Thursday, July 23, 2009

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew Scott Charpentier

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew Scott Charpentier, 21, of Great Falls, Mont.

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Charpentier was assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; died July 23, 2009 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla., from a non-combat related illness.

Flags fly at half-staff for Great Falls sailor
The Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. — Gov. Brian Schweitzer has ordered the American and Montana state flags to fly at half-staff Friday and Saturday in honor of a sailor from Great Falls who died last week at a Miami hospital.

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew Charpentier died at a Miami hospital on July 23 of a brief, noncombat related illness. He was 21.

Charpentier had been assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Charpentier’s funeral is scheduled Saturday morning at Central Assembly of God Church in Great Falls, with burial to follow at Highland Cemetery.

Miami Herald -- A young American sailor who guarded prisoners at Guantánamo died at Jackson Memorial Hospital last week, losing a two-month battle in the intensive-care unit over what doctors suspected was a rare blood disease.

Andrew S. Charpentier, 21, of Montana was airlifted to Miami from the remote U.S. Navy base in Cuba in early June, the military said. As his circumstances grew more dire, he married his high school sweetheart on July 3 in a civil ceremony at Jackson's ICU.

``He was proud to serve, he worked really hard,'' said Kathleen Charpentier, the bride, as she prepared for a funeral Saturday in Great Falls, Mont. ``The doctors were really good. I know they tried hard and they tried everything for Andrew.''

The cause of death was still being investigated.

But Kathleen Charpentier, a college student of theology and ecology at the University of St. Mary in Kansas, said doctors treated him for a rare blood disease, known as TTP, called thrombocytopenia. During two months here, she said, his kidneys failed, then his lungs and his heart.

``He was awake and able to speak and do things,'' she said. But things turned for the worse.

The young sailor enlisted in 2007 after high school, trained as an aviations technician at the Naval Air Station at Pensacola and in August was assigned to the guard force that walked the blocks of the prison camps.

``All his time was with the guard force and it was within all the camps, because they rotate,'' reported Army Maj. Diana Haynie of the Florida National Guard, from Guantánamo Wednesday.

Members of the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Charpentier's unit, pulled 12-hour shifts walking the cell blocks, watching some of the 239 foreign men held there as wartime prisoners.

His guard duty was to end in late summer, for which he received the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, said a Navy spokeswoman, Lt. Cmdr. Susan Henson.

He was to return to his specialty -- avionics -- in August with a Navy air squadron known as ``The Wizards,'' VAQ133, from Whidbey Island, Wash.

His wife of three weeks said Wednesday the couple, who met as high school sophomores, had earlier planned to wed before he became ill ``once we got back from Cuba'' in August or September.

After he turned ill, she moved here to stay with a cousin in South Florida. The cousin's wife, a notary, held a simple wedding ceremony at the hospital.

Services were scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Great Falls' Central Assembly of God Church.

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew Scott Charpentier died of a non-combat related illness on 7/23/09.

No comments: