Thursday, June 19, 2008

Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew F. Whitacre

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew F. Whitacre, 21, of Bryant, Ind.

LCpl. Whitacre was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 19, 2008 while conducting combat operations in Farah Province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Capt. Eric D. Terhune.

Jay County mourns local Marine slain in Afghanistan
By Keith Roysdon
The (Muncie) Star Press

BRYANT — Jay County residents, already mourning the death in Afghanistan of a young Marine from Bryant, are likely to begin the official commemoration of his passing today.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Francis Whitacre, 21, a 2005 graduate of Jay County High School, was among two Marines reported killed Thursday during the operations in Farah Province.

Whitacre was from the Jay County town of Bryant.

A funeral service is set for Friday at his high school, and the Jay County commissioners are likely to mark his passing, said commissioners President Milo Miller.

“We’ll fly the flag at half staff all week,” Miller said Sunday evening. “We need to do something to honor him.”

Whitacre was assigned to the Marine Expeditionary Force based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Whitacre’s family was not yet ready to comment this weekend, according to family friends.

Miller said he didn’t know Whitacre but saw him at a parade in Bryant last fall.

“He was surrounded by his old classmates,” Miller said.

“It’s a sad situation,” Miller added. “I feel sorry for the family. I know what it is to lose a son.

“He’s [in Afghanistan] for our benefit, to keep terrorism down in our country and help out over there,” Miller said. “It just takes a special young man to do that.”

Funeral services will be Friday at 10 a.m. at Jay County High School. Burial will be in the Gravel Hill Cemetery west of Bryant. The funeral procession will pass through Portland around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Visitation will be Thursday noon-8 p.m. in Baird-Freeman Funeral Home.

Memorials can be made to the choice of the donor.

Family remembers Marine killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press

BRYANT, Ind. — Burial is scheduled for Friday for a 21-year-old Marine from eastern Indiana’s Jay County who was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Many flags in the small town of about 300 have been flying at half-staff to mark the death of Lance Cpl. Andrew Francis Whitacre.

Ernie Whitacre said his son wanted to be a Marine since the age of 14.

“He was real community oriented,” Whitacre said. “He loved his town, he loved Indiana. He was always ready to stand up for somebody.”

Whitacre was among two Marines reported killed last week during the operations in Farah Province. He was assigned to the Marine Expeditionary Force based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“Even if he had nothing to do with them, he would fight their battles,” said his fiancee, Casey McGuire.

McGuire, 18, said she last spoke to her finance by phone from Afghanistan on June 16.

“I asked him if he was scared and he said ‘No,’ that he was just doing his job and he didn’t have time to be scared,” she said. “He would just tell me, ‘Everything is going to be OK. I’ll be home.”’

McGuire, who recently moved from her hometown of Parker, Ariz., to live with Whitacre’s father and stepmother, said their engagement photos arrived in the mail day after Whitacre was killed. They had set their wedding for next April in Arizona, where they had met last year

“We were supposed to be planning a wedding, not a funeral,” said his stepmother, Norma Whitacre.

Whitacre joined the Marines soon after graduating from Jay County High School in 2005. A funeral will be held Friday at the high school, followed by burial at Gravel Hill Cemetery near Bryant, about 30 miles northwest of Muncie.

Whitacre is the 19th person from Indiana who has died in Afghanistan or Pakistan since U.S. anti-terrorism operations began there in late 2001.

Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew F. Whitacre was killed in action on 6/19/08.

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