St Augustine sailor loves Navy deployment
By Corporal Ed Galo
Special to Historic City News
After nearly 11 years of active duty service in the Navy and five deployments, Petty Officer 1st Class and St Augustine native George Fricke says he still loves every day he puts on a uniform.
Working alongside Marines for most of his career, Fricke, a corpsman who is lead petty officer, Regimental Combat Team 6, has deployed many times.
According to Fricke, he always wanted to be a Marine. But since the Marines don’t have any medical fields, he enlisted in the Navy to become a corpsman.
“I’ve developed a love for the Navy since joining,” he added with a smile. “I love the history and the traditions. Being in the Navy as a corpsman and working with Marines is a unique brotherhood and sense of pride.”
Fricke went to Kuwait in 2003 with Medical Logistics Company, Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Then in the spring of 2004 he deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Secure Tomorrow. In 2005 he received orders to Naval Hospital Jacksonville, eventually deploying again to Iraq in 2008, with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. In April of 2009 he went back to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, from where he deployed to Afghanistan for the first time, with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
“Taking care of Marines is my passion,” said Fricke. “Now my job is about making sure my sailors are taken care of and ready to take care of Marines.”
Those who work alongside Fricke have nothing but good things to say about him
“HM1 will drop anything he is doing to help you,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Vanzella, religious program specialist, RCT-6. “I have never seen a first class do so much for his sailors. All he wants is greatness for his hospital men and religious program specialists.”
Fricke said he always wanted to serve his country and plans to retire from the navy after reaching his 20 year mark.
“I want to become a high school teacher when I get out,” he said. “Teachers don’t usually make a lot of money so it will be good knowing I can rely on the benefits you get from the military after serving for 20 years. I’ll be able to live a little more comfortably.”
Fricke currently has an associate’s degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville in general education and has some teaching certificates.
“I’m still undecided on history, math or ROTC,” he said “I enjoy teaching. I’ve taught emergency medical technicians and I teach the corpsmen here in regards to medical procedures.”
Fricke says he’s unsure if he wants to stay in North Carolina when he becomes a teacher or if he wants to go back to Florida. “Me and my wife both like North Carolina,” Fricke said. “But we’re both from Florida. That’s where I met her – in Florida at a Jacksonville Jaguars game.
“I even proposed to her at a Jaguar game on the big screen,” he added with a soft smile.
Fricke said he proposed to his wife at the same game he met at her years earlier: Jaguars vs. Colts.
“It came on at half time and I said ‘Hey Christie, look at that’!” According to Fricke the screen read “Christie Green, join my team.”
I dropped to one knee and pulled out a Jaguars Jersey with my name on it,” Fricke said. “She had a family ring locked up in a vault and I didn’t want to ask her for the combination to the lock because then she would suspect something. I totally surprised her with the proposal.”
“I definitely miss and love my family and can’t wait to be back with my wife and son.”
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by Defense Video & Imagery Distribution