Sep. 12, 1922 Echo Yellow Medicine County Minnesota, USA
Mar. 3, 1942, At Sea
Placed in memory of Richard Fraser, June 2013.
Raised in Pine River, Minnesota since early childhood, Richard Louis Fraser was the oldest child of Homer and Alice Fraser. He attended Our Lady of the Angels Academy in Belle Prairie, Pine River High School, and Crosier Seminary in Onamia before joining the Navy.
He enlisted on February 14, 1941, going first to Fort Snelling then on to the Great Lakes Training Station. He went to Brementon, Washington on April 18, 1941 where he served on the carrier, USS Saratoga (CV-3). In July of that year, he joined the Asiatic Fleet. He was transferred to the USS Asheville, a gun boat, doing river patrol in South China, and then in the Philippines. After Pearl Harbor, the Asheville headed south. He wrote his last letter to his parents on January 27, 1942; they received it on March 11. On March 19, the message arrived stating Richard Fraser was missing in action as of March 1, 1942. These facts were reported in the local paper on March 24, 1942. More than three years and eight months passed before Richard's parents learned what had happened to their son.
On March 3 of 1942, the USS Asheville (PG-21) was engaged by two enemy destroyers and sunk approximately 300 miles south of Java. One crewman, FM/2c Fred Brown, was pulled from the water by the Japanese. Brown died three years later, still as a prisoner of war in the Celebes, N.E.I., but not before telling the story the Asheville's fate. After the war, a fellow POW reported Brown's tale to the US Navy.
November 25, 1945, Richard Fraser and his shipmates were officially considered Killed In Action (Presumed dead/lost at sea).
The Fraser-Nelson American Legion in Pine River, Minnesota is name for Richard and his friend, Harold Nelson, KIA in France.
He is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines (see the additional sibling link below).