Earlier this year, Tom Frazier got the call every parent of a service member dreads.
“It was a pretty intense few minutes,” he said.
On the other end of the line, a Marine had just told Frazier his son, Cpl. Tyler Frazier, had been wounded while fighting in Syria.
“It took everything I had not to break down just to hear what the guy was saying to me,” he said.
The first thing Tom did after getting the news was call his wife, Carmen. All the Chugiak couple knew was their son had been injured and was in the hospital. It made for a tense couple days as they waited for more news about Tyler’s condition.
“Of course I cried and I prayed I sent a prayer out to church and co-workers to pray,” Carmen Frazier recalled.
A couple days later, the Fraziers got a call from their son. Tyler was pretty banged up, Tom said, but he was going to make it.
“He had a pretty good-sized hole in his chest,” he said.
Carmen Frazier said the waiting was the hardest part.
“My faith is what got me through it,” she said.
Cpl. Frazier was awarded the Purple Heart on Nov. 7 during a ceremony at Victory Field at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. He’s fully recovered from his injuries and returned to service.
He was one of three Marines recognized for injuries suffered while fighting in Syria in support of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response-Central Command.
A mortar Marine with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Frazier has been deployed twice to combat zones, his parents said. His enlistment ends in August, after which his dad said he plans to go to college to study engineering.
“You can’t imagine how proud I am of him and what he’s doing,” his father said.
The Marines released little information about the circumstances leading up to Frazier’s injuries, and the 2015 Chugiak High grad declined to comment for this story.
That’s not out of character for Frazier, an Eagle Scout and former high school football player who, his father said, “was never the biggest guy on the team, but always the first to the tackle.”
“He does not like to be talked about,” said Carmen, his mother.
The Fraziers were reunited with their son for a brief visit in Hawaii shortly after he was injured, and again when he came home to Alaska for Thanksgiving. Having her son in her arms, Carmen Frazier said, brought a relief she couldn’t put into words.
“You just hug him and cry,” she said.