Team Kingsley Defender champion of Official Military Skate competition

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt Daniel Reed
  • 173FW

Working the gate at Kingsley Field or patrolling the streets of the 173rd Fighter Wing you would never know that Staff Sgt. Erick Fregoso, 173rd Security Forces Squadron, lives a dual life. In his uniform he’s every bit of a Security Forces Defender, kitted out for the job, wearing a meticulously formed beret, but when he isn’t working, he’s a skater.

When he’s not wearing the uniform, he’s pushing around on his skateboard perfecting frontside heelflips, pop shuvit, to name a few, and the 360 Ollie heelflip, his best trick.

“My earliest memory of skateboarding is spending countless hours in my grandma’s garage with my older brother and other neighborhood kids trying to learn how to skateboard,” said Fregoso.

Erick’s older brother rode BMX and was a huge influence on him and he did everything he could to emulate him. The only difference between Erick and his brother was that he took to skateboarding rather than BMX.

Early on in his life skateboarding afforded him some form of accomplishment and “fame” through a couple of sponsorships.  

“I was sponsored in 2012 by two different companies Urban Gold-Las Vegas, and CKST a local brand which made me stickers and hats,” said Fregoso.

Skateboarding provided him with a way to continue pushing his skills to the limit, but he found that it didn’t pay the bills. He was fortunate to know someone in the Oregon Air National Guard who explained the benefits of becoming an Airman. After talking with his friend, he made the decision to join the ORANG and left his board hanging in the garage.

After graduating basic military training and security forces technical school, he found himself spending all his time focusing on learning his new trade and rarely anything else. Working long hours and trying to balance his sleep cycle meant the skateboard stayed in the garage where he left it before shipping off to basic training. Solving his initial financial problem came at the expense of his lifelong passion, but Fregoso refused to give up on skating.

It wasn’t until a recent competition cropped up across the mountains in White City, Oregon, that he stepped back onto his skateboard.

He won that competition, and it took him to Santa Ana, California shortly thereafter. Video of his performance caught the attention of a military skate page and they messaged him saying they, “like all the things you are doing; can you make a one-minute video and send it to us and we will submit you for this competition?”

Fregoso created an audition video and the Official Military Skate in Santa Ana, California, invited him to the competition, Nov. 12th, 2023. He packed his board and few items for the weekend and made the eleven-plus hour drive to OC Ramps in coastal California.

The Official Military Skate competition brings together all military branches to compete in a game of trick-for-trick. One person leads with a trick and subsequent skaters attempt to mimic it. Think the basketball game HORSE but on a skateboard; naturally skaters call it SKATE. If you fail, you get a letter and when you can spell SKATE, you are eliminated.

Fregoso skated well making the final round against the three-time champion. He squared off against Space Force Airman Jemel Thomas and things took a turn for the worse. Fregoso trailed, failed four tricks consecutively and had the letters, S, K, A, T, one letter from the end of the competition.

Somehow, those years in his grandma’s garage with the neighborhood skaters, helped him hold on. He performed a barrage of tricks staving off elimination and saw his opponent miss four tricks as well. With the match tied at S, K, A, T, he threw down the switch front-side big spin. With that trick he dethroned the reigning champion.

With his trophy in hand, Fregoso returned to Kingsley Field where he continues to provide security for the base while serving the state of Oregon.