By Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Qualls Jr.November 30, 2007
Sgt. Frank Gervascio, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, like many Soldiers overseas, talked with someone back in the United States on Thanksgiving. The person on the other end of the line of Gervascio's conversation though wasn't a friend or a relative - it was the president of the United States.
Gervascio got the unique opportunity to talk to the president by being selected by his chain of command to be one of the service members the president calls on Thanksgiving Day. Factors such as multiple deployments, being a "Soldier of the Year" level performer and being well spoken were some of the criteria used in the selection process. Gervascio is on his fourth deployment and is the senior line medic for 2nd Bn., 504th PIR.
"It was very nerve wracking," Gervascio said of his approximately 15 minute conversation with the commander in chief. "(But) he made it so it was a normal conversation. He didn't make it seem awkward. It was a conversation that flowed pretty smoothly."
One of the topics discussed during Gervascio's conversation with the president was about parachute jumping and he also thanked Gervascio for his four tours of duty during their conversation. "He appreciated my service and I appreciated his," Gervascio said.
"He also said he wanted to wish everyone happy holidays," he said.
As the end of their conversation neared, Gervascio said he told the president, "As someone who has served four tours and seen a lot of casualties, I'm willing to do another one. I believe in the cause."
Gervascio added that he also told the president that his Family prays for him and the first lady, noting that the president said he would pass the message to Laura.
"(I feel) very honored and privileged to talk with the president.
"Our conversation just confirmed what I always thought -that he's a very good man," Gervascio said.