On December 1, 2018, The Wingman Foundation, together with Gold Star Families, will gather at 9 a.m. at Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi, Texas to honor fallen Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet pilot, Capt. Jake “Red Stripe” Frederick. Runners — including Jake’s widow, Kiley, and his two children, Colt and Mayley, extended family, friends, and supporting members of the community — will take their marks for the first annual Red Stripe Memorial Run. And, if we know anything about the camaraderie of the aviation community, support will be loud and proud and show up in overwhelming numbers.
The run includes options for a 5K, 10K, remote run, and a kids’ fun run, in which even the littlest racers can stride alongside the Red Stripe Kids (RSK), Colt and Mayley as they run for their daddy. Funds raised from donations and race registration benefit The Wingman Foundation, enabling it to continue to serve the families of fallen members of the Navy and Marine aviation community.
To register for any race category, visit the registration page on The Wingman Foundation website. If you cannot run or choose not to run in the Red Stripe Memorial Run, but would still like to support the Frederick family and The Wingman Foundation in its mission to “never leave a wingman behind,” there is an option to donate as well.
The first annual Red Stripe Memorial run is a way we can all surround the Frederick family with our support as they approach the anniversary of Jake’s death. At the age of 32, Jake’s F/A-18 Hornet tragically went down off the coast of mainland Japan on December 8, 2016, while he was deployed with VMFA-115.
Jake’s untimely death that took him from his wife and young son, just weeks before the birth of his daughter, echoed loudly throughout the tight-knit Marine Corps aviation community.
We all feel the pit in our stomachs when the text saying “safe on deck” is late.
We fear the uninvited knock at the door at the hand of casualty assistance and command that precedes news no one can ever truly prepare for. We don’t have to know Kiley or her resilient children firsthand to see ourselves and our children in their eyes and marvel at the strength they demonstrate on a daily basis.
It’s been said more times than we can ever count, always with a swell of pride, “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” but we like to think the same rings true for Marine spouses and Marine kids as well. Their Jake had to fly on ahead of Kiley, Colt, and Mayley, and that is an unthinkable pain many of us will never truly understand. But, if there is one thing we do understand clearly in this community, it is the pricelessness of support. We show up for each other. We encourage. We protect our own, and no one gets left behind.
So, on December 1st, whether you’re running in Jake’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas or running remotely anywhere around the globe, sign up, share, and show up in support of this Gold Star Family. Help them never to forget the spot they will always have in our Marine Corps family, and surround them with beautiful new memories of their husband and father.
Photo Credits: Kiley Frederick | The Wingman Foundation