Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a measure renaming a section of Route 63 in the town of Pavilion for George Harold Fry, a native of Pavilion who was killed while serving in Vietnam.
The SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway will stand as a testament to Fry’s heroism and commitment to his country and freedom, said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, R-Batavia, who, along with state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, sponsored legislation marking the designation of the highway.
“It’s fitting that this highway is being memorialized at the same time we’re remembering those who served on Veterans Day,” Hawley said in a news release.
The legislation passed both houses of the state Legislature in June.
U.S. Army Specialist 4 George Harold Fry was a 1961 graduate of Pavilion Central School. He was posthumously inducted into the Pavilion Central School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2017.
Fry was killed in action on July 11, 1969, along with 20 other members of the 506th Infantry during combat on Hill 996 in the Shau Valley of Vietnam. He was 25 years old.
Fry’s actions that day are credited with saving the lives of many other members of his unit.
He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.
“Specialist Fry gave his life defending his brothers in arms,” Borrello said. “He is he is a decorated war hero who served his country with honor and distinction. Dedicating this highway in his name is one small way we can honor the courage, dedication and ultimate sacrifice of this American hero.”
Fry served with D Company, 1st Battalion, 506th infantry, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.
As a radio-telephone operator (RTO), it was his duty to maintain radio contact between his unit, other platoons and Battalion Command.
Fry and his company were advancing along a trail on July 11, 1969, when they encountered a heavy volume of enemy small arms, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire from an enemy force of unknown size in well-fortified positions.
During the battle, two RTOs were killed. Fry left the safety of cover to re-establish communication between platoons during the battle, placing himself in jeopardy.
Fry’s actions enabled his commanding officer to call in artillery support, coordinate the U.S. counter assault and evacuate the wounded. Continuously under fire, Fry kept transmitting until he too was shot and killed. His company suffered more than 50% casualties.
Survivors said were it not for Fry, many more U.S. troops would have been killed or wounded.
For gallantry in action, Fry received the Silver Star Medal. He also received the Bronze Star Medal for outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force during the period of Oct. 22, 1968 to July 11, 1969.
He received the Presidential Unit Citation for Operation Snow for the period of May 10 through May 21, 1969, in the Shau Valley.
On May 16, 2007, Fry was designated a Distinguished Member of the 506th Infantry Regiment.
While a student at Pavilion Central School, Fry played on the basketball and football teams, and was a member of Future Farmers of America. Outside of school, he was a member of the Boy Scouts and spent much of his free time working on his uncle’s/grandfather’s farm.
He attended Alfred Agricultural and Technical College where he was a member of its National Rifle Association championship team. He graduated with an associate’s degree and married high school classmate Barbara Loveland in 1965.
In 1968, Fry was drafted into the U.S. Army. He began his tour in Vietnam on Oct. 22, 1968.
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