WO1 Curtis M. Gaskins was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 04/13/2006 at the age of 61.7 from Drowned
Naperville, IL
Flight Class 67-21
Date of Birth 07/19/1944
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 188 AHC in 68, D/101 AVN 101 ABN in 68
This information was provided by Richard Green, Kari Christiansen (daughter)

More detail on this person: Drowned in the Pacific Ocean while trying to save his granddaughter from a rip tide.

I regret to inform you that we recently lost our father, Curt Gaskins in an accident. I know that he attended a reunion last summer and was excited that he was able to reconnect with many of you. I'm not sure how to get in touch with any individual members, so I thought this was at least an attempt to pass on the news. We are proud of our Dad's service to our country. He lived a hero and died trying to save the life of his grandchild. The following news story in the local paper today. I wanted to share it with you.

From: Kari Christiansen

Monday, April 17, 2006 NEWS

Naperville man dies 'a hero' trying to save granddaughter

Daily Herald Staff Writer

Posted Monday, April 17, 2006

Curt Gaskins loved his family so much, he gave his life trying to protect them. Family members are remembering the Naperville stockbroker as a hero. The 61-year-old father of three died Thursday trying to rescue one of his grandchildren from a Pacific Ocean riptide."It's very shocking. It's horrible," said his daughter, Kari Christiansen of Westchester. "At the same time, he died a hero going to save those kids, and I know he'd do it again even if he knew what would happen."

A grandfather of six, Gaskins and his wife, Peggy, were vacationing in California and visiting their daughter, Gimi Herren, son-in-law Paul and four grandchildren. Timed to coincide with spring break, the family rented an oceanfront house in Morro Bay, Calif.

Spending the day enjoying sunny weather at Atascadero State Beach, one of the grandchildren, 15-year-old Taylor, got caught in a rip current after she was pulled off her bodyboard.

Curt Gaskins rushed into the water to help, Christiansen said. As he swam under Taylor to try to free her from the tide, he became caught in the current. His grandson, 13-year-old Ryan, joined the rescue effort and managed to free his sister from the wave, Christiansen said.

Harbor patrol officers, state parks rangers, San Luis Obispo County Fire Department and Morro Bay Police officials rushed to the scene.The private beach had no lifeguards, Christiansen said.

Emergency crews found Curt Gaskins about 100 yards offshore.He was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and pronounced dead, said Harbor Patrol Officer Evan Buddenhagen, who was among those who helped recover the Naperville man from the water.

"It's a tragic accident, and all of us at the city send our condolences to the family," Buddenhagen said. Rip currents, described as waves that find a channel to travel back into the ocean and become a strong current that pushes offshore, aren't unusual, he said.

"They happen everywhere in the world, on every beach, every day," Buddenhagen said. "Anytime anybody goes into the water without proper safety gear, then you can get into trouble without knowledge of water safety."

Curt Gaskins, also father of Tami Gaskins of Oak Park, was a stockbroker at David A. Noyes in Chicago. A Vietnam veteran, he was humble and did things for others silently without looking for recognition, Christiansen said.

"He's a hero, and he saved his grandchildren," she said. "He's just such a good man, and we're proud that he's our father."

Visitation will be Wednesday at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Home in Naperville from 4 - 8 pm. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday at Community United Methodist Church in Naperville at 11 am. Exact times have not yet been determined.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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