Sunday, August 14, 2005

Army Specialist Gary L. Reese, Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Gary L. Reese, Jr., 22, of Ashland City, Tennessee.

Spc Reese died of injuries sustained on August 13, 2005, in Tuz, Iraq, while he was conducting a mounted patrol his HMMWV came under attack by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 3rd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, McMinnville, Tennessee.

Vehicles of all shapes and sizes lined Highway 12 Saturday morning between Boyd Funeral Home in Ashland City and the Tennessee National Guard Armory to honor a local soldier who died with two others after an attack in Iraq.

Sgt. Gary Reese Jr., of Ashland City, was killed Aug. 14 after a roadside explosive went off near the Humvee he was riding in. Spc. Kevin Downs, of Kingston Springs, was injured in the attack. He is recovering at a Fort Sam Houston hospital in San Antonio, Texas, with burns to 60 percent of his body. His legs were later amputated below the knee because of the severe trauma to his body.

On Saturday, Reese’s friends, family and complete strangers all stood arm to arm along Highway 12 to watch the hearse and police procession wind its way south of town to the armory.

“I didn’t know him,” said Ronnie Burns of Nashville. “When I came back from Vietnam, there were no parades. Many of us were spit on in airports and called names. Our dead weren’t treated any better. I’m glad to see all this support for this young man. Things have sure changed in 35 years.”

The hearse carrying Reese’s body was led by vehicles driven by local law enforcement officials, and the procession included various city, county and state police agencies.

At the armory, a ladder truck from the Ashland City Fire Department flew a large American flag - towering above the passing traffic.
Dr. Sam Creed gave the eulogy at Reese’s service and said the soldier had been a friend to many in the community - both while he attended Cheatham County High School and when he worked at a local food store bagging groceries.

Creed said Reese was a prankster and enjoyed hiding customer’s shopping carts or playing other jokes on them while at the store.
Outside the armory, mourners listened to Creed through a system of speakers.

“It’s great the way everybody turned out today for this,” said Emma Myers of Franklin, Tenn. “I’m just out here to support the family, the community and all our soldiers over in Iraq. I came to wave my flag and thank Sgt. Reese for his sacrifice.”

Army Specialist Gary L. Reese, Jr. was killed in action on 08/14/05.

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