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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunday motorcycle run honors a hometown hero

The front lines aren’t always in places like Afghanistan or Iraq; they are in our own backyards.
Our military personnel don’t only hunker down in bunkers or other lonely outposts. They also occupy couches and engage in horseplay in our living rooms.
Barracks are filled with our sons and daughters. So, too, is Arlington National Cemetery.
“We had a lot of impromptu wrestling matches,” said Jeremy Freiwald, 25, of Armada. “What move was I known for as a little kid? I was not known for any moves. What holds was I afraid of? I was afraid of them all, especially the holds that hurt.”
With that, he laughed.
Richard and Terri Freiwald have four children. All are boys.
The family roster was headed by Jason, the oldest. He was followed in chronology by Adam, Erik and Jeremy.
Chronology wasn’t the only thing that made Jason a leader.
“He was the leader in the family. He gave us all direction,” said Jason, 25, who is a third-year medical student.
The Jason R. Freiwald Memorial Run will be Sunday. Proceeds from the motorcycle trip will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Navy Seal Foundation.
The starting point of the run is Detroit Harley-Davidson on Van Dyke in Center Line. Riders will start to gather at 10:30 in the morning for registration and a continental breakfast. The escorted ride begins at noon, rain or shine, and will continue to the Romeo Lions Club Fairgrounds. Lunch will be provided.
The cost for a rider is $20 which includes lunch. A passenger is $15 and that also includes lunch. It will cost non-riders who want to enjoy lunch at the fairgrounds $15.
Same-day registration is available for riders, passengers and non-riders.
“Jason always wanted to go into the military,” said Jeremy. “He left three months after high school graduation and joined the Navy.  His goal was to become a SEAL. Whatever he did, he wanted to be the best.”
Chief Petty Officer (select) Jason Richard Freiwald, 30, died September 12, 2008, from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. He was temporarily forward deployed from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Virginia.
Jason Freiwald and Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator John Wayne Marcum, 34, both distinguished and highly decorated combat veterans, were fatally shot in Afghanistan during a battle with heavily armed militants on September 11, 2008.
"The deaths of SOCS Marcum and SOC Freiwald are tremendous losses for Naval Special Warfare and the United States," said Capt. Scott Moore, Commanding Officer of NSWDG. "These men were true warriors, dedicated to their country, their fellow SEALs, and the cause for which they were fighting. They died while taking the fight to the enemy, going in harm's way with the selflessness that resonated in their character and made them giants among men.”
Jason Freiwald entered active duty in November 1996. After completing both Recruit training and OPINTEL "A" School, he reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL Training in Coronado, Calif. After six months of the most grueling and demanding training in the world, he graduated and reported to Basic Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Ga.
His personal awards include the Bronze Star, two with combat "V" signifying Valor in combat, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with combat "V," Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat "V," Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold star. Gold star signifies more than one award given. Three Combat Action Ribbons, Good Conduct with Two Bronze stars and various service and campaign awards.
Brothers Erik and Adam Freiwald are also members of the United States Navy.
All four Freiwald boys wrestled at Armada High School. Jeremy and Erik also played football; while Adam and Erik were on the baseball team, too.
Their father spent time as president of the high school boosters club. He was also an assistant wrestling coach.

For more information on the Jason R. Freiwald Memorial Run, call (586) 254-4541 or (586) 756-1284.


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