In the Military
Concert to feature music and parade in Waikiki
A concert with local and national artists will be held May 6 at Kapiolani Park following a parade through Waikiki saluting Hawaii's military. The Makaha Sons and Kapena will take the stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by hip-hop band Seminole County and ending with three-time Grammy winner R&B singer John Legend. The event will also feature children's activities, military exhibits and food booths. The Waikiki parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. from Fort DeRussy, continuing down Kalakaua and Monsarrat avenues, and ending at Kapiolani Park. It will feature the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Hawaii National Guard and Reserve, as well as personnel returning from or about to depart for Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired veterans.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fralish was killed Feb. 6 during a firefight with insurgents in Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan, but his legacy remains, especially in a tiny village in the mountains near a forward operating base at Mehtar Lam.
"The name of John Fralish lives on in the mountains of Afghanistan among the local population," Army 1st Sgt. David Schneider, with the 125th Infantry of the Michigan Army National Guard, said in a Pentagon news release. "Just before he died, John risked his life to save the life of a little Afghan girl on the brink of death."
Fralish, a corpsman, was patrolling with A Company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment -- the Kaneohe Bay unit to which he was attached -- when he got word that a little girl was in bad shape a few miles away.
"When John heard that there was a child who needed help, he was going to do everything he could to see to it that she got that help," Schneider said. "John wanted to help everyone who was hurt. It's just the way he was. Keep in mind we were in hostile territory, and it was the middle of the night, but John wanted to go."
He added: "The old man led us to this little mud hut in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains. There was a small fire going on in the hut, for light and warmth. John went to where the little girl was. She had fallen in the mountains a while back and was missing a chunk of her calf muscle. Her leg was hurt real bad. The cut was 6 inches long and 5 inches wide down to the bone. Fabric from an old dress was being used as a bandage, and it was soaked through not with blood, but with pus. Infection had set in, and she probably had no more than a couple of days to live if she would have remained in that state."
Fralish cleaned the wound, applied antibiotics and redressed it.
Fralish took off his rank insignia and gave it to the old man, along with a note he wrote explaining who he was and what the situation was, so that the girl and her family could be given safe passage to the medical facility at Mehtar Lam. But the girl needed more help.
"When we heard that, everyone passed the hat around, and we got enough money together so the family could hire a car to take them to the hospital at Bagram Airfield," Schneider said. "Well, the girl's family showed the note John had written, along with his rank insignia, at every checkpoint, and it got their car through to Bagram, where the little girl underwent successful surgery. She made it, and she's recovering nicely and is alive and well now directly because of John. She has a second chance at life."
While the girl was recovering, Fralish was killed in action.
"That whole village mourned John's death along with us," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Cameron Stewart of Spokane, Wash., another corpsman with 1st Battalion "All those who served with John are deeply affected by his loss. To see Afghan villagers also affected is a true testament to the character and type of person John was."
» Retired Army Brig. Gen. James T. Hirai,
a 1974 University of Hawaii Army ROTC graduate, is the new deputy director at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.
» Senior Chief Petty Officer John Petrie is the new skipper of the 87-foot Coast Guard cutter Ahi.
» Brig. Gen. David P. Fridovich, commander of Special Operations Command-Pacific, has been promoted to major general.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org