After 55 years of service, Edward “Fred” Fridrich of the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron bid farewell to the Air Force and entered retirement June 1.
All of his 55 years of service, both on active duty and as a civil servant, have been in the management of supply operations for the Air Force.
Fridrich was born in Portland, and he grew up moving to various towns throughout California. After he graduated from high school in Freemont, Calif., he decided to join the military.
Fridrich’s Air Force service began Aug. 9, 1961, when he was 18, kicking off what would become a 20-year active duty career. While on active duty, Fridrich held many positions and traveled across the globe.
His 20 years of active duty service in supply operations included tours of duty across the western United States with assignments at Beale AFB, Calif., and Cannon AFB, N.M., as well as locations in the Pacific and across Asia with assignments in Hawaii, Guam, Korea, and Thailand. Fridrich’s leadership is clearly represented by the fact he held multiple NCOIC positions during his later assignments.
Once he retired from active duty in 1981, Fridrich moved to St. Louis with his family and began his career in the civil service. During this tenure, Fridrich worked for the 375th Supply Squadron until it was consolidated with the 375th Transportation Squadron to become the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron in 2000. When the squadrons combined, his job became a contract position until it reverted back to a civil service post in 2011.
Fridrich faced many challenges throughout his career that have led to great accomplishments. The greatest obstacles he faced included managing budgets as well as working the consolidation of the Supply and Transportation Squadrons. Having to transition to quality assurance for the new supply contractor, Aluet, was also very difficult.
Despite facing the challenges of a rapidly changing organizational structure, Fridrich remembers many wonderful moments working with the squadron. For instance, in 1999 he traveled with the 375th Supply Squadron to the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., where they received the Outstanding Unit Award. In addition to being recognized as a key contributor for an outstanding unit, he was acknowledged for his individual leadership as well.
Also in 1999, Fridrich was honored with the AMC Outstanding Supply Supervisor/Lead of the Year Award as well as the 15th Air Force Outstanding Supply Personnel Award: Civilian Supervisor/Leader. He is also very proud to have served his country and the Air Force for 55 years.
Fridrich’s accomplishments also include a legendary athletic career in which he promoted and represented the Air Force in both wrestling and football. While stationed at Hickam AFB, Fridrich won two Tactical Air Command wrestling tournaments in the heavyweight division, while also placing second in an inter-service tournament, losing to a foe that outweighed him by more than 30 pounds.
In addition, while at Hickam, Fridrich played on the base football team, helping his squad win a division title and an inter-service title. The team also beat the University of Hawaii’s football team, and Fridrich remembers learning a very important lesson from that game: To block with his head up. He learned that lesson when his two front teeth were knocked out during a play.
Having served his country for 55 years, Fridrich has accumulated considerable knowledge through experience and has plenty of advice to pass along to the next generation of Airmen. His favorite advice is: To learn your job to proficiency, know your mission, to avoid distractions, and to keep your nose to the “grind stone.”
In retirement, Fridrich does not plan on slowing down. For instance, he has participated in the St. Louis Senior Olympics for the past six years. He plans on continuing his athletic ambitions by competing in bowling, golf, weightlifting, shotput, and the discus throw.
In addition to his participation in athletics, Fridrich is an avid sports fan. He has attended the last three Kentucky Derbies and was a season ticket holder for the St. Louis Rams—although he is an avid Oakland Raiders fan—before they moved back to Los Angeles.
Although he wants to relax for a while, Fridrich plans to work on a honey-do-list. He also wants to seek out new adventures because, as Fridrich would say, he’s only 74.