HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Three air commandos, including Capt.
of Clarkdale, Ariz., were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars during a
service Friday for missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other trouble
Those missions included their last, on Monday - Memorial Day
2005 - in
Iraq. A small Iraqi air-force plane they were using to find and survey
landing sites crashed about 80 miles northeast of Baghdad.
An Air Force and Iraqi pilot also died in the crash of the
Comp Air 7SL, a single-engine, utility and surveillance plane. The
remains under investigation.
"These heroes died defending a cause each of us in uniform
believes in," Col. O.G. Mannon, commander of the 16th Special
Wing. "Their service, their gift to our nation and to the world was an
unfaltering commitment to freedom."
Three automatic rifles were displayed upright
with soldier's helmets atop of them to commemorate two special-tactics
officers, Fresques and Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif., and
Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash.
All three were Combat Controllers specialized
in calling in
conducting search and rescue missions and assessing remote landing
Gave Some, But Some Gave All
For The Red, White, And Blue… Some Had To Fall
So When You Think Of Me,
Think Of All Your Liberties And Recall…..
JEREMY FRESQUES; 1978-2005
Jeremy Fresques, a Special Tactics Officer assigned to the 23d Special
Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, perished on 30 May 2005 in
the crash of an Iraqi Air Force SL7 reconnaissance/transport airplane.
Captain Fresques was participating in an operational mission in support
of Operation Iraqi Freedom when the aircraft crashed in the Divala
Province of Iraq about 80 miles northeast of Baghdad.
in Farmington, New Mexico, Captain Fresques was accepted into the
United States Air Force Academy after graduating from high school.
While at the Academy, he earned a degree in Environmental Engineering
and entered the active Air Force in 2001. His first assignment was as
Flight Commander, 56th Communications Squadron, Luke Air Force Base,
Arizona. In 2002, Captain Fresques successfully completed Special
Tactics Officer selection and training, earning his red beret.
graduating from Class 06 of the Advanced Skills Training course at
Hurlburt Field, Captain Fresques was assigned to the 23d Special
Tactics Squadron and was serving his first tour of duty in Afghanistan
Fresques’ awards include the Bronze Star Medal With Valor
Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the
Global War on Terrorism Medal. He is
survived by his wife, Lindsey.
The reply is classic, and a testament to the professionalism
of the folks in the armed services. The response:
Quote: Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets" (Letters,
On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of
from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the
of Capt Jeremy Fresques.
Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously
Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At
a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial
in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.
Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because
jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of
or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them
son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all
veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they
endured. A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays
those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional
and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer
was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.
The letter writer asks, "Whom do we thank for the morning air
56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the
and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in
honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.
Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke Air Force Base
Fresques never gave up. Not ever, not at any time in his life.
of his fellow cadets at the Air Force Academy
could not finish his pushups, Fresques wiggled under the cadet and
exhausted man on his back. Then Fresques helped the other cadet finish
pushups. Fresques was tough, but he was also kind and deeply spiritual.
loved Oreo cookies.
had the biggest heart and the most drive of anyone I ever knew," said
Fresques, Jeremy's father.
Force first lieutenant, who grew up in Farmington,
was disqualified from becoming a pilot because of his eyesight.
as a public-affairs officer in the Air Force until the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks galvanized
him to take a more active role in the U.S.
war against terrorism.
through two years of training to become a special operations Air Force
commando. Out of his class of about 36, only three graduated.
had the determination to excel at anything," said his mother, Sherry
training to become a commando, Jeremy Fresques met the woman he would
love with. It was a Top Gun love story, his mother says.
it read, "I have no weakness. I have evolved."
Widows bound by
true meaning of Memorial Day
850 Americans have been killed in Iraq
since last Memorial
Day. For many of their loved ones, the day's meaning has been
Memorial Day will feel like their first.
is at the park, in the water, around the grill. At a walleye fishing
a lawn mower race in Hillsborough, N.J.,
a techno-music festival in Detroit.
Dania Jai-Alai near Miami
offers free U.S.
flag magnets, while supplies last.
countless sack races, eating contests and tugs of war, endless sales on
everything from RVs to bikinis. All patriotic T-shirts are $5 at eight
stores in greater Phoenix,
while supplies last.
most of us spend Memorial Day, an occasion for remembrance that
through years of peace, into beer, ball, boats and barbecue.
years of war have revived the holiday's original meaning. Today, for
families of two young Air Force officers, the gateway to summer will
portal to grief.
Derek Argel and Jeremy Fresques — both Air Force Academy
class of 2001, both
commandos, both promoted this day to captain — prepare to fly
off on a
Walton Beach, Fla.,
Capt. Argel's wife, Wendy, sits down at the computer as their
the floor. She wants Derek to have an e-mail from her when he gets back.
shows scenes of parades and cemetery services. In the e-mail's subject
she types, “Memorial Day.”
In nearby Destin,
Capt. Fresques' wife, Lindsey, also an Air Force captain, joins the
“Gate to Gate” road race at Eglin Air Force Base.
She and other runners drop
carnations at the base Veterans Memorial as they jog past.I
In Yuma, Ariz.,
Fresques' father, Nick, has gotten a call from his wife, Sherry,
(pictured left) asking him to
come home early from work. After all, it's Memorial Day.
Argel's mother, Debbie, enjoys a poolside martini in her
patriotic Americans who have relatives at war. Still, for them as for
everyone else, Memorial Day is 90% recreation and 10% recollection.
Before the day
is over, that will change forever.
dozen communities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including
Waterloo, N.Y., (designated as such by Congress in 1966); Columbus,
(recognized by the Library of Congress in 1958); and Boalsburg, Pa.,
1864 three women started a tradition of decorating Civil War soldiers'
May 30, 1868, Union
veterans first officially observed Decoration Day. Over the next
succession of wars swelled the importance of what became known as
peace also took their toll. For many, Memorial Day was old men walking
in funny hats and outfits wearing obscure ribbons and medals
— forgotten heroes
of forgotten wars.
grandfather was a career Marine who fought in World War II.
grade, Derek wrote that on Memorial Day, “We should put the
flag out at our
homes, and go to the service at the cemetery. On this day we show
the veterans who risked their lives or were killed protecting our
flag. I am happy to see them put a little flag on my grandfather's
Memorial Day 2005, Fresques, 26, and Argel, 28, have made captain.
there's no time for a promotion ceremony. Because they're on a mission,
not even wearing their new silver bars. A promotion “would
have been the last
thing on their minds,” says Col. Kenneth Rodriquez, their
“These guys were very mission-focused.”
cadets from each Air Force Academy class are selected to wear the red
beret of the
Air Force's Special Tactics unit. They're called Combat Controllerlers, a dry
term for shock troops trained to land in hostile territory, set up and
landing fields, and direct aircraft into them.
water polo star,
6-5, 210, 4% body fat. Wanted to go to the Air Force Academy so badly
attended two prep schools after high school to get in. On a whim,
academy boxing tournament, having never boxed before, and made the
losing a split decision. Set so many records in commando training he
had to lug
a hunk of driftwood as handicap.
hard worker, deep
thinker. Considered military academies because he didn't want to get a
Joked that he
over West Point
because female cadets were
better looking; said the Air Force treated officers better. Found Jesus
senior year at the academy. Upon seeing copy of Maxim, the men's
the desk of a superior officer, he said, “Sir, you aren't
going to read that,
are you?” Disqualified by eyesight for flight school, he
communications officer. Applied for elite special ops unit after
he'd “go crazy sitting at a desk.” Meet Nick and Sherry Fresques, click here.
rising star in Special Tactics, has decided to make
a career of it.
Fresques plans to leave the Air Force in 2006 and possibly go into real
Both will finish their tour in a month and go home.
definitely ready,” Fresques e-mails his parents on May 26.
Three days later he
writes in his journal that he's not afraid of dying, only
“the process of
dying.” He says his fondest desire is to be
“raptured with Lindsey” into heaven
to be with Jesus.
Day, the two captains board the surveillance plane to scout potential
landing sites. Winds are calm, visibility unrestricted.
afternoon, a holiday rooted in wars past is transformed by news from
an Iraqi Air Force pilot were killed when their light plane crashed and
exploded into flames 80 miles northeast of Baghdad. The
plane went down about an hour
after takeoff from Kirkuk.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
is on an errand when she gets a call from her mother at home with
There are soldiers
there to see her.
father was an Air Force pilot. She knows what that means.
was writing that e-mail, her husband was dead.
away, Lindsey Fresques is bustling around her town house getting ready
barbecue when there's a knock on the door. Four soldiers are standing
major who attended her wedding, and the look on his face says this will
worst day of her life. The carnation she'd dropped at the memorial had
her own husband.
widows spread the sad news. Wendy reaches her mother-in-law in Santa Barbara.
Debbie sinks to her knees. Her
husband thinks she's having a stroke.
calls Sherry Fresques, who again calls Nick at work. “Jeremy
won't be coming
back,” she explains.
investigation will later rule out hostile fire and mechanical failure,
few personal items are recovered from the wreckage. They include a
Jeremy had bought in Jerusalem
and wore around his neck, and Derek's gold wedding ring.
human remains are burned too badly for identification. Later, these
intermingled ashes will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The pilot will become the first Iraqi interred there.
after the crash, a ceremony is held in a hangar at Hurlburt Field in Florida,
where the four
airmen were based. Each is awarded the Bronze Star. Each soldier is
by combat boots, a rifle, a helmet and, of course, a red beret.
for the friends and relatives of Jeremy and Derek, Memorial Day will be
Fresques: “It always meant something to me, but it wasn't a
real important day.
I didn't know anyone real close that even served in a war. Now that my
Now it's completely different. Until something like this happens,
it's hard to realize the true meaning of Memorial Day.”
Fresques: “It's a new experience for me, picking out what to
put on your son's
grave. I've selected two white roses, symbolizing purity, as well as a
red, white and blue stars that kind of reminds me of fireworks
— Jeremy loved
fireworks. And I'll probably put up this little flagpole. The flag's
those sparkly ones.”
“Memorial Day is a big deal down here, but I know in some
other places it's
not. But we're living in wartime. I hope people remember that. It's not
numbers. One of those numbers happens to be my husband.”
Fresques: “It reminds you that there really are people who
Jeremy and I used to think, ‘You go in and do your time, and
then you get out.'
So what happened makes the meaning and honor of military service a lot
Bastian: “Memorial Day will always be difficult for me now,
but it will also
have so much more honor attached to it.”
guys, Derek and Jeremy were never very aggressive around women.
basically picked up Derek, making eyes at him in a bar on St. Patrick's
Lindsey and Jeremy met when she was his superior officer and instructor
traffic training school. Taking a cue from Top Gun, she passed him a
inviting him to dinner.
OSS also honors Captain Jeremy Fresques, who served as
Combat Controller in the USAF. He lost his life in Iraq on May 30th 2005. Capt.
Fresques is survived by his wife Lindsey, his father Nick, mother Sherry and
brother Justin. His family is working with our local race producer in Destin and will be our guest on a pace boat.
It's a long story, but somehow I ended up in the main judge's race boat and I heard him mention
something about the KIA Family coming up and I asked if he knew who it
was. He didn’t, but said they were in
the yellow boat coming up on us, and sure enough…….. there was Nick Fresques
along with Lindsey and Justin.
You should have seen
the surprise on their faces when I popped up and said, smile.
What were the chances of me running into Nick, Lindsey, and
Justin Fresques on the high seas? I
wondered why Sherry wasn’t on the boat and saw her immediately as I arrived for
the CCT Reunion banquette. She told me they could
only take three of them, and then inquired how I knew she wasn’t there.
I said Nick didn’t tell you, I was the race starter? Then I proceeded to bullshit her and she
wondered in disbelief as I explained I was the Flag Holder and riding on the
Pace Boat, starting the races.
When Nick walked up, she knew she had me, and immediately
said; “Nick, you didn’t tell me you saw Mac out there.” She about fell over when he verified I was on
the Pace Boat.
I just said; “Damn Sherry, if I knew you needed a ride I
could of put you on my boat.” And then I
just walked away having to park the car I left outside the Ramada
entrance. I know Sherry’s still trying
to figure out where my bullshit ends and the story starts, but this was so
weird, I don’t even believe it myself................