Freedom isn't Free
It never has been
and it never will be
Alongside three fellow soldiers, the 26-year-old commando with Arizona ties - who had been promoted to captain that morning - died Monday in a plane crash during a training mission near Baghdad.
A graduate of the prestigious Air Force Academy in Colorado, Fresques was married for a little more than a year. He lived in Florida with his wife, Lindsey, who is also an officer in the Air Force, said Chuck Shaw, Jeremy's father-in-law.
"They had an excellent marriage, loved each other very much," Shaw said. "He's going to be very sorely missed, and we couldn't have been more proud."
Lindsey Fresques graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder before joining the Air Force and heading to Florida. The couple worked at bases near Destin, Fla., down the street from each other, Shaw said.
Fresques had been chief of communications and an information officer at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale before transferring to special operations in 2002.
He was set to return home next month after being deployed earlier this year. He and his wife had yet to decide whether they would stay in the military. The couple had no children, Shaw said.
"They were taking it day by day," he said.
Fresques' mother and father lived in Clarkdale, south of Flagstaff, before moving to Yuma. Neither was available for comment Wednesday.
Fresques died when a single-engine Iraqi air force plane crashed during a training mission near Jalula, about 50 miles northeast of Baquba.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, Air Force Master Sgt. Randy Phelps said.
Other Americans killed in the crash were Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Va.; Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif.; and Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash. Fresques, Argel and Crate were assigned to the Air Force 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, while Downs was part of the 6th Special Operations Squadron. All were based at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
An Iraqi pilot also died in the crash.
From the Arizona Republic online.....
A complaint post from a moron, and the reply:
A wake-up call from Luke's jets
"Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show?
Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!
Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special?
Any response would be appreciated."
The reply is classic, and a testament to the professionalism and heroism of the folks in the armed services. The response:
Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets" (Letters, Thursday):
On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt Jeremy Fresques.
Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.
At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park 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 of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.
A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.
The letter writer asks, "Whom do we thank for the morning air show?"
The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.
Lt. Col. Scott Pleus CO 63rd Fighter Squadron Luke Air Force Base
Scott is a real guy, here is a note from him to Greg Ervice:
From: Pleus Scott LtCol 63 FS/CC
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 5:59 PM
Subject: RE: Well Done!
Lt Col Ervice,
On behalf of the men and women in the 63d Fighter Squadron, it was our professional privilege to honor a fallen warrior from the Air Force family.
I truly appreciate you taking time out of your day to pen such kind words. Thank-you for your service to this beautiful country.
SCOTT L. PLEUS, Lt Col, USAF
Commander, 63d Fighter Squadron
DSN 896-XXXX, Comm (623) 856-XXXX
In response to:
Subject: Well Done!
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Please convey my sincere appreciation to Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, CO of the 63rd FS, for the response he wrote to the author of the article complaining about a recent "wake up call." It was very well written, measured and a thoughtful response to a citizen who belittles the price for living in a free land.
Well done, Colonel!
G. Gregory Ervice
Lt. Col., USAF, Retired