As an explosive ordinance disposal technician, U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas disarmed hundreds of bombs during his six-month tour in Iraq.
Fry had a week left in his Iraq tour in 2006 when he injured his hand. He was given the option of leaving Iraq and going home with a Bronze Star. He declined, and instead volunteered to go on one last run. Gunnery Sgt. Fry was killed on March 8, 2006, by an improvised explosive device in Anbar province, Iraq. He left behind his wife and three young children.
In his honor, Public Law 111-32, The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, amended the Post-9/11 GI Bill to expand the benefit to children of fallen U.S. soldiers who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
Fry’s family described him as selfless in his work, protecting his comrades and Iraqis from explosive devices.
“He believed in what he was doing,” Malia Fry said of her husband. “He was protecting his country and doing his job…he didn’t want his children to grow up with people blowing up buildings.”
Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry didn’t have to be there when he was killed on March 8, 2006, said Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Tex., the lawmaker who put Fry’s name on a new scholarship for the children of people who die on active duty. Fry had suffered a serious hand injury and “was told he could go home, with a Bronze Star,” Edwards said. “He turned it down.”
“I named the scholarship for him because I wanted his sacrifice to benefit others,” said Edwards, the chairman of the House subcommittee responsible for the military quality of life and veterans issues.
Edwards said it was when attended a March dedication ceremony in Lorena, Texas, that he decided to press for better education benefits for the military children when they lose a parent and decided to name it after Fry while looking at his three children.
“These three little children were in the front row, and I just felt that what the government was doing for them and others like them wasn’t enough.”
“It was very emotional,” Edwards said. “It was a powerful thing.”
If you’re eligible for the Fry Scholarship you can get:
Full tuition & fees are paid directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools, tuition & fees are capped at $25,162.14 per academic year.
- A monthly housing allowance,
- A books & supplies stipend.
For information and to apply go online to https://www.va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/fry-scholarship/