A Family Military Tradition: The More the Merrier

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LINCOLN AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – As a seven-year-old child, Brent Frohner had been staying at an American-sponsored orphanage in Vietnam for about three years. Frohner remembers the day he found out that he and his brother Brett were to be adopted by an American family. He didn’t know what it all meant, but he was excited because he was going to have a new mom and dad and he would help start a family tradition.

And a family tradition it is. Bill Frohner, Frohner’s dad, served and Frohner’s brother, Tech Sgt. Bret Frohner, and his sister, Master Sgt. Beth Williamsen, are active members of the Air National Guard as well.

Tech. Sgt. Brent Frohner, a resource advisor with the 155th Maintenance Operations Flight, credits his dad’s experiences which helped shape his future. Brent's dad, was in the Nebraska Air National Guard for 37 years as a crew chief. He cited how it had an impact on him.

“He was very proud of the guard and he would always tell us kids when we were ready to enlist to join the guard,” Frohner said. “The funny thing is we would joke about it and I would say I’m not joining, but dad would say it’s too late. I've already given them your name.”

It just so happened that Frohners dad's prediction was right. When he was coming upon high school graduation he didn’t have a clear-cut plan.

“I knew I wanted to go to college, but had no clue how I was going to pay for it,” Frohner said. “My other siblings were already in the guard by that time and I thought it’s not too bad. Then I decided to talk to a recruiter and give it a try.”

Frohner’s decision to join the Nebraska Air National Guard is something he’s glad about because of all the experiences it has given him.

“It started as a family tradition and I could've stopped after the six years, but then decided that there’s an opportunity to be part of something better,” Frohner said. “You can still serve your country, be part of a team of value and meet great people.”

The impact of living in America and the opportunities given to Frohner is something he wouldn’t change. He has used those opportunities to help his biological family in Vietnam, who he still stays in contact.

“He raised a couple thousand dollars and brought it to an orphanage in Vietnam,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gerald Dorn, 155th Force development superintendent. “He sends back money to his brothers and sisters. They just love it when he comes back to the town over there.”

Thankful for everything and with a smile on his face, Frohner said he embraces both sides of his upbringing.

“I love my life because I have two cultures and two families and I wouldn’t trade it,” Frohner said. “I always think it’s important to share your story and experience. My life has not been easy. There was struggle and changes, but overall it’s been great. That opportunity being able to be here is enough for me.”