FORT HOOD, Texas – A command sergeant major runs across a landing
zone in Afghanistan to catch his flight. In midstride he is told to
stop for a photo. He takes his eye protection off, places them in
his hand, turns to the camera and places a big smile on his face.
Spc. Eric Fragoso (back right), an infantryman assigned to Company B
of the 2nd “Stallion” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and his
father, Command Sgt. Maj. Jos� Fragoso (center right), the senior
noncommissioned officer of the 2nd “Lancer” Battalion, 5th Cavalry
Regiment, are from Toledo, Ohio and are both stationed at Fort Hood,
Texas with the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry
Division. “I am proud of my sons for going into the military and
doing something with their lives, following in their dad's
footsteps,” stated Kerri Fragoso (center left), Jos�'s wife and
Eric's mother. “And I'm proud of my husband; he has gone the
distance and is still going. He shows his sons there is more, there
can always be more.” (Courtesy photo from U.S. Army Spc. Eric
Fragoso, 2-8 CAV, 1st BCT, January 15, 2013)
After returning to base and uploading his photo to his
social media account for family and friends to see, he
immediately receives a comment from his son, “Hey hero,
where's the eye-pro?”
“The best part of having my
sons in the Army is when they validate my life, by saying
things I would have said as a soldier,” said Command Sgt.
Maj. Jos� Fragoso, who hails
from Toledo, Ohio, referring to his son Spc. Eric Fragoso's
correction on his photo.
Father and son are now both
assigned to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st
In 2010, Eric informed his parents
of his decision to enlist in the Army. Jos� was proud his
son decided to follow him into the Army, but it came as
surprise to both him and his wife, Kerri Fragoso, a licensed
“It had just slipped off my
radar. (Eric) didn't want to join when he was 18, so I said,
‘ok, that's fine,'” Jos� said about his son's decision.
The shock wasn't until he told his parents what military
occupational specialty he had chosen: infantry.
“When we found out he was going infantry like dad, we were
like, have you not watched dad all these years,” Kerri said,
Shortly after Eric completed basic combat
training, Jos� deployed on a special assignment to
Afghanistan. Eric received orders to the Ironhorse Brigade
at Fort Hood, Texas, where they were preparing to deploy to
Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn.
pretty scary,” Kerri, who was currently living in Germany,
said about her son and husband deploying at the same time.
“You never knew what was going to happen...we knew quite a few
people who didn't make it the last time they were in Iraq.”
Kerri wasn't the only one who was scared; Eric had
“I was worried more for him,” Eric
expressed. “I didn't want to lose him.”
was deployed he learned he was going to be the command
sergeant major of his son's battalion, the 2nd “Lancer”
Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment.
Although it had
been about a year since the family had seen each other, and
Eric was happy to be eating his mom's homemade enchiladas
again, he wasn't too excited his father was assuming
responsibility of his battalion.
“I was mad,” Eric
said, laughing. He is now assigned to Company B of the 2nd
“Stallion” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “I was going to
get kicked out of my unit, going to go somewhere else... I
didn't want to leave the guys I knew I could trust, I had
trained with for about two and half years, and then get
thrown in with some new guys. But that's how the Army
After the change of responsibility, Eric's
first sergeant came and informed him he was to leave his
company immediately. “I took three days to move,” Eric said.
“Yeah, you did leave kicking and screaming,” Jos� added
Even months after Jos� took responsibility
of the Lancer Battalion, Eric still has to remind people he
wants to do this on his own, he won't use his father as a
“I have had people say to me, ‘you can do
this because you are a sergeant major's son' or ‘just call
your daddy,'” Eric said. “But, I sit there and tell them
every day, ‘I don't want to use him for anything,' and I am
not going to.”
Jos� said he doesn't use him, he does
it on his own.
“I think that is a point of pride for
me, he does it all on his own,” Jos� added. “The things he
has gotten from me, I didn't tell him, he observed it.”
Although Eric doesn't have the same leadership style as
his father, Jos� commented he sees himself in many of the
same conclusions Eric decides on.
“We don't have the
same leadership style. What I do, wouldn't fit his
personality,” Jos� stated. “It would be fake coming out of
him, and people would see that... He has identified things
that are wrong, that I would have identified as wrong, and
he has come up with solutions I would have.”
mentioned there have been times he caught himself sounding
like his father.
“I feel like I am becoming a little
more like him, and that's fine with me,” Eric stated. “He's
been an inspiration, but I still have to do things my way.”
Kerri said she is pleased with Eric's decision of
enlisting in the Army and Jos�'s professional and personal
“I am proud of my sons for going into the
military and doing something with their lives, following in
their dad's footsteps,” Kerri said. “And I'm proud of my
husband; he has gone the distance and is still going. He
shows his sons there is more ... there can always be more.”
By U.S. Army Sgt. Bailey Kramer
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