“We were on a patrol in the Gonepal Valley when the ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia) attacked us,” said 2nd Lt. Austin Fletcher, Alpha Company Platoon commander, 2nd Platoon, 1/3. “HM3 (Hospital Corpsman third class) Fralish was killed in the first burst of enemy fire. We immediately returned fire, and the resulting firefight lasted approximately two or three minutes before the ACM scurried back into the hills.”
In addition to the ground battle, coalition air support was also called in, but enemy casualties were unable to be confirmed, noted Fletcher.
“HM3 Fralish always put his Marines’ safety and well-being ahead of his own,” said Fletcher, a native of Buckhannon, W. Va. “He wasn’t the type of corpsman who was ever in the rear. He was always quick to volunteer to be on the front lines with the Marines. He was a very selfless man. The bond between Marines and their corpsmen is one of the strongest bonds there is, and our bond with HM3 Fralish was especially so. He was one of us.”