|In the current conflicts the United States is engaged in, a premium is placed on versatility and flexibility. So it was not much of a surprise that Master Sgt. Stroisch and Tech. Sgt. Frady, two Washington airmen and long-time friends, were called to do what is generally regarded as soldiers' jobs: train soldiers, set up computer networks, and fill in as gunners on supply trucks.|
The two airmen were deployed to Balad, Iraq, from March to September 2004 and were temporarily assigned to an Army transportation company, which turned out to be the first unit assigned to security convoys. The two quickly put skills they learned as civilians to use: Frady, a systems administrator at a financial software company, set up the computer network for the camp; Stroisch, a sheriff's deputy, created a training program to help new guardsmen become acquainted with the multiple duties they would be expected to perform.
Stroisch and Frady were also called to help man trucks guarding supply convoys traveling along the dangerous routes to and from Balad Air Base. On April 30, 2004, Stroisch and Frady were part of security teams for separate convoys.
As Stroisch was returning to base through Baqubah, he heard a loud blast nearby – a blast that hit the other convoy and made Stroisch fear the worst for his friend. Luckily, however, the insurgents had mistakenly planted the bomb backwards, sending most of the blast and shrapnel into the desert rather than toward the convoy.
The explosion flung Frady shoulder-first into the truck's bed. Temporarily dazed, he stood up and checked another airman – both of them had suffered hearing loss. Using hand signals, the two communicated that they were okay, allowing the commander to get the convoy moving as soon as possible.
For their work, Stroisch and Frady received the Bronze Star on March 4, 2007.