Paul Theodore Friedrick Fruend, of Caliente, NV passed away on May 5th, 2023 after reaching the age of 89 years old. He died peacefully and was surrounded by family.
Born December 9th, 1933 in Los Angeles, CA to Theodore Henry Fruend and Laura Ellen Wiens, he was the youngest of 4 children. His father died when he was young, so his desire to help support his mother led him to enlist with the United States Air Force in 1953 where he completed training as an aircraft control and warning systems specialist. He met his wife Dorothy in 1955 when asking for directions to the local racetrack.
After retiring from the Air Force after 20+ years, he moved to Caliente with his wife and their 5 children where he was the School Board President from 74-78, served on the Caliente Volunteer Fire Department and worked at Gottfredson’s Department Store doing appliance repair, service and delivery for almost 30 years. Grandpa loved to say “he’s seen the inside of every persons house in Lincoln County”. He was a man that never fully retired and continued to work with jobs at E-Lee Ford, Wildland Fire and the Caliente grocery store.
He could fix anything, loved his coffee and his garage, baked, was a talented crafter and gardener, 49ers fan and John Wayne, JAG, or Hunt for Red October were always on repeat. He was proud of all his children, had special connections with each of his grandchildren, loved his Corvettes and came to the rescue of many community members throughout his years.
Grandma was the heart of the Fruend family and Grandpa was its solid foundation.
Paul is survived by his 6 children: Ted Fruend, Laura (Dan) Price, Edward (Dana) Fruend, Leigh Ann Chouquer (Paul), Jackie (Kerry) Lockett and Kenneth (Anna) Fruend Proud Grandfather to; Laci (Jason), Kristan (Miles), Bruce (Monique), Daniel (Jacey), Brandon, Dusty, Cory (Amanda), Chanille (Joey), Erika (Ray), Jessica (Justin), Kenny Jr.(Breann), Heidi (Nick), Dayne, David & Matthew, Hannah, Janna, Steven(Ashley) and Zachary. Cherished Great Grandfather to Brennan & Zander, Conner, Nixon & Knox, Dakota & Levi, Kylee & Kinley, Dextri, Steven & Mayleigh, Colt, Truce, River & Wylde, Jordan & Jayla, and Rowan.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Dorothy, his 3 sisters and his parents. Family and Friends can pay their respects Saturday May 13th from 10:00-11:00AM at the Caliente Senior Center followed by a procession and Graveside service at Conway Memorial Veterans Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Heartlight Funeral Services.
A LEGACY OF SERVICE- United States Air Force Tech Sergeant Paul T. F. Fruend
Paul attended Trinity Lutheran School of Los Angeles until the age of 15 when he was sent to Brown Military Academy of the Ozarks in Sulphur Springs, AR for hanging out with a ruff group of boys that got caught stealing hub caps. He excelled in marksmanship during his education and graduated in 1951. He choose to start a military career to help as it would help support his mother and joined the US Department of the Navy in Los Alamitos, CA. After completing his basic aviation ordinance school in 1952 and serving for a little less than a year, he decided the navy wasn’t for him and enlisted with the United States Air Force on April 20 th of 1953.
As an Airman Third Class, he completed a 3 month training at Keesler AFB in Mississippi as an aircraft control and warning systems specialist (AC&W) and was then stationed at Kirtland AFB New Mexico with the 687 AC&W Squadron as a Radar operator. The squadron’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft (the good guys) toward unidentified intruders (the bad guys) picked up on the unit’s radar scopes.
Paul’s love for fast cars had started young and when he stopped at a car hop in New Mexico to ask for directions to the race track, he met 17 year old Dorothy Hernandez serving up sodas. They fell quickly in love and were married on November 10, 1955 and continued his Air Force career by signing a 6 year reenlistment that same month. They celebrated the birth of their first child, Theodore (Ted) in the fall of 1956 and over the next 3 years they would welcome daughter Laura, son Edward, and a promotion to Airman First Class. He was part of the 697th AC&W in Pyote AF Station, TX and was a member of the squadrons volunteer Honor Guard where we was given a letter of appreciation in July of 1960 for his volunteer efforts by the stations commander. Paul was sent to Barrington Air Station in Nova Scotia to the 672nd AC&W providing radar surveillance for air defense of North America. His daughter Jackie was born in January of 1962 in Nova Scotia and he only saw her for a brief time when she was an infant. (After 60 years with the surprise help of Ancestry DNA, they were able to be reunited and it brought him great joy). When his 6-year contract was up in 1961, he reenlisted for another 4-year term and was stationed at McClellan AFB as part of the 552nd Wing, 964th AEW&C Squadron. He had earned medals of Good Conduct and Air Force Longevity as well as Studies and Observations. Paul had moved Dorothy and the kids to California, and he and Dorothy added another daughter, Leigh Ann, born in Albuquerque, and final son, Kenneth (Kenny) born in California, to their family. He completed additional testing in 1964 and was qualified as a Combat Ready Intercept Control Technician. In July of 1965, Paul was given Interim Top Secret clearance and sent on a flight operation under the code name BIG EYE. He would board an EC-121 aircraft and fly to the border of North Vietnam where he would use the aircrafts radar along with enemy communications to detect and locate MiGs within the N. Vietnamese airspace.
In December of 1966 he was given a special order and assigned to the 5th Tactical Control group, 605th TCM Sq and sent to Tainan AB, Taiwan where he was given several Top Secret assignments, including operational missions to provide support to the Navy’s 7th Fleet, along with training and contingency operations in Tan Son Nhut, Tai Pai and Danang – Monkey Mountain. While in Taiwan, he chose to reenlist for a 3 rd time signing another four year contract and was promoted Staff Sergeant. On April 7, 1967, in China Beach, Paul saved a drowning man for which he was awarded the Airman’s Medal for heroism involving voluntary risk of life. This would not be the only time he put his life on the line for another. He was reassigned to Clark AB, Philippines, where eventually his family came to join him for about 2 years living on base.
In August of 1968 a disastrous earthquake struck the Philippines causing the 6 story Ruby Towers apartments to collapse containing over 1000 local citizens. Clark AB responded with volunteers to assist in recovery attempts and Paul was one of the members of the 5th Tactical Control Group who risked their life in very hazardous conditions for 11 days, to clear debris and rescue the injured entombed in the ruble. His dedication to help, without thought
for his own safety, aided in the rescue of the 232 surviving occupants of the disaster. The President of the Philippines chose him as one of the awardees of the Presidential Humanitarian Award for his actions during this crisis. In April of 71 he was given permission by the Department of Air Force to wear his Foreign award on his uniform. Paul was reassigned to Eglin AFB, Florida in December of 1968 so Dorothy and the kids flew back to Albuquerque for a short time until Paul met them and drove the family in their station wagon all the way to Eglin. He studied hard and passed his testing to become a Tech Sergeant The family was only in Florida for a brief time and then moved back to Albuquerque. Meanwhile, Paul reenlisted for his 4th and last time and was sent to Shemya AFB in Alaska with the 16th Surveillance Sq. organized with tracking radars to monitor Soviet missile tests on the Kamchatka Peninsula and to support the Air Force Spacetrack System. He said he could “see Russia” from the island and it’s said that Soviet Fishing trawlers were often seen in the offshore waters watching the squadrons activities. He was recognized by the Aerospace Defense Command for his status as a Space Surveillance Console Operator. During his personal time on the island, he created beautiful works of ceramics and was very talented in his leatherworking skills. Some family members still have items he created at this time. His final assignment was at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas with the 57th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron doing mobile radar operations in the Caliente area. He moved his family permanently to Caliente in July of 1971. Eddie remembers how his dad would drive their Blue corvette from Caliente to Nellis and get there in 55 minutes and how he would “borrow” the big 4WD military truck during Christmas time to take the kids up in the mountains and cut down a Christmas tree. He worked both Radar and Fleet mechanic assignments before he retired from his military career in 1974.
During his career he was awarded Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award w/4 OLC, Air Force Good Conduct Medal w/6 OLC, and Air Force Outstanding Unit award to name a few. He served with pride and honor for 22 years, 5 months, and 20 days.
Felix Murrin says
I was proud to serve with Paul at the Caliente Electronic Warfare Training Range. Paul was a friend to everyone.