Ronald's Story

FALMOUTH FORESIDE/PINELLAS PARK, FL. - Colonel Ronald Francis Fraser, USA-Ret. Died on May 30, 2016 in Dunedin, Florida. He was born in Millinocket, ME on March 22, 1921 the son of Charles Leo and Margaret Ann (Curley) Fraser. He attended Millinocket schools and graduated from Stearns High School in 1940 where he was active in athletics.

Colonel Fraser began his military career as a Private in Company "I", 103rd Infantry, Maine National Guard, Millinocket, on May 5, 1937. He served continuously with that organization entering on active duty with it when it became federalized on February 24, 1941 and sent to Camp Blanding, FL. He served consecutively as a Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, acting First Sergeant and graduated from Officer Candidate School, Ft Benning, GA, on December 19, 1942 as a Second Lieutenant.

In his first assignment as a Lieutenant with the 89th Division, Camp Carson, CO he married his high school sweetheart Geraldine Boynton on January 29, 1943 in Colorado Springs. They lived happily thereafter for sixty six years, serving and visiting in Europe, Hawaii, the Far East, Southeast Asia and different assignments in the continental United States. Geraldine passed away on December 19, 2008 in Falmouth, Maine.

During World War II he served in Africa and Italy with the 34th and 92nd Divisions and in the winter of 1944-45 joined the Italian Partisans in northern Tuscany. When the war in Italy ended, he became a Civil Affairs Officer (Allied Military Government) in the Trieste area where he governed four communes for two years along the Morgan Line, an area where Communists terrorized the population and carried out numerous assassinations. For his work in restoring communal administration during this difficult period he was cited by the Italian government as well as being cited for wartime service with the partisans.

In the Korean Police Action, 1950-53, Col. Fraser served as a Company Commander, regimental staff officer, battalion executive officer and battalion commander with the 7th Infantry (Cottonbaler) Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (Rock of the Maine) and participated in all major campaigns from Pusan to the Yalu River.

Col. Fraser also served with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Southern Command, Naples, Italy and the Military Armistice Commission, Panmunjom, Korea. During the Vietnam War he was Chief of International Activities, CINCPAC HQ, Honolulu, Hawaii, under the command of Adm. John S. McCain and Chief of Staff, Southeast Treaty Organization, Bangkok, Thailand. In the latter two positions he made nineteen trips to Vietnam between 1967 and 1973.

He was a distinguished graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland and received a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, Washington, DC. His military schools included the Basic and Advanced Infantry Courses, Ft. Benning, GA; Armored School Ft. Knox, Kentucky; Counter Intelligence School, Ft. Holabird, Maryland; Command & General Staff Course, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; NATO Air Defense Course, Salisbury, England; Strategic Intelligence School, Washington, DC; and the US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA.

Colonel Fraser received numerous decorations and awards, consisting of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, Joint Staff Commendation Ribbon, Army Commendation Ribbon with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, American Service Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Battle Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal (Germany & Japan), National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medal with 4 Bronze Battle Stars, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, AGC Identification Badge, SEATO Identification Badge and the Combat Infantry Badge with Star (2nd award).

Colonel Fraser was inducted into the Infantry Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, Ft. Benning, GA on February 12, 1988.

On the cold blustery day of February 24, 1941 one hundred ten National Guard soldiers and four officers from Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway, ME entered federal service with Company I, 103rd Infantry, Maine National Guard and were shipped to Camp Blanding, FL and later to the south pacific where over a three year period they fought in several campaigns against the Japanese. The motto of the Company, derived from the 103rd, was "to the last man". Seventy two years later in 2013 Col. Fraser was the only member still alive. Appropriately the last man. So goes the greatest generation.

In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his parents, three brothers Philip (Red), Robert and John, all of Millinocket and two sisters, Catherine Yeo, Eastbrook and Elizabeth (Zozzie) of Amherst, MA.

Survivors: a daughter Mary Nola, Falmouth, ME son Michael and grandson Wolfgang of Anchorage, AK, a nephew-brother William Fraser of Wilbraham, MA, a sister-in-law Mary Fraser, Bangor, ME and numerous nephews, nieces and families.

He was a member of the Retired Officers Association, Maine Military Historical Society, 7th Infantry Regt. (Cottonbaler) Association, 103rd Infantry Alumni Association, US Army War College Alumni Association, American Legion Post#7, Munich, Germany, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Stearns High School Alumni Association.

Colonel Fraser and wife Geraldine will be buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, VA. Date to be announced.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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