Andy Dee Anderson
Corporal, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 534-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 09, 2006
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on June 6, 2006, when their camp received indirect enemy fire during combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion, Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Sergeant Carlos E. Pernell, 25, of Munford,
For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Corporal Andy D. Anderson, 24, whose family recently moved to Vienna from Falls Church, was described by family members as someone who thrived on helping others and who found a sense of purpose and direction in his work for the Army. His family said he had decided to complete a full 20-year term with the military and, about a month ago, had proposed to his high school sweetheart.
Those plans were cut short on Tuesday, June 6, 2006. Anderson and another member of the 46th Engineer Battalion were killed when their camp in Ar Ramadi, Iraq came under "indirect enemy fire during combat operations," according to Department of Defense documentation.
His 21-year-old brother, Rafael, said Anderson was killed by a mortar round while building a barracks.
In his third year in the Army, Anderson had recently been promoted in Iraq to the rank of corporal and had re-enlisted for another four years, said Rafael. "I talked to his captain, and he said everyone loved being around him," he said of his brother. "He said he was a natural leader."
After a year at Shenandoah University, Anderson decided to join the Army, said Rafael. "That was where he found his calling." The military, he said, gave Anderson discipline and a sense of direction. Rafael recalled that when his brother visited home about a month ago, he was enthusiastic about the work he was doing. "I've never seen my brother so proud and so fulfilled," he said.
He also described Anderson as devoted to his roles of friend, brother and boyfriend. "He's leaving a lot of people that are going to miss him."
"His family was very important to him, and he loved his country," said his aunt, Barbara Anderson Harris, from Houston. "That's what he believed in."
Anderson's mother, Xiomara Mena, said her son had been a well-behaved, shy but curious child, and one who "loved helping other people." In the Army, she said, he had gained confidence as he earned the respect and friendship of his brothers-in-arms.
"He was just so proud to be a soldier," said Rafael's twin, Randall, noting that his father and other family members had exhorted Anderson not to return to Iraq. "But he was on a mission." It made sense, said Randall, only in light of the effect that combat had on him. "Each time he came home for break, he matured and he had more discipline," he said. "It changed his life."
He said he thought military service appealed
to Anderson because "He loved to help and being part of something big."
She recalled that Anderson, a respected football and basketball player at JEB Stuart High School, was generous with friends and teammates, as well. She said he routinely brought people home for dinner and "always wanted to make sure everybody had a ride." His athletic prowess and friendly nature also made him a role model for younger neighbors, said Mena.
"He was my prize," she wept.
Collecting herself, she recounted her last conversation with her son, when he called at 4 a.m. the day before his death, fully aware of the hour but phoning anyway for a quick hello before his lunch. "He said, 'I love you, mom. I'll call you later,'" she said. "He always used to say that — 'I love you, mom, and God bless.'"
A viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20
from 6 p.m. to midnight at Crossroads Baptist Church, 5811 Hoffmans Lane,
Falls Church. A military service and burial is scheduled for Wednesday,
June 21 at Ft. Myer Chapel by Arlington National Cemetery at 3 p.m. Interment
will be at Arlington National Cemetery.
Falls Church Soldier Had Hopes Of Turning Service Into a Career
By Leef Smith
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Thursday, June 22, 2006
He was a high school jock, wowing friends and family on the basketball court and football field. But despite the years of public showmanship, Army Corporal Andy D. Anderson had a shy side.
On leave from his post in Iraq, Anderson, 24, returned home to Falls Church last month with special plans. They were plans nearly everyone close to him knew about -- everyone except his longtime girlfriend Tava White.
In a house bustling with family and friends, Anderson slipped away with White to a quiet room where he asked her -- his best friend since middle school -- to be his wife.
They emerged from the room engaged.
"He had a ring for her," said Rafael Anderson, Andy's younger brother. "He wanted to get married when he got back from Iraq in October."
But there would be no nuptial celebration.
Anderson was killed June 6, 2006, when his camp in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, came under enemy fire. Family members said Anderson's squad was building a barracks and had stopped work for the day. They were packing up their tools and checking the area for construction debris when a mortar round struck.
"They were deep inside their camp," Rafael Anderson said. "It just shows you that no one is safe over there."
Anderson was assigned to the Army's 46th Engineer Battalion, based at Fort Rucker, Ala. Another member of the unit, Sgt. Carlos E. Pernell, 25, of Munford, Ala., also was killed in the attack.
Yesterday, hundreds of friends and family members gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor a man they remember as proud and humble, a soldier who wanted to make a career out of the Army.
"He loved what he was doing," his mother, Xiomara Mena, told The Washington Post shortly after her son's death. "He was helping to reconstruct that country. We were so proud of him."
A wake to honor Anderson was held Tuesday night in Falls Church. It drew 500 people, many of whom knew Anderson from J.E.B. Stuart High School in the Seven Corners section of Fairfax County, where he graduated in 2001.
As a student, Anderson was a sports standout. His senior year he was among the county's scoring leaders in basketball, averaging 14.7 points per game, according to published statistics.
After graduating from high school, he spent a year attending Shenandoah University. Then he enlisted.
"That's where he found his calling," said Rafael Anderson, who along with his twin Randall, is in the Army Reserve. "He just reenlisted for four more years. He told us he'd stay for 20. You could just tell looking into his eyes . . . he was real fulfilled"
Family members said Anderson was involved in building polling booths for the Iraqi elections last year and was disappointed when the structures were torn down.
"He was still proud of what he was doing," Rafael Anderson said. "He felt like he was making a difference."
In an online guestbook for mourners, family members left messages expressing their grief.
I "think about the things you said to me," wrote Randall Anderson. "You knew all along the Lord was calling for you. I know [you're] telling me right now 'don't cry no more Randy, toughen up,' because that's how you were and I will but I will never forget you and I will raise my son to be a man just like you because right now there's no man better than you."
Anderson's fianc?e also reached out online.
"There's not [enough] words to describe the pain that I am feeling," wrote White. "With Andy next to me there was nothing that I could not overcome. Even on my worst day, he made it seem like everything was okay. He meant everything to me, and he knew that. Though my baby is gone his memory and the love that we have for one another will never die."
Anderson's twin brothers both have deployable status in the Army Reserve. The family is trying to cope with the notion that they both might be sent to Iraq, too.
"I don't want [our mother] to suffer anymore," Rafael Anderson said. "But when duty calls, duty calls. Everyone has to respect that."
Members of an Honor Guard carry the casket of Corporal Andy Dee Anderson of Falls Church, Virginia,.
during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, June 21, 2006
ANDERSON, ANDY DEE
Posted: 15 June 2006 Updated: 21 June 2006 Updated: 22 June 2006 Updated: 12 July 2006 Updated: 27 August 2006 Updated: 10 November 2006 Updated: 26 March 2007 Updated: 21 April 2007 Updated: 30 September 2007 Updated: 14 October 2007 Updated: 2 December 2008 Updated: 24 March 2008 Updated: 5 July 2009
Photo By Holly: March 2008
Photo By Holly: January 2008
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, October 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, September 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, August 2006