Soldier Spotlight

The Defense Meritorious Service Medal(DMSM) is the third highest award by the US Department of Defense that can be presented to members of the United States military. The DMSM is awarded to service-members that are assigned to joint, multi-service organizations.

Originally presented in November, Petty Officer 1st Class (SW/AW) Derrick Frazier is more than worthy of this installment of the soldier spotlight.

The official presentation by the US NAVY:

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) — Commander, Submarine Group 9, presented one of his Sailors with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal during an awards ceremony Nov. 5 at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash.

The award was given after Information System Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (SW/AW) Derrick Frazier served with distinction while deployed to Afghanistan on an individual augmentee (IA) assignment from September 2008 – August 2009.

“I think Petty Officer Frazier would agree that he was part of a team of hundreds of professional Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines, all dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment for the Iraqi and Afghan people,” said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell.
“This is a very special award usually reserved for much more senior personnel, but Petty Officer Frazier clearly earned it.”

Frazier’s first full day in the Navy fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Since then he has wanted to play an active role in the war effort which led him to volunteer for the IA assignment.

“I volunteered to pickup a 100 day IA to Afghanistan, but once I arrived I felt that going through all that training just for 100 days wasn’t worth it,” said Frazier. “Shortly after arriving in theater I picked up a second IA effectively extending my three month deployment to one year. I figured somebody has to do it so it might as well be me.”

While deployed, Frazier served as the J6 Help Desk non-commissioned officer in charge for Combined Joint Task Force Paladin, United States Forces-Afghanistan where he maintained over four million dollars worth of equipment at 99 percent availability; supporting three networks, six servers, 600 workstations, and over 800 users.

When asked about his service, Frazier credits his accomplishments to those he served with.

“It’s a great honor to earn such a prestigious award,” said Frazier. “Having good people around me made me successful, and I owe this award to them.”

Hard work and long hours were typical for Frazier and his fellow service members, but the difficult times led to rewarding experiences and lifelong memories.

“Going IA was a great experience,” said Frazier. “We never had a day off because we were constantly on the go, but the rewards were high. I will always remember seeing the children’s faces light up when we brought them winter clothes right before winter set in.”

Frazier’s department head at Submarine Group 9, Lt. Thomas Layne, was proud of the significant award bestowed on one of his talented Sailors.

“Petty Officer Frazier is compassionate, professional, selfless, and personally and professionally driven by excellence,” said Layne. “I would attribute his successful IA tour to his tenacity and technical acumen. He is very deserving of this award.”

Frazier continued to go above and beyond his regular duties while deployed by volunteering on multiple occasions to be put in harm’s way in support of the Afghanistan counter improvised explosive device mission, conducting first class petty officer training for Sailors who needed the training before being allowed to advance, standing guard duty over suspected Taliban terrorists, and conducting detainee operations throughout Afghanistan.

“Petty Officer Frazier’s actions were incredible. He did everything the military asked him to do, and then a whole lot more,” said Caldwell. “Not only did he represent himself very well, but he was also a tremendous representative of Submarine Group 9 and the United States Navy.”

Special Note:

Soldier Spotlight is a new segment here at The Stafford Voice, and will continue in monthly segments. If you know of another soldier that you feel is deserving to be in the Spotlight, please contact us with the information and why you feel they are deserving.

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