Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 announces repatriation for Greene County’s PFC Gass

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Just days following Memorial Day, Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 announced an opportunity for citizens to get involved and pay homage for a fallen Northeast Tennessee soldier.
The local chapter announced this week that citizens from the region have a unique opportunity to line streets as Army Private First Class (PFC) Reece Gass is returned to his family and his homeland. Gass was reportedly killed in action in 1945 in Belgium during World War II.
Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville will receive the remains of PFC Gass on Thursday, June 8, at 8:15 p.m. and his remains will be welcomed by family members and Doughty-Stevens Funeral Home in Greene County before his final burial.
As PFC Gass makes his way to the Greeneville funeral home, he will be escorted by different agencies including Army Honor Guard, the local Rolling Thunder Chapter, Dog Tag Brigade, Christian Motorcycle Group, Patriot Guard Riders and other veteran organizations and law enforcement agencies.
Kay Nave, Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 secretary, added that the funeral for Gass will take place at Doughty-Stevens Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, June 10, at 2 p.m. followed by the committal service at Cross Anchor Cemetery where full military honors will be rendered. Visitation for the soldier will be Friday, June 9, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“It’s always great to have the opportunity to honor our veterans,” Nave said.
The secretary added that individuals unable to make it to visitation of the committal service are encouraged to line State Route 75, State Route 36, Boones Creek Road (TN 354) and US 11E to Greeneville as a “salute” to the hearse Thursday night.
Thursday’s repatriation is the second in the span of a year, Nave added. During July 13, Evans Overbey of Erwin, who had family from Elizabethton, was welcomed back at Tri-Cities Airport.
“It is a small token of appreciation we can give to honor those that gave their all for us,” Nave said.
Nave described the backstory of PFC Gass’ remains being discovered as a unique scenario. One family was searching for their loved one’s remains in Europe when teams discovered the remains of the Greene County native — which was confirmed by DNA matching with a relative.
PFC Gass was born July 23, 1924 and grew up in the Cross Anchor community. According to information provided by the Army’s Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency, Gass was a member of Company E, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Vision fighting in Belgium during World War II. It is reported that the Tennessee native lost his life following a barrage of gunfire  on his tank.

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