Thursday, June 30, 2011


I want you to meet a soldier.  A soldier with a name that speaks loudly of toughness and strength.  A name seemingly destined for the military.  He goes by Chisum.  Sgt. Chisum Frisch.  And yes, if that conjures up a John Wayne image, it should.  His mom's side of the family loved him.  Until recently, he was leading a unit of Iowa National Guard troops in their peace keeping efforts in Afghanistan.  That is or was until May 18th when this report came to us.  

Four Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard, were wounded when their vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 18.

Sgt. Chisum Frisch, 23, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Spc. Jacob Hutchinson, 21, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Spc. Benjamin Ward, 26, of Rowley, Iowa; and Private 1st Class Tanner Williams, 18, of Tama, Iowa, were transported to medical facilities at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Frisch, Ward and Williams were members of Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, while Hutchison belonged to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

Sgt. Chisum Frisch Provided A Steady Hand

A 2006 graduate of Dike-New Hartford High School, Chisum is the youngest of three siblings.  His parents are Kevin and Tracy Frisch of Dike, Iowa.  Sgt. Frisch, who has been home for some two weeks, will be returning to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in early July for continued rehabilitation from his injuries.

The following is a conversation with Sgt. Chisum Frisch.  These are his words as he rehabs from wounds he received that day.  It's our chance to experience a small fraction of Sgt. Frisch's life and it also enables the opportunity to appreciate his willingness to serve.    

MFV:  Tell me how you decided to choose the military as a way of serving your country?
Chisum:  I was 17 and making bad decisions and needed to do something with my life.  I knew I wouldn't make it if I didn't change something, so I joined the Army.  I always wanted to be in the military when I knew my grandparents were.  Army on my Dad's side and Navy on my Mom's. 

MFV:  What has been the most eye-opening experience to your decision? 
Chisum:  The most eye-opening experience is pretty tough.  I talked back once at basic training and I learned my lesson right then.  Also, the first time in combat also opened my eyes up and made me realize don't take things for granted and don't regret anything you do.

MFV:  As a young leader (Sgt.) what are some of the challenges to your job?
Chisum:  Challenges of the job are always learning new things and listening to everyone but having the mentality to lead your guys without regrets or second guessing yourself.  Always being able to make a decision and sticking with it.

MFV:  First time deployed?  If not, tell me about the first and then this one?  What feelings did you have when you hopped the bus and headed for Mississippi?
Chisum:  This is my second deployment but the first one was to Kosovo on a peace keeping mission and alot more laid back.  I was really excited when I got on the bus to go to Mississippi because after I joined the military I wanted to go somewhere and serve for what I joined for. 

MFV:  What was the general reaction of the Afghan people to you and your men when you patrolled?
Chisum:  They always made it seem like they liked us but some pretended and worked with the enemy when we weren't around.   They got the impact best of both worlds, help from opposite groups.

MFV:  Did you have any close calls before your IED incident?
Chisum:  I had a couple of close calls.  I heard bullets go by sometimes but nothing too bad there because the Taliban were just shooting because they got paid to.  I was on the opposite side when a mortar round landed on our helicopter landing pads.  That was probably the closest feeling of the terrible impact and sounding like it was right behind me.

MFV:  Thoughts on the IED incident.
Chisum:  I always wondered why it was our truck when three or four others went by it and we had one truck left behind us.  That is about all of the how's and why's.

MFV:  Final assessment of your injuries?
Chisum:  My injuries were fractured inside ankle bone, possible torn Meniscus in my right knee, fractured Tl  or C1 Vertebrae and I got my left forearm hit on some stuff and other scratches.

MFV:  Did you sense something before the incident?
Chisum:  I didn't sense it but the whole time in the country I kept telling our medic that I would be the reason he got his combat medic badge and I was one of the reasons, haha.  Also after switching with the driver we kept saying we were gonna hit an IED.  Just bad luck and a bad coincidence.  

MFV:  I'm sure you hated to leave your unit and men.  Tell us about that bond.
Chisum:  The bond between soldiers is stronger than anything I've ever seen.  You know for a fact they will risk their lives for you and know that they will always be there for you no matter where you're at.  You can talk to them about anything.   I hate being in America when my men are still there because I hoped that they would send me back and I don't feel like I should have left them behind.

MFV:  Have you been able to stay in touch with your guys?
Chisum:  Guys in Afghanistan write me and they're on Facebook and the guys in the IED blast keep in touch with each other.

MFV:  What do you miss?
Chisum:  Honestly, I miss everything...even the bad days because all the guys were still together and going through it together.

MFV:  How is rehab going?
Chisum:  I have to get my knee checked out and just routine check-ups on my ankle.  Everything is healing good and they say I will make a 100% recovery.

MFV:  I'm sure you heard of the firefight the 1/133rd was involved in where over 200 Taliban were killed on May 25th.  What was your reaction to that?
Chisum:  I think it is great.  The 1/133rd has and always will be a strong and proud Brigade.  If they want to  overrun where we are at  they'd better be ready because brothers have each others back and no one is gonna let them take it for free.

MFV:  You mentioned you might not be able to attend the Homecoming Celebration.  Thoughts?
Chisum:  I recently found out I most likely will be, but if I wouldn't have been able to,  it would be pretty devastating not seeing the guys come back.

MFV:  You received the Purple Heart.  What does that mean to you? 
Chisum:  The purple heart to be honest doesn't mean much to me. I know someone who was hurt worse but didn't get one and I did.

MFV:  How are your fellow soldiers doing that were involved in the IED blast?
Chisum:  The other guys in the IED that I know of are doing good.  I haven't talked to them in a little while, but they are all good.

MFV:  Would you do it all over again?
Chisum:  Yes, I would do it all over again.

I asked Chisum what word described his pre-deployment and he said, "anxious".  Then I asked for a word that described his deployment and he said, "bored, haha".  And lastly, I asked for a word that spoke to his arrival stateside due to his injuries....and he said "unfair".

If that doesn't sound like a true soldier even old John Wayne would have been proud of.  Thanks, Sgt. Chisum Frisch, for a job well done.



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