U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Gary Joseph Vasquez was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was killed in 2008 and Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda had been deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was killed in a training exercise in Hawthorne, Nev., in 2013. Stories about these two veterans will follow after I tell you about the dedication of our War Veterans Cabinet scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Highland Home Museum, with the Highland Honor Guard and a 21-gun salute. I also want to tell you about our newest volunteer, Jeanette Gombos.
Gary volunteered for military service in January 2000 as a cavalry scout, with basic training and advanced military training at Fort Knox, Ky. He then was assigned to Troop A, 17th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C. Gary began the Special Forces Course in 2002 and by 2004, had earned his Green Beret as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant. Gary’s many awards and decorations included two Bronze Stars, two Army Commendation Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism, Air Assault Badge and eight other medals.