MIDN Alfred Joseph Frisch Jr., USNA Class of 1978, 35th Company
Passed: 19 April 1977
USNA Cemetery Section 4: plot 448
Smart. Focused. Accomplished. These are the first words that come to mind when
recalling our classmate Al Frisch. Al came to us from Salem, Massachusetts. The
son of a Navy Captain and the brother of a Vietnam era Marine, Al was inspired to
continue the family legacy of naval service. He loved the sea and oceanography, and
earned an opportunity to pursue both at the Naval Academy.
Very well rounded, Al was an altar boy, an Eagle Scout and a member of the
National Honor Society. He played high school varsity football, tennis and was on
the track team. Al was also on track at Navy: twice on the Dean’s List, active in
sailing and scuba diving, vice president of the Oceanography Club, and spent
Youngster Cruise aboard USS Epperson in the Pacific. He had a girlfriend and in
early 1977 Al was looking forward to our Ring Dance, First Class year, June Week
and the Fleet. To get there, Al was focused on doing well in first semester finals of
our Second Class year.
After his last exam, Al left to enjoy liberty. Shortly afterwards, he fell ill. Al was
eventually hospitalized for six weeks at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Cancer.
Our Company Officer urged us to go visit him, the open secret of having vehicles
we didn’t rate was ignored. Al’s doctors encouraged us to bring him whatever he
wanted to read or eat or drink. We brought him his class ring though his fingers were
too swollen to wear it.
We watched Al’s courage in the face of an increasingly dire illness. Al’s final gift to
us was the reminder to live life fully each and every day.
Over the years I’ve wondered whether our class would have another Captain or
Admiral to our credit if we hadn’t lost Al. I do know he inspired his shipmates
through his hard work, his dedication to high ideals, and his courage at the end. We
were made better by knowing him.
Al’s legacy of service continued for over thirty years through the Alfred J. Frisch Jr.
Scholarship Fund at Salem High School, Salem, MA.
At the time of his passing, Al was survived by his parents, Captain and Mrs. Alfred
J. Frisch, USN (Ret.); his brother, Edward Frisch; and sisters, Sheila Frisch and
Karen Pelletier. All but Karen have passed in the ensuing years.
Fair Winds and a Following Sea, my friend.