Green Beret, Hanahan native killed in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Girard Gass Jr.

A U.S. Army Green Beret and Hanahan native was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Girald "Jerry" Gass, Jr., 33, died of noncombat related injuries in Nangarhar Province, according to an Army release.

His death is under investigation.

Gass, a current resident of Lumbar Bridge, N.C., was with Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

This was Gass' second deployment to Afghanistan. He enlisted in 2008.

Gass, a four-year starter at Hanahan High, earned All-Region AA honors three times and was an All-Lowcountry selection his senior season.

The offensive lineman went on to have a successful career playing football at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., including playing on back-to-back Big South Conference championships in 2002 and 2003.

Steve Patton, the head coach of those Runnin' Bulldog championship teams, told The Shelby Star (N.C.) newspaper that Gass was a good fit for the Army.

"The kind of guy he was, so disciplined," Patton told the Star. "He was perfect for the military. He wasn't very outgoing, he was kind of reserved, but one of the better-liked players we had."

Lt. Col. Patrick O'Hara, Gass' battalion commander, said the noncommissioned officer was an exceptional Green Beret.

"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," O'Hara said.

Gass is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, one of which was awarded posthumously.