Jason Licht Gets A Purple Heart

August 1st, 2014

A fan surprises Jason Licht

Usually, Joe is a cranky cuss in the morning, especially if he had a couple of cold ones the night before, and certainly before his morning ration of caffeine has kicked in. That’s why Joe’s most emotional rants often happen first thing in the morning.

Today, there’s no room for being petty, at least not to start off this fine Friday. Joe stumbled across the following accidentally and was taken aback. Never heard of such a thing before.

Yesterday, the Bucs had a surprise visitor and no, it wasn’t Peter King of theMMQB.com, though he did show up. And, no, it wasn’t Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network, though he showed up, too.

The surprise visitor was a retired Marine, Joshua Frey (Joe isn’t sure Frey retired as a Marine, but Joe knows better than to refer to a Marine as “former.”). Frey, a hardcore Bucs fan, is a two-time Purple Heart recipient while serving in Iraq.

Frey gave one of his Purple Heart medals to Bucs general manager Jason Licht as a debt of gratitude of sorts for all the things the Bucs have done over the years to help and assist military service men and women. Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com has the rest.

“I’ve thought about this a lot since I got out – what can I give to help somebody else?” said Frey, who was wounded in 2004 and was eventually released from the hospital in 2008. “I’ve been a Bucs fan all my life and I decided I wanted to give this to somebody here with the Buccaneers. At first, [Licht] was like, ‘No, you’re not giving us your Purple Heart!’ He wanted to give it back to me but I wouldn’t take it. See, this is my way of healing, too. It’s not fun to get a Purple Heart, but it’s fun to give it to somebody else. It’s not about me… there are guys out there with Purple Heart medals, and that’s all they’ve got. They did heroic things and they just have one ribbon.

“It means a lot to me to show [Licht] that this is a ‘team’ thing, for the Buccaneers and for those of us who have served. The community is behind this team, and especially the veterans.”

Frey elected to join the Marines in 2003 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He was awarded his first Purple Heart in November of 2004 when he was knocked unconscious and suffered other wounds from an RPG blast. Less than a month later, he took his more serious wound when he got into a gunfight with an Iraqi soldier while clearing a house in Fallujah. The two combatants shot each other and Frey was dragged away by his fellow soldiers and loaded into a Humvee. He needed six blood transfusions to keep him alive and eventually underwent 22 operations. The nerve damage in his right arm makes it difficult for him to feel his fingers at times and to fully grip things.

A Bucs camera caught the exchange between Licht and Frey. You can see by Licht’s face how taken he was.

There really isn’t much to add to this other than it was an over-the-top gesture by Frey. A guy who gave so much to his country, and is still giving.

The only word Joe can think of is “class.”

19 Responses to “Jason Licht Gets A Purple Heart”

  1. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    Joshua Frey, thank you for your service to our country. Your the type of person that makes this country of ours great. God bless you.

  2. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Wow! Awesome story!

  3. Buccfan37 Says:

    I missed the flyover of the jet fighters as the purple heart was awarded to the Bucs brass. USA!

  4. Patrick in VA Says:

    Awesome story to start the day off. I’ve deployed 3 times since joining the military and I can say that a great deal of the morale that is built during the down times while our men and women are down range revolves around watching and talking about our favorite sports teams back home. While I’ve taken quite a bit of good-natured flack in recent years over our team’s woeful showings, just being able to keep up with things that are actively happening in the world you know, and left behind, helps to people feel more engaged and makes getting through that time away a little easier.

    Not sure if Mr. Frey is a JBF reader but, if so, thanks for your service sir.

    Semper Fi.

  5. Jim Walker Says:

    My dad had 2, and is at peace at Arlington now. Go Bucs!

  6. Harry Says:

    Joshua Frey, thank you for your service to our country. Awesome story.

    Thank you for your service to our country.

  7. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Harry – Thank you. Didn’t mean to make it about me, just wanted to establish some credibility when stating what the far reaching effects that sports has

  8. Diehard_Bob Says:


  9. biff barker Says:

    Football is so small compared to serving your country on foreign soil. I’m not sure this is the appropriate thing to do with the medal. But, If this gesture helps the soldier to heal throughout, accepting it is the right thing to do.

    God Bless and thanks to Mr. Fey, Patrick and countless others.

  10. tickrdr Says:

    To Joshua Frey, Patrick in Va, and ALL your comrades in arms; I salute you and thank you for your service to our country. Our family prays for the safety of our armed forces every day.


  11. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    You are absolutely right Diehard_Bob – RESPECT! These young men and women were not force to serve for us. Yet, they sacrifice themselves to promote balance and RESPECT for us and the rest of the world.

    @Patrick – we know you were not trying to make it about you. But thank you for serving for us. This is a great way to deliver our gratitude through this media were we share a common passion – Bucs Football.

    @Joshua Frey – thanks for serving and sharing back again with the public in this special way!

    @ Joe thanks for sharing! This is a great way to start August. The month for preseason games, Baby!

    RESPECT – Lovie’s way with Buccaneer Men! Go Bucs!

  12. thegregwitul Says:

    What an awesome story, thanks for posting it Joe!

  13. jvato24 Says:

    the only word I can think of is hero, hopefully someone pays attention to what he says about these guys needing support

  14. Capt Tim, back from Davie Jones locker Says:

    Thank You, Sir , for your service. A debt that can’t be repayed.
    And Bless the Bucs and Vincent Jackson for their great loyality and respect they have for our troops!

    Tremendous Story Joe! Thank you

  15. Orlampa Turd in Orlampa Says:

    “Former Marine” is perfectly fine, just don’t call them an “ex-Marine.” My old man was a former Marine and Vietnam vet – Semper Fi.

  16. Joe Says:

    “Former Marine” is perfectly fine, just don’t call them an “ex-Marine.”

    Ah, OK. Joe always thought once a Marine, always a Marine.

  17. Neill Says:

    Played basketball with Josh in high school. I will make sure he sees the article and your wonderful comments. Proud that he is still my friend 15 years latter.


    Brought tears to my eyes!!!

  19. JB Skiff Says:

    Best story in a long time. To all above who served our country, I salute you and Gunny Frey! This old army Sargent’s (Vietnam) heat beat proudly in my chest. Thank’s also to the Bucs for all they do for the wounded service members.