearts will always be felt. He is missed and loved. The corpsmen and the Marines of Alpha Company will miss him dearly,” admitted the Virginia Beach, Va. native.

    “John was a man who knew something about everything,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Taylor, a 1/3 hospital corpsmen from Texas who also served with Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “He was a very caring person who would go out of his way for anyone. He loved being a corpsman and he loved his Marines. He was very passionate about the medical care he gave to all.”

    That passion was evident in the days before his death, when Fralish treated a local Afghan girl who had injured herself.

    “He was always worried about the welfare of others - whether it was Marines or the locals - he always wanted to help people,” said Fletcher. “Recently he went out of his way to help a little Afghan girl who had broken her leg. Gangrene was setting in and she was in bad shape. HM3 Fralish took care of that girl, treated her in the field and then facilitated getting her sent to a more adequate medical facility. That's just the kind of person he was. If somebody needed help, he was going to be the one to make sure they got that help.”

    According to his fellow corpsmen, even though Fralish took his job with the utmost seriousness, there was also a lighthearted side to his personality.

    “I never once saw him in a bad mood,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Gorman, hospital corpsman, 1/3, from Queens, N.Y., by way of Tucson, Ariz. “He always had a sparkle in his eye. He was very serious about his job, but not in a stuffy way. He was just a fun guy to be around.”

    Perhaps it was that sparkle in his eye and his good-natured attitude that led many of his fellow corpsmen to feel comfortable enough around Fralish to refer to him simply as “Captain America.”

    “He was funny, smart, wise, caring and helpful,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerod Napier, hospital corpsman, 1/3, who served with Fralish in Mehtar Lam. “You couldn't ask for a better friend than John. To sum it up, he was one of a kind. He seemed to be everywhere all the time, just like Captain America,” continued the Orlando, Fla. native, “and he also had these unique facial features to go along with his bald head.”

    “That was his nickname - Captain America, we all called him that,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jayme Frianeza, hospital corpsman, 1/3 and Camp Blessing leading petty officer. “He was just so gung-ho about the Marines,” continued the Tumon, Guam native. “He loved being 'green-side.' He prided himself in being physically fit like the Marines. Whatever the Marines did, he wanted to be right there alongside them, no matter how dangerous it was. He relished being in the field with the Marines and doing the hard stuff. He died the way he lived - all out.”

    “In this war, there's going to be people - corpsmen and Marines - that we lose,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Darwin Ramos, hospital corpsman, 1/3, currently serving as the Camp Blessing independent duty corpsman. “It's the nature of war. People will die. My guys all know the job that we came here for. We all know the risk and what's on the line - which is our lives.”

    “Still, we weren't ready for this one,” continued the San Diego native. “We weren't ready to lose HM3 Fralish. We weren't ready to lose Lance Corporal Brixey, either. (Lance Cpl. Billy Brixey Jr., a 1/3 motor transportation mechanic from Vidalia, La., died Jan. 27 in Germany two days after being seriously wounded during an insurgent attack on his convoy in Kunar Province). I don't think you're ever ready to lose one of your brothers.”

    Despite the pain they said they are feeling, Fralish's fellow corpsmen all echoed each other when it came to the ones who are affected most of all by this event - his family.

    “All of us would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Fralish family back in Pennsylvania,” said Chief Petty Officer Claude English, senior enlisted medical department representative, 1/3, and New Orleans native. “We would like to tell the Fralishes that John had his priorities in order. He had a solid foundation of morals and values. John was a good friend and was loved and respected by all. He is exactly what a son should be like. Hopefully the Fralishes can find some peace knowing that he was doing what he loved and was loved for what he did. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fralish family. God bless you and God bless John Fralish.”

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  2. #2
    I didn't know Doc Fralish, but I was supporting A 1/3 on the day this happened, and I remember Oxenford taking it pretty hard.

    RIP Doc.


  3. #3
    Rest in Peace brave Corpsman, I will honor your memory.

    Semper Fidelis


  4. #4
    i feel for my brothers it is a hard thing to lose one of our own. I lost many of a friend in nam and still remember how close we were. The marines were my family and i was there to take care of them,and they took care of me also. semper fi brothers.


  5. #5
    Rest In Peace John, May God Craddle You In His Arms, May God Richley Bless And Watch Over John's Family,

    Semper Fi My Brother

    Stephen Doc Hansen Hm3 Fmf


  6. #6
    ....Being a Corpsman, means that you MIGHT be a "SKOSH" brighter than other SQUIDS!......BUT....this thread was started in 2006, by the DRIFTER!!!!!......you NUMBNUTS are ONLY 5 years TOO LATE!!!!.......DUH!!....

    [
    ....."Doc Greek UP!!".....

  7. #7
    Damn, Doc. maybe they are new members and wanted to pay their respects, and why no responses from 2006 till now?


  8. #8
    Let me get this straight. I pay my respects to a fallen corpsman, on a Marine website, and another corpsman belittles me because this post is five years old ? WTF ! This place is full of people with a high regard for themselves and very little understanding of what respect and honor mean. And as someone else already said, where are all of the condolences expressed for the last 5 years. You seem to have time to read my response to this post and to criticize it but I see no words of contrition coming from you. It is never too late to express sorrow over the death of a fallen comrade and I will honor his memory.
    Semper Fidelis ( It still means always faithful)


  9. #9
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    5 years,,10 years? He was a fellow Squid who died in the service of our country. I guees I'm stopping by to pay my belated respects to Corpsman John Fralish

    Sorry John I wasn't here to get the news. Apparently no one else was either. John, I sincerely hope your family did not suffer too much, that your Mom was given the support she needed at the time.

    Fair winds I guess is a bit too late for you. All I can say is thank you John for your service and sacrifice

    Just a fellow Squid



  10. #10
    .....HEY! WHERE, in my post, do I mention ANY MARINES???
    This website has lots of obit's....and a specific forum for them. WHAT made Beowulf81 search the files, back to 2006?
    If YOU were offended by my berating my FELLOW Corpsmen, I apologize.

    [
    ....."Doc Greek UP!!".....

  11. #11
    "WHAT made Beowulf81 search the files, back to 2006?"
    "I didn't know Doc Fralish, but I was supporting A 1/3 on the day this happened, and I remember Oxenford taking it pretty hard."

    I might be off base here but it looks to me like beowulf81 is new here. Joined Feb 2011. I would guess he was looking for anything related to 1/3, his old unit I assume, or maybe looking for Joe Oxenford. I don't see anything wrong with him honoring the corpsman in question even if it is belated.
    That said I am going to grab a beer and toast HM3 Fralish.


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