Reporting Rachel Slavik
MAPLEWOOD (WCCO) — The Fourth of July has new meaning for the family of a Minnesota marine who was killed in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Chad Frokjer, 27, grew up in Maplewood and graduated from North High School in 2002. He was killed by an explosive device last week.
When Chad left for war, his parents knew the risks, but say they never thought he wouldn’t come home.
“In our eyes, now, he’s a hero,” said Chad’s mother, Arlene.
Already an Iraq war veteran, Chad was on his third tour of duty.
“In times talking to him, he said Afghanistan is a whole different war,” said Arlene.
“I think that was the hardest deployment, going to Afghanistan,” said Chad’s father, Brian.
His experience, however, helped ease his parents’ minds. Chad was a decorated Marine who had a love of country that was obvious when he was just 3 years old.
“He didn’t want happy birthday. It was “Born in the USA.” That’s what we had to sing for him,” said Arlene.
Chad’s deployment was set to end in four months and the next chapter of his life was waiting.
“Eli. He knew he was having a baby boy. He found out over there,” said Arlene.
Now, an improvised explosive device has forever changed the way Chad’s parents view the Fourth of July.
“The Fourth is the time you thank the people that have sacrificed their lives for us and are still at this time sacrificing,” said Arlene.
Chad married his wife, Leslie, a year ago and the two were living in California.