FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A chaplain now with the Indiana Air National Guard has received a Purple Heart after being wounded in a rocket attack during an Army deployment to Afghanistan nearly three years ago.
Capt. Michael Frese suffered a concussion in May 2011, when seven rockets were fired at an Army unit he was with, WANE-TV reported.
“We had just sat down for a video teleconference, it was 1:30 on a Monday,” Frese said, recalling the incident. “That does something to you when you start the day that way. It puts things in perspective, and makes you realize what is really important.”
The concussion has left Frese seeing black spots to this day, he said.
Dozens of people including family members came out to honor Frese at Saturday’s ceremony at the 122nd Fighter Wing headquarters in Fort Wayne. As a chaplain, Frese’s job was to provide spiritual guidance to 900 soldiers in his Army unit.
“Chaplains aren’t normally outside the wire, as they say in the military, and he put himself in harm’s way and was able to come back safely, although injured,” said Brig. Gen. John McGoff of the Indiana National Guard.
After leaving the Army, Frese joined the Air National Guard. He’s now a base chaplain at the 122nd Fighter Wing and an associate pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.