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Local reservist serves in Iraq

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- When the needs of a nation press its citizens for action, men and women from all walks of life respond faithfully and with purpose. More and more Navy Reservists are stepping forward to support Iraq's new ideals as freedom continues its struggle to survive in a budding democracy.

Months ago, these reserve sailors wouldn't have imagined being so far from home, but as part of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force (NAVELSF), they're now ensuring history's proper course.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class John Froderman, son of Wayne and Mary Ann Froderman of Brazil, was recently selected for activation along with hundreds of fellow reservists to relieve a similarly tasked battalion currently supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

Froderman, a 1987 Northview High School graduate, lives in Greencastle with his wife Tonja and sons, Jorden, 9, and four-year-old Robbie. He was careful to evaluate his priorities before facing the rigorous events ahead.

"When I first learned that I'd be deploying overseas, I realized immediately that I'd be leaving my family for a very long time. I didn't want to, of course. About the only thing I could do was spend time with them before I left," he said.

Before joining his shipmates in support of OIF, Froderman underwent a series of exercises designed to grant reservists fundamental combat abilities, ranging from marksmanship to martial arts. Once Froderman and his well-trained colleagues arrived in Iraq and Kuwait, they employed their skills by securing strategic war zone logistics centers necessary to the war effort.

The importance of the mission is readily apparent to Froderman, whose responsibilities are of great value to his unit.

"I'm a forklift driver," he said. "I move cargo to and from the ship, position equipment for pick-up, as well as load and unload trucks that carry goods."

Sailors like Froderman have always stepped up to face the challenge when duty calls. A reservist's very lifestyle requires an unparalleled flexibility and willingness to leave the comforts of home behind.

While Froderman was called up for this deployment, it was not his first wartime effort. He volunteered for duty in Desert Storm.

"I'm proud to be a member of the military," Froderman said. "I've always been strongly patriotic and my recent orders haven't changed a thing. I know I'll miss my family, but I also know that my being deployed is for the best."

Times Reporter Linda Messmer contributed to this article.

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