Stillwater News Press

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July 5, 2013

Courage Under Fire: Jack Hesser

STILLWATER, Okla. — A star of Payne County was also in the conclusion of the Korean War.

Jack Hesser is the owner of Starr Valley Stables, which is the home of the Turning Point Ranch program, and is a Stillwater veteran. Even though Hesser said he wasn’t in the Army long, he gained a lot of experience while in the service.

Hesser was in the Army for approximately two years and was involved with the Korean War. Hesser said he was involved with mortars and was part of a guided missle outfit when he was sent to the south part of Chicago in Gary, Ind.

After spending time in Indiana, Hesser said he was deployed to Korea.

“I went over to Korea and had to choke up and down the rice paddies,” Hesser said. “Sleeping outside when it was 20 below and that was back in ’55 and ’56.”

Hesser was attending Oklahoma State University and pursuing an architectural degree when he decided to enlist in the Army. He said he went against his mom’s wishes but felt it was the right thing to do.

He had a friend who decided to enlist and once his friend decided to go Hesser said he didn’t think twice about his decision. He knew he was supposed to enlist.

“I felt it was a duty,” Hesser said. “I was in college and friend of mine lived in the west side of town and were friends forever. My friend said he needed to go, and I felt I needed to go and serve the country.”

After going through his basics and being transferred to a few areas spread out across the county, Hesser saidhe Army sent him east to Korea.

Although he didn’t see  much fighting or action, Hesser said there was a constant battle the Army had to deal with halfway across the world. Hesser said the biggest battle was the weather.

On Easter Sunday, he said his group had to walk 16 miles somewhere else to set up camp. The weather was wet and cold and Hesser said he never knew what he was going to wake up to while visiting Korea.

“You might wake up and have to do maneuvers,” Hesser said. “But you might wake up and have six or seven inches of snow on top of your sleeping bag because we slept outside.”

Hesser didn’t complain about his time or the weather. The Army, he said, took care of its members. He said it supplied a hot meal every day, no matter where they were located. He said it was incredible how no matter what the situation was, he was provided a hot meal.

He said his appreciation for the United States increased after being a part of the Army for two years. Hesser said he thought every person should have to serve his or her country for two years. He said he thought there would be a deeper respect for this country if everyone had to serve.

Hesser said his experience serving the country is something he never will forget. The knowledge he attained and the love he developed for the United States is something that is immeasurable. Even though it may seem like a long time ago, he can still remember vaguely his time in service.

“I still remember my service number,” Hesser said. “Five-four-one-six-nine-zero-five-five, sir.”


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