Navy Seal Receives a "Giant Blessing"
In 1998, Eric Frohardt decided that he was going to become a Navy SEAL as he sat in his dorm room watching a movie about the famed warrior group. Someone bet him that he couldn’t, so he enlisted that same week.
“I enlisted in the Navy with the sole intention of becoming a Navy SEAL,” said Frohardt. “I was in college, and I realized I needed more structure. Plus, I wanted to do something challenging. Most of all, I wanted to serve my country. Becoming a Navy SEAL checked all of these boxes.”
At first, Frohardt thought he wanted to become a SEAL to prove to himself and others that he could do it, but the events of 9/11 stirred something even deeper within him.
He was already on his first deployment as a Navy SEAL when 9/11 happened.
“We were in Guam, and supposed to visit fun places like Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines,” said Frohardt.
But when the World Trade Center was attacked, everything changed for him—as it did for so many others.
“After 9/11, my motivation changed,” said Frohardt. “I wanted to serve my country in combat and do it as long as possible.”
So, in 2001, Eric’s first deployment unexpectedly changed from the Pacific to Central theater of operations. He shares few specifics about his deployments, having signed a nondisclosure agreement which he honors to this day, though he does disclose that service took him on numerous deployments—mostly to Iraq or Afghanistan.
“It was both exciting and frightening, especially for my job as a Navy SEAL,” said Frohardt. “After 9/11, we had a very high op tempo.”
Being so far from his family and loved ones was challenging.
“My wife and I were just dating on my first deployment,” said Frohardt. “We got married before my second [deployment]. Every deployment we did after that was while being married. Before my third deployment, this time to Iraq, we had our first kid. We had two more while serving. It was hard to leave my wife and kids. It was just as hard, maybe even harder, on them. The families pay a high price as well.”
“It’s hard on you physically and, of course, mentally,” said Frohardt.
In 2008, Frohardt was serving in Iraq and sustained injuries from an improvised explosive device.
“I wasn’t injured too bad from it, others near me got hurt much worse. One of my teammates even died,” said Frohardt. “Not long after this, the Navy deemed me unfit to deploy. I received a partial medical retirement.”
After ten years of not having the proper rating from the VA, Eric’s wife, Lea, told him he needed to get his service-connected disabilities rated by the department.
“As I spoke with former teammates, they all said the same,” said Frohardt.
But the idea of going to the VA, submitting all the paperwork, getting all the labs, tests and appointments, and then waiting years to find out seemed too daunting to Frohardt. Then, through social media, he came across DAV.
“I made a phone call to the local DAV and I was impressed,” said Frohardt. “I filled out the paperwork right away. A couple of weeks later, I had my first meeting. Not long after that, they scheduled all my appointments. When that was done, they resubmitted their paperwork on my behalf. Within a couple of months, I found out I was now 100 percent disabled, service-connected and final. This was a huge blessing for me and my entire family, immediately.”
“No organization has impacted my life or the future of my family as much and as positively as DAV,” said Frohardt. “As you can imagine, going ten years without a correct VA claim, then getting 100 percent service-connected, permanent and final, was and is a huge deal. We–me and my family–are all so grateful.”
DAV took away the hassle that Frohardt had feared in pursuing his VA disability rating.
“They made it so easy,” said Frohardt. “All I had to do was show up, give them the info I already had, and let them do the rest.”
Frohardt recently became a DAV life member.
“I should have done it much sooner, given all that DAV has done for me and my family.”