Saturday, June 22, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Edwin J. “Doc” Friesen

Prepared by: John Nolan (friend)

Edwin J. ‘Doc’ Friesen, CAPT USN (Ret.) was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1929. He grew up on a farm, joined the Navy in 1946, and was married for 62 years to his wife Luckey and raised two children. Doc served 28 years in the Navy, retiring as a Captain. After joining the Navy, Doc attended McNeese State University. He began naval flight training in 1948, and after completing advanced training, Doc was awarded his wings and the rank of Flying Midshipman.

During the Korean War, Doc went on 25 combat missions and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service and Navy Commendation medals, and six campaign medals. He began his first shore duty at NAS Pensacola as a Lieutenant Junior Grade flight instructor. This was the most fortunate tour of his career because he met his future bride, Lawayna Luckey Flynn and married her in 1953. He then attended US Naval Aviation Officers Electronic School at NAS Memphis, served as Communications Officer at NAS Port Lyautey, and served as Communications Officer at NAS Glynco Brunswick. He attended the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey where he received his promised Bachelor of Naval Science degree. In 1963, he was sent to the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) as the Communications Officer at NAS North Island.

Once promoted to Commander, Doc toured in Washington, D.C. at the Defense Communications Agency and earned his master’s in international affairs from George Washington University. His last duty was as Commanding Officer of the US Naval Communications Station in Naples, Italy, where he was promoted to Captain.

Upon “retirement” Doc was program manager for Honeywell, and then went on to become a CPA, practicing tax accounting until 1994. In 1980, Doc and Luckey returned to Coronado to refurbish the small house they bought in 1963, spending the summers in Coronado for
the rest of their lives. He was also a member of VFW Post 2422 in Coronado, the American Legion Postwar 7 in Clearwater, and member of the Association of Naval Aviation and the Flying Midshipman Association.

Doc always pursued a course of excellence and always looked forward to the next challenge. He is remembered as a loving husband, caring father, and the best damn man anyone could ever know.

The Avenue of Heroes Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 230 hometown heroes to date. On May 20, 2023, another 15 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly throughout the city and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Avenue of Heroes program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan, and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A senior at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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