Former Hanahan student dies in Afghanistan

  • Thursday, August 7, 2014

Photo Provided Staff Sgt. Girard Gass Jr. died of non-combat related injuries in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. Girard Gass Jr., 33, formerly of Hanahan, died August 3, 2014 of non-combat related injuries in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.

The cause of death for the Green Beret is under investigation.

Gass’ hometown was listed as Lumber Bridge, N.C., but the Post and Courier has reported he attended Hanahan High and played football there.

Gass was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was Gass’ second deployment to Afghanistan in support of Overseas Contingency Operations.

Gass’ battalion commander, Lt. Col. Patrick O’Hara, said in an email: “Staff Sgt. Girard ‘Jerry’ Gass was an exceptional Green Beret, noncommissioned officer, and human being who loved his family, team, country, and job with everything he had.”

Gass enlisted in the Army in August 2008 under the Special Forces Enlistment Option. Upon completion of Army Basic Combat and Advanced Individual Training, the Army Basic Airborne Course and the Special Forces Qualification Course, he reported to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant in August of 2011.

O’Hara concluded his email by saying: “He made the ultimate sacrifice for what he loved, and we are all proud, honored, and humbled to have known him, and will always cherish the time we all served together,” said O’Hara. “The Desert Eagles and I will always honor his life, memory, and selfless service. He will never be forgotten.”

Gass’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal with “V” device, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (second award) and National Defense Service Medal. Gass was posthumously awarded his second Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

He was also awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 2), Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.

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