Friends, Family Remember Serviceman Slain in Philippines With AM-Philippines
May. 14, 1990
CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) _ A serviceman shot to death in the Philippines was mourned Monday as a victim of seemingly irrational political violence.
On the day U.S. and Philippine negotiators began discussing the future of American military in that country, about 450 people gathered at the Church of the Nativity to remember Gunnery Sgt. John Fredette, 34.
The Most Rev. Joseph F. Maguire, urged the bereaved to abandon thoughts of revenge and enshrine Fredette in their memories.
''If his goodness will go on ... then he will not have died in vain,'' said Maguire, bishop of the Springfield diocese.
Fredette was attacked by gunmen May 4 in a nightclub district in Olangapo, a town 50 miles west of Manila.
Two airmen were killed Sunday, bringing to eight the number of U.S. servicemen killed in such attacks since April 1989.
Philippine officials have arrested two men in connection with Fredette's death, but there has been speculation they were not involved. The U.S. government is investigating.
Fredette's shooting followed threats in Philippine newspapers that an American serviceman would be killed before the talks on extending the leases of six U.S. military bases in the country. No claims of responsibility were made following Fredette's shooting, but U.S. officials believe rebels were responsible.
Fredette's casket was carried past the Mount Carmel school, which he once attended. He was buried in the nearby western Massachusetts town of South Hadley.
The bishop described Fredette as a ''vital and sparkling'' man who was taken by ''the cruel and irrational act of violence.''
Family members have described Fredette as an athlete and a man dedicated to a military career.
''It's sad. I just want the assailants brought to justice. That's about all we can do here,'' his brother, Mark Fredette, has said.
Fredette had been living in Buena Park, Calif., with his wife, Julie. He left the United States last month for a six-month tour in Japan, Hawaii and the Philippines.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his parents, Armand and Augustine Fredette of Chicopee, three brothers and five sisters.