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Patriotic Article
Military
By Ian Graham

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Veteran's Reflections: Third-Generation Sailor Recalls Service
(November 30, 2010)

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John Gainer, a former naval officer, poses for a Surface Warfare Officers' School photo in Newport, R.I. in 1993. Photo courtesy of John Gainer
John Gainer, a former naval officer, poses for a Surface Warfare Officers' School photo in Newport, R.I. in 1993. Photo courtesy of John Gainer
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2010 – As a third-generation Navy man, John Gainer knew what kind of commitment and dedication it would take when he accepted a commission in 1992.

“Service to our country is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen of the United States,” he said. “It's one thing my father taught me, and his father had taught him. It was something that was taught to us through our family -- that service and dedication to the cause of freedom is something to be upheld.”

While he was serving aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf following Operation Desert Shield, Gainer said, he was reminded almost daily of that dedication to service as he oversaw maritime intercept missions. He and his crew were a part of the Mideast Force's naval blockade in 1994. If an incoming ship was thought to have cargo violating United Nations sanctions on Iraq, it was up to them to go through the ship's hold to find it.

Gainer said some of his most vivid memories come from long days and nights, watching his crew dig through boxes and crates searching for contraband
“Sometimes we would spend eight, 10, 12 hours out on a ship, going through crates and boxes, making sure there was nothing illegal being transported to Iraq,” he said. “Their dedication to that mission was most impressive to me.”
But the best glimpse into Gainer's own dedication to his country comes in his humility about it. While some brag and boast of the great things they did while in uniform, Gainer said he was just happy to be able to work for the nation and, as he put it, “the cause of freedom.”

“I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to serve -- to serve the American people and to defend the Constitution of the United States,” he said.
By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
American Forces Press Service
Copyright 2010

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