HASTINGS, NE, USA U.S. Army 1LT, TROOP B, 5TH SQUADRON, 73D CAVALRY, 3 BCT, (25 ID), FORT BRAGG, NC AS SADAH VILLAGE, IRAQ 04/23/2007
1st Lieutenant Kevin J. Gaspers was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska by his parents Pam and John Gaspers. He grew up with his two younger sisters, Katie and Audrey Gaspers. He grew up working with his father, loved hunting, fishing, and sports. He was such a great man, such a gentleman. We are all so lucky to have known such a beautiful person. He will hold a special part in all of our hearts forever.
He graduated from St. Cecilia High School in 2000, where he was an honor roll student and an exceptional athlete competing in football and wrestling. Not to mention, the best life long friend anyone could ever ask for.
He attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting as Cadet Battalion Commander in the Army ROTC.
Kevin was a Scout Platoon Leader with 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg. He was a great leader, but was one of nine paratroopers that were killed April 23, 2007 in a suicide truck bombing attack on the U.S. patrol base in the Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
In the gymnasium of St. Cecilia High School (where Kevin graduated) hangs a tribute of him. On the left hangs a plaque entitled “The Armour of God.” On the right is an artifact of an In loving Memory photo of Kevin.
The framed letter posted under his photo reads:
On March 25th, 2007, Kevin Gaspers arrived from home for leave from Iraq. He was home for two weeks and then left on April 10th back to Iraq. During this time Kevin’s 26th birthday fell on Easter, which was April 8th. On April 14th John and Pam attended B.L.U.E., which is a fund raising event for the Hastings Catholic Schools. During the evening Father Meysenburg asked the people to remember Kevin Gaspers and Zach Cannon, who are St. Cecilia alumni and stationed in Iraq, to pray for them and their safety. The Live Auction contained a plaque entitled “The Armour of God” that had been donated by Sondra Jonson. She is a renowned artist and the plaque illustrates the famous passage from Ephesians. The winning bidder was to donate the plaque back to the Catholic Schools. John and Pam were the highest bidder.
Needless to say, they never read the plaque during B.L.U.E. On April 23, 2007, Kevin was killed in As Sadah, Iraq by two suicide dump trucks. Kevin’s troop was heading out on a mission and was attacked by small arms fire and hand grenades from the south of the makeshift base. They went inside the building to regroup and call for more fire power. At the same time, from the north, came the two dump trucks. One truck burst though the concrete barricades and the second one came from behind and pushed the first one closer to the building. The trucks exploded and a section of the 2-story building collapsed on the men killing 9 in all and injuring 20 more. This was the worst tragedy in the 82nd Airborne in 40 years!
When Kevin’s body was flown in we had the plaque waiting at the funeral home for display next to Kevin’s coffin. This was the first time we read the plaque and felt “how fitting it was for a soldier.” It just seemed that this plaque was meant for us. Several weeks later we received Kevin’s personal items from Iraq. In one of the footlockers was his Army Issued Pocket Bible, which had been on him at the time of his death. As Pam was going through the pages of the Bible, she came across “The Armour of God” passage and Kevin had circled it. We felt this was more than a coincidence. Kevin never knew we bought that plaque as we had not been able to communicate with him since his arrival back in Iraq due to excessive fighting in the area and all communications had been cut off.
To us this is a sign from God that he is taking care of Kevin and his men!