Nash remembers his late brother who served in Middle East
By Rima Austin | November 8, 2018 8:51 am
Last Updated: November 8, 2018 at 11:00 am
After 13 years of aggression toward neighboring countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and spending nine months on the run from the United States, Saddam Hussein was captured hiding in a deep hole nine miles outside his hometown of Tikrit, Iraq, in December of 2003. Sparta native William Nash took part in that capture, nicknamed Operation Red Dawn.
Jerry Nash, William Nash’s younger brother, reminisces about his brother who fought in Desert Storm and was a career United States soldier. He stated that his brother joined the National Guard not long after he graduated White County High School, in 1983. From there he joined the Army and was deployed to the Middle East around the time that Desert Storm was just getting underway.
“He was in the Middle East for the latter part of his life,” said Jerry Nash. “He did get in his 20 years, so he retired. When he came back, the way he passed away, he had several problems with his back, and they couldn’t really decide what it was caused from. After several tests they decided, in fact, that he did have leukemia.”
Jerry Nash went on to say that William Nash passed away, in 2014, from complications while getting treated for the cancer. He said his brother enjoyed being in the military, and one of his greatest accomplishments was being present when Saddam Hussein was captured.
“He didn’t talk to me too much about the details of his job,” said Jerry Nash. “If I understand, he was doing patrol two streets over when the call came in that they found the bunker and that [Hussein] was in it. They basically just had to go in and get him.”
After taking over Iraq’s army, in 1979, Hussein began a war with Iran in the early 1980’s that lasted eight years. During this conflict, Hussein was accused of using nerve agents and mustard gas on Iranian soldiers. In addition to this, he was accused of using chemical weapons on the Kurdish people of Iraq. For these reasons, Hussein was wanted by the United States for crimes against humanity. In the summer of 2003, Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a shooting battle with U.S. soldiers. Five months later, Hussein’s bunker was found and raided.
“Inside of that bunker, if it’s told as I was told, was much of the cash and treasures were inside there with him,” said Jerry Nash.
Jerry Nash went on to say that after his brother’s retirement, he returned to Cookeville and spent at least another year serving with the National Guard. He stated that his brother’s wife had been hired by a company, in Cookeville, and they had plans to stay in this area after her retirement.
“Had this thing with leukemia not come up, I understood he was going to stay here,” said Jerry Nash. “One of his favorite places, though, was Tybee Island, in Georgia. In fact, as per his request, me, my wife, our kids, and his widow went to Tybee Island and sprinkled some of his ashes there.”
Jerry Nash explained the main reason William Nash and his wife returned to the area was to assist his siblings with taking care of their elderly mother. When asked if his mother knew about her son’s life overseas, Jerry Nash said his brother didn’t go into details about his life with anyone, so he doubted that his mother was ever told anything.
“I don’t know that he would have done anything else than what he was doing as a soldier,” said Jerry Nash. “He never complained about it. I think it suited him.”
Jerry Nash stated he is constantly amazed by the love of people and the respect that is given to veterans. He told the story of the time he, his wife, and his brother’s widow could not find a hotel room while visiting Austin, Texas, shortly after William Nash died. He told the hotel staff about having the widow of a soldier in the car.
“Within minutes they had us a room,” he said. “I am just amazed at the love that people have. If, in some way, we can honor him, it would just be wonderful.”