Jamerson said the experience did wear on his mental state some.
“I don’t want to speak like I was in hand-to-hand combat. I was not, but when you’re dealing with a hostile situation, of course, you always want to be concerned and cautious. I don’t want to serve with anybody who has no fear in them. If you’re never scared, then you’re not going to be cautious. You throw caution to the wind. So we all have concerns,” he said.
“Even though we did gas mask training every year ever since I went into the military, I wondered how long I could keep the mask on. During training, you may keep it on for a minute, no longer than five minutes. I found out when the Scuds were flying that I could keep it on as long as needed, be it five minutes, five hours or 24 hours,” he said.
Jamerson continued, “Surely it was stressful. The living conditions were, of course, different in the sense that we slept in bays. You didn’t have your individual rooms. You slept in bays with everybody. In the desert, we slept in tents.”
Despite it all, Jamerson, who retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1996 with more than 28 years of combined service, said he felt it was his duty to serve.
“Actually, I did not have to serve in combat. I am a bonafide sole surviving son. My father was an only child, and I’m an only child. But, I mean, it was a call to duty. It’s something you felt you had to do,” Jamerson said.