PATRIOT GUARD TO HONOR FALLEN SOLDIER’S RETURN TO EAST COUNTY

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July 16, 2012 (El Cajon) – Sgt. Nicholas C. Fredsti  valiantly served  six tours of duty—three in Iraq and three in Afghanistan.  But the U.S. Army paratrooper was killed in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province on June 15, 2012, the Pentagon reports. 

Sgt. Fredsti, 30, attended West Hills High School and joined the Army in 2007.  On Wednesday, a Patriot Guard will honor the return of his body to the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar and then to the El Cajon mortuary, 684 South Mollison Avenue in El Cajon. Burial services are set for Saturday.

His unit was attacked by insurgents with small arms fire.  According to the Fort Bragg Patch, as a squad leader, Fredsti “responded instinctively by moving his squad to high ground to lay down a base of fire.”  He was struck in the shoulder by a single bullet that entered his chest and died shortly after he was medically evacuated.  He served as a team leader with Company D, 1st Battalion, 504th Infranty Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

“We lost one of the best squad leaders I’ve seen in the Army,” Sgt. Jonathan Daeuber, who served with Fredsti  as a team leader, said, Fort Bragg Patch reported. “We lost a close friend.”

His honors include the Presidential Unit Citation Award, the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorius Unit Commendation with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Army Achievement Medal.  Promoted posthumously to staff sergeant, Fredsti was also awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and NATO Medal.

He is survived by his parents, Carl and sheriff Fredsti of San Diego, his sister, Sarah, and his fiancé, Cassie.

The family has invited the Patriot Guard Riders to honor this Army hero on his final journey, accompanying him on Wednesday from Miramar to the El Cajon Mortuary, where his body is expected to arrive at 1:45 p.m.  He will be laid to rest at Miramar National Cemetery Saturday, June 21, 2012, 11 a.m.  A memorial reception will follow at the MCAS - Miramar Officer's Club.

The Patriot Guard mission is open to all; you do not have to be a veteran to participate.  For more information, visit http://patriotguard.org/forums/tabid/61/postid/1817523/view/topic/Default.aspx

In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project in his name.

An online guest book has been set up at http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/UTSanDiego/guestbook.aspx?n=nicholas-fredsti&pid=158537522&cid=full

Randy D'Aoust of El Cajon wrote, "Nicholas was a brave and committed soldier and he lived the ideals he learned from his beloved family. In the midst of sorrow, take time to celebrate the gifts of love and joy that Nicholas shared with anyone he met."