October 21, 2019 - My Marine Monday
Today we are highlighting CWO4 John W. Frederick Jr. for our new series, #MyMarineMonday.
CWO4 Frederick enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately following his high school graduation on May 7, 1942, and went through recruit training at the Recruit Depot, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, CA.
During his service in WWII, Frederick flew more than 40 combat missions in the South Pacific Theater as a gunner and radar operator in Marine fighter aircraft. Beginning in September 1950, he participated in action against enemy forces in the Korean Peninsula, flying over 90 combat missions.
During the Vietnam War, in December of 1965, Frederick was the Radar Intercept Officer in the F4B aircraft on a night mission in North Vietnam. During his third combat mission, Frederick’s aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile causing the rear cockpit, occupied by Frederick, to be enveloped by flames. Prior to ejecting from the jet, he sustained severe burns. When he landed, despite his injuries, he looked for help. The next morning, December 8, 1965, Frederick unexpectedly wandered into a North Vietnam Army gun emplacement. Per his Legion of Merit citation, “he assumed that the enemy would kill rather than capture him, so he decided to take a few of them with him,” and he mounted a one-man attack. Frederick was overpowered, captured, and beaten until he was transported to a prison facility in Hanoi.
Following moves to several different POW camps, including a punishment camp where he was held in solitary confinement for 90 days, he became ill with a Japanese B-type virus in June 1972. It wasn’t until January 27, 1973, when the U.S. government was provided with a series of POW lists that John W. Frederick Jr. was identified as having died in North Vietnam on July 19, 1972.
Throughout his six and half years of captivity, Frederick demonstrated heroism and steadfast resistance in the face of continuous personal danger. Promoted posthumously, CWO4 Frederick’s personal decorations include: Navy Cross, Silver Star Medal with combat “V”, Purple Heart with a gold star, Air Medal with one silver star and one gold star, Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V”, Navy Presidential Unit Citation with three bronze stars, Army Presidential Unit Citation, POW Medal, Good Conduct Medal with a silver star, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Medal with one bronze star, Korean Service Medal with four bronze stars, Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, and a Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.
In 1999 a study lounge in O’Bannon Hall at The Basic School on MCB Quantico was dedicated in his name, and it was moved to the Heywood Hall after O’Bannon Hall was demolished.
Semper Fi, Marine.
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