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Gasser shares experience in Middle East PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:00 PM


Herald Correspondent

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Chief Petty Officer Randy Gasser, US Navy Retired, gave a most interesting presentation for Veterans Day at the Jennings Local Schools. His first group included fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders and the second presentation was made to the members of the senior class. Gasser really held the interest of both groups and answered many questions.


Gasser first entered the Navy in 1982 and served until 1990; from 1990-96, he served in the US Navy Reserves; took a break, and again served in the Reserves from 2000-12. During those 24 years, he served in 41 countries. It was in the year 2000 that he was first deployed to the Middle East. He was deployed five different times.


Most people think of Navy duty as being on a ship and on the water but he spent a great deal of time on land and it was hot. The temperature reached 120 degrees or higher. Gasser said during those 12-16 hours in the desert, they drank 25 bottles of water and used the bathroom only once during that time. They would soon be dehydrated if they didn’t drink all that water. Gasser let students try on the heavy vest they wore for protection, plus all the other pounds of clothing and the heavy gear they carried.

Gasser brought along their “food” to demonstrate what the MRE rations were like. MRE means Meals Ready to Eat. These meals were not too tasty but they had little packs of red hots, Tobasco sauce or strawberry jam to add to the food. These dried rations had a shelf life of 10 years.

They were sometimes visited by huge black scorpions. There were mice and if you had mice, then you had snakes, too.

Gasser served aboard several ships and told that an aircraft carrier was the length of three football fields and carried 5,000 men and women, along with 92 jet planes and helicopters. He said an aircraft carrier was the most dangerous place to serve, although it was like a city on a ship.

He brought to their attention the list of veterans on the honor wall in the Jennings Memorial Hall. This list has 554 names of men and women from the Fort Jennings community that have served their country in the Civil War, the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and all the other wars since that time, although they don’t call them “wars” anymore but conflicts or something like that.

Gasser had students model some of the clothing worn by the residents in those Middle Eastern countries. The headwear for the men with those long scarves is to help keep off the heat. He showed a beautiful black dress with white embroidery for the women, plus all the veils and face covering the women wear when out in public because of the Moslem religion. The clothing worn by the women sure would not keep them cool.

Punishments for sins in the Moslem countries are very, very severe. A man found guilty of adultery can land in jail but a woman caught for adultery is “stoned.”

Following the presentation, the students gave Randy “Thanks!” for the wonderful presentation and a big “Thank You!” for serving our country to keep all of us free.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:00 PM

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