Enemy fire in Afghanistan is fatal for Kaneohe sailor
A second serviceman from Marine Corps Base Hawaii has died in Afghanistan less than a month after leaving Kaneohe.
Navy Petty Officer John T. Fralish, 30, of New Kingstown, Pa., died Monday when his patrol came under enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan, according to a news release from the U.S. military's Combined Forces Command in Kabul. Fralish was a hospital corpsman third class assigned to Kaneohe's 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
Lance Cpl. Billy D. Brixey Jr. died Jan. 27 from wounds he suffered when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb. Fralish and Brixey were among nearly 900 members of 1st Battalion, which left Kaneohe for Afghanistan in late January.
Marine Corps officials said Fralish died from small-arms fire in Langham province. Following the attack the patrol returned fire, went after the enemy and called in close-air support, but the enemy fled, the CFC news release said.
Fralish's grandmother Gloria Fralish of Carlisle, Pa., said her grandson was shot in the chest. She said he died on the helicopter that was taking him to a hospital.
"He was certainly a wonderful young man. We are all proud of him," she said. "He died doing what he wanted to do. He loved the military."
She said her grandson also loved Hawaii and had a surfboard on his van the last time he visited Pennsylvania.
She said her grandson was wearing body armor he bought because he thought it was better than the one the military provided. Military officials told family members the round that killed Fralish might have slipped through the armhole of the armor, she said.
In the attack, Fralish's vehicle became disabled, and he was the first one to exit, his grandmother said. Because he was the medical specialist, his comrades were not able to assist him when he was injured, she said.
His grandmother said Fralish's interest in medicine stemmed from his close relationship with an uncle who is a doctor, and his choice of a military career from her husband, who was a colonel when he retired from the Army. She said her grandson chose the Navy because he had always wanted to be a SEAL.
Fralish enlisted in the Navy Feb. 12, 2002. He arrived in Kaneohe last July after completing Field Medical Service School in Camp Pendleton, Calif. His previous overseas deployment was to U.S. Military Hospital, Kuwait, March 2004 to February 2005.
Friday, February 10, 2006
» Navy Petty Officer John T. Fralish, who was killed in Afghanistan Monday, was a Navy corpsman based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. A headline on Page A1 in yesterday's early edition incorrectly stated that he was a Kaneohe Marine.