Andrew H McConnell
September 14, 2009
Killed when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device Sept. 14 in southern Afghanistan.
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September 21, 2009
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September 22, 2009
|Followed dad’s footsteps
The Associated Press
Andrew McConnell’s fellow soldiers remembered him as a walking encyclopedia, able to recite random trivia at any moment and a man with an intense personality.
“He was 100 mph, 100 percent of the time,” Staff Sgt. Philip McIlroy said during McConnell’s eulogy.
McConnell, 24, of Carlisle, Pa., died Sept. 14 in southern Afghanistan when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., and although he listed Carlisle as his hometown, he considered the northwest home.
He was the son of a military man and moved around a lot he was born in California, went to high school in Italy and attended Georgia Military College. His sister Ashlee said Washington was his true home. It was where he met his wife, Sarah, who is expecting the couple’s first child.
Ashlee McConnell said her brother was married for only seven months before his death, but said “they were seven months that made Andrew the happiest man in the world, and they were seven months that I know Andrew is thanking God for right now in Heaven.”
McConnell enlisted in 2005 and was on his first deployment. His father, Col. Gregory “Scott” McConnell, previously was deployed to Iraq.
In addition to his wife, father and sister, McConnell is survived by his mother and three other sisters.
|From The Sentinel cumberlink.com
Funeral services set for fallen soldier
Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell to be buried in Kent, Wash.
By staff reports, September 21, 2009
Funeral services for Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell, who died in Afghanistan on Sept. 14, will be held on Tuesday in Kent, Wash.
McConnell, 24, whose father, Scott, was an Army War College graduate in 2006 and whose three of five sisters graduated from Carlisle High School, died from wounds he suffered during an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion while on duty in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.
Col. McConnell said his son is survived by his wife Sarah of Fort Lewis, Wash. The couple married in December 2008. Also, survivors include his mother Kathy, and sisters Ashlee, Amanda, Alecia, Abbey and Amelia.
McConnell had reported to Fort Lewis in Washington on Jan. 31, 2007, where he was assigned to the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. This was his first deployment.
The funeral will begin at 1 p.m. with services at Kent Covenant Church in Kent, Wash., with a burial at Tahoma National Cemetery. A memorial service will also be held on Thursday morning at Fort Lewis for both McConnell and 1st Lt. David T. Wright II, 26, of Moore, Okla., who was also killed in the same explosion.
In lieu of flowers, McConnell had requested that donations go to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a national organization working to raise public awareness about the needs of severely-injured soldiers and to help injured soldiers assist each other.
A memorial fund to help McConnell’s wife, Sarah, and their unborn baby has been set up at Key Bank in Kent. Donations can be sent to: Key Bank, 505 West Meeker Street, Kent, Wash. 98032.
|From US Army army.mil
RCV welding positioner honors McConnell legacy
By Ms. Lindsay M Bryant (AMC)November 29, 2012
LETTERKENNY ARMY DEPOT, Chambersburg, Pa.--A new route clearance vehicle welding positioner at Letterkenny Army Depot was dedicated to the memory of Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash. in a ceremony at the maintenance facility on Nov. 28.
To the crowd of local officials, depot employees, friends and family, depot commander Col. Victor S. Hagan acknowledged that McConnell was a hero, a young man willing to devote his life to service to country.
"May we use this time to recognize his honorable and faithful service and devotion to country by making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty and the cause of freedom," Hagan said.
McConnell enlisted in the Army in October 2005. During his assignment to Fort Lewis he met and married his wife Sarah in December 2008. On his first deployment, in southern Afghanistan, McConnell was mortally wounded after his vehicle was attacked by enemy forces with an improvised explosive device on Sept. 14, 2009.
Retired Master Sgt. Victor Kissoon battled with emotions as he remembered the time he spent coaching McConnell on the soccer field and the many memories they shared, up to the very last one. McConnell was more than just another soccer player or friend to Kissoon; he was family.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey French became McConnell's batallion commander shortly before their unit deployed. Referring to him as "Mac," he shared how the young Soldier instantly reached out, accepted him as the new commander, and took him under his wing.
"He took life's setbacks --and we had plenty in Afghanistan- and learned from them, held others up if they began to listen to their darker angels, and always reached out to those in need," French said. "He always put others before himself. The epitome of a truly selfless Soldier and it's an honor to stand here today and share in this remembrance of a true American hero."
McConnell's father, Col. Scott McConnell moved from laughing about his son's antics to solemnly expressing how humbled and proud they are at the stories they hear.
"[Andrew] would likely tell us he died doing what he loved," McConnell said. "The dedication is not necessary, but it is fitting because it is an opportunity to recognize a Soldier's life and sacrifice, the great team that stands behind the Soldiers and faith they have in the equipment."
The ceremony also served as a reminder to the Letterkenny workforce that the Soldiers trust and rely on them to be prepared with the best.
The McConnell Positioner will perform work on route clearance vehicles, which are equipped to detect, analyze and dispose of any explosively formed penetrator or improvised explosive device and will protect Soldiers from similar dangers that tragically took the life of McConnell. It will be a vital piece of equipment as it will allow the route clearance vehicle workforce to substantially reduce process cycle times and return equipment more efficiently into the hands of the Soldiers. Welding can be conducted in position as opposed to in overhead or vertical positions and produce a greater quality by not fighting the effects of gravity on the molten weld.
Hagan, route clearance vehicle division chief, Gary Rosenberry along with McConnell's father and mother Kathy unveiled the plaque reading, "We are proud to dedicate the McConnell Positioner in memory of Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for his honorable service and for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of liberty and the cause of freedom."
McConnell's awards and commendations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (four awards), Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Expert Infantryman Badge and Air Assault Badge.
In addition to his parents, McConnell is survived by his wife Sarah; daughter Evelyn; and sisters Ashlee, Amanda, Alecia, Abbey and Amelia.
"It's important for all of us to remember you for what you were and remain today, the difference you made while you graced us with your presence and the legacy you left behind," French said.
The depot is the center of industrial and technical excellence and the Army's depot source of repair for the route clearance vehicle program.
|From The Sentinel cumberlink.com 05/29/11
Carlisle girl honors her brother
By Matthew McLaughlin, Sentinel Reporter, May 29, 2011 May 29, 2011
hile Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell's time on earth may have been cut short, he is an example that a hero's life is not measured in days or hours but how it is lived.
The U.S. Army sergeant, who enlisted in Harrisburg and whose parents and sisters have ties to Carlisle, was killed Sept. 14, 2009, while on duty in Afghanistan. He was 24 years old at the time.
Andrew's sister, Abbey McConnell, 18, graduates from Carlisle High School in June and, inspired by her brother and a desire to keep a promise to him, has accepted a four-year ROTC scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., to study nursing.
Anxious to serve
In 2004, while Andrew was attending North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga., the rest of his family moved to Carlisle. His father, U.S. Army Col. Gregory "Scott" McConnell, was assigned to Carlisle Barracks.
The family would spend two years in Germany, beginning in 2008 and during which time Andrew was killed in the line of duty, but return in 2010.
Several months after the first of what is about to be four of his five sisters graduated from Carlisle High School in 2005, McConnell dropped out of school after completing two years, leaving behind a four-year ROTC scholarship of his own, to enlist in the army.
"He had always been interested in the military," said Andrew's mother, Kathryn McConnell. "At two and three years old, he knew whether it was a Black Hawk or an Apache helicopter."
She remembers her son being anxious to serve and, when he announced his plans to enlist, telling her and her husband he wanted to figure out where and how he wanted to serve his country.
"I've always looked up to him for being my big brother," said Abbey, the second-youngest of Andrew's five sisters.
But like any big brother, he threw his weight around a little.
"Since there's eight years between us, I always listened to him because I didn't know any better," the teen laughed.
Sometime after Andrew enlisted, dropping out of college and ROTC, Abbey had a wonderful idea, finish ROTC herself and make her older brother salute her.
"One salute would have made it all better," she said.
Meanwhile, Andrew was figuring out how he wanted to serve, and, when he decided to return to ROTC himself and become an army chaplain, the two agreed they would do it together. Andrew's five years would be up just in time to go to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., with his little sister, who wanted to study nursing.
Unfortunately, Andrew and his sister will never have that chance, though Andrew's actions in life have continued shaping the world.
Following Andrew's funeral, it was Abbey who held things together, according to her mother.
The family was still living in Germany but traveled to Washington, where Andrew's then pregnant wife Sarah and his daughter Evelyn still reside, for Andrew's funeral.
When they returned, Abbey not only picked herself up, but her family and the volleyball team she was on as well.
"It was amazing to watch her," Kathryn said. "She really rallied everybody and rallied us."
Abbey continued to think about ROTC but was not as sure about it, though her desire to study nursing continued.
She filled out the application, thinking she could choose to accept or not accept. Shortly after, she met some of the men who served with Andrew.
"He had already kind of taken up the mantel of chaplain," Kathryn said, with both pride and tears in her eyes.
"They knew us because he talked about us all the time," Abbey said.
Something else Andrew had done was tell everyone about his and Abbey's plans.
"I never knew he was that excited about it," she said. "I said, you know what, we made a promise to each other, and I'm going to keep it. It's not at Liberty, but it's near his family, so he can't complain."
"We're extremely proud of her," Kathryn said. "Of all the children, Abbey shares ... more in common with Andrew than she realizes.
While Sgt. Andrew H. McConnell's body was broken by war, his life is far from over. Not only did he bring a new life into the world, but the soldier who wanted to give of himself to others as an army chaplain left a little bit of himself behind in the sister he inspired.
"He won't be saluting me, but that's OK," Abbey said. "I'll always be saluting him for his sacrifice."
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