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Mesilla Valley roots lead to Sunshine State for U.S. Marine brigadier general

Phillip N. Frietze ’91 is a Mesilla Valley native whose family has a long history in the region dating back to the 1840s.

Frietze grew up on the family farm, graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1984 and worked his way through NMSU. He served in the ROTC and earned his business degree before entering the USMC Officer Candidate School.

The son of a U.S. Marine, Frietze spent the last 29 years serving in all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, with command and staff assignments at all levels. In 2020, Frietze was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and is the Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces South in Florida.

“One of the most crucial things is the ability to truly listen,” Frietze says. “Understand the key elements of what you’re trying to accomplish, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be humble. Humility and gratefulness will help you appreciate what others have to teach you.”

NMSU is a family tradition. Frietze’s father insisted his sons get a university degree, and all three are NMSU graduates. Frietze met his wife, Kathy, at NMSU, and they have four children.