Colonel Gene Frice Colonel Gene "Sir" Frice was born in Long Beach, California in 1925 to Arthur Frice and Ethel Craig. Spending most of his childhood in and out of boys homes, Gene was introduced to discipline and military life by way of the NOTC (Naval Officer Training Corps) in High School. This made the transition from civilian to soldier an easy one for Gene as he enlisted in the U.S. Army at the ripe age of 16 just after the Pearl Harbor attacks. In 1943, Gene volunteered for parachute duty and was sent to Camp Toccoa in Georgia where he eventually became a member of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team who would later drop into the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Dragoon (airborne and amphibious operation) in Southern France, the 2nd largest airborne operation in WWII. Gene also served with the 82nd Airborne in Berlin dispersing Polish and German refugees evicted from their homes by the Soviets. After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1945 he worked 5 years serving as a lifeguard while attending college eventually receiving a Masters of Science in Public Administration and Police Science. In 1949, Gene entered the U.S. Army Reserve. In 1956 he began the first of 10 years as a Criminal Investigator with the County of Los Angeles in one of the first Public Defender offices in the U.S.; additionally he worked 10 years as a Special Agent with the California Department of Justice conducting criminal investigations of organized crime and terrorist activities. By 1970 Gene took a leave of absence from the DOJ to ultimately serve as Chief of Law Enforcement Training and Terrorism Programs at the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI). Following this in 1986 he organized the first U.S. Army Reserve Special Forces unit which eventually covered the Western US as a Special Forces Battalion. Gene organized the first U.S. Army Reserve Special Forces unit which over the years became a large unit covering the western U.S. as a Special Forces Battalion and in 1986 Gene attained the rank of Colonel. From 1986 to 1990 he served with the Department of Energy, Transportation and Safeguards with the responsibility of training DOE Couriers in transporting sensitive assets for the U.S. Government. Finally from 1980 to 2008, Gene was employed by a contract agency and was in charge of the security of the Internal Revenue Service in Fresno, CA as well as 11 years as Security Site Manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. Gene received many awards over his lifetime including a Lifetime Teaching Certificate from the State of California, an Army Good Conduct Medal, European Theatre of Operations with Five Campaign Stars, American Campaign, Meritorious Service Medal with Cluster, Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Cluster, Master Parachutist (300 plus including 1 combat jump), French and Belgium Fourgierres, Combat Infantry Badge, Pathfinder Badge and finally while in France he was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honor, which is the highest decoration in France. He volunteered for the National Ski Patrol for nearly 50 years with National Number 2028. He also volunteered with many different county search and rescue teams and enjoyed hiking, skiing, biking, was an avid pilot and had many "offices" in Bend including Deschutes Brewery, McMenamins Old St Francis School, Anthony's, and Chow. Gene known by many as "Sir" could often be found drinking scotch in front of a nice bonfire. Gene is predeceased by his parents and his wife Margaret Cole Frice. He is survived by his five children;Laurie Gibson, Karen Wallace, Robin Homedew, Gene Frice Jr. and Mark Frice, their spouses; 14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. In summary, Sir was a true hero and will be missed all over the world. A celebration of life will be held this Saturday the 16th at 5:30pm, please call Cassidy at 541-761-5282 or Natalie at 805-471-6066 for more information. Sign his guestbook at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries
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Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Aug. 17, 2014