Monday, June 21, 2010

Army Spc. Andrew R. Looney

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Andrew R. Looney, 22, of Owasso, Okla.

Spc. Looney was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 21, 2010 from wounds sustained when a suicide bomber attacked his unit at Lar Sholtan Village, Afghanistan. Also killed was Pfc. David T. Miller.

An Owasso soldier has lost his life in Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Spc. Andrew R. Looney, 22, died June 21 at Lar Sholtan Village, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered after an insurgent detonated a suicide vest next to a traffic control point.

Looney's parents, Martha and Richard Looney, live in Owasso. "They called us on the phone at 12 midnight," Martha said. "We were asleep and the Army personnel said I have some news for you and your husband and you both have to be present and I said we're here. And I knew what it was."

Richard and Martha Looney were on a 30th wedding anniversary trip to Ireland when they got the call they hoped never to receive. The Looneys flew back home to the States and are now planning the funeral for their youngest son.

"Sometimes he would get in a ruckus with his brother but usually it was his brother that caused the problem," Martha said. "But he knew how to get along with people. He was very quiet. Rather shy."

Quiet, but focused. Andrew's parents say he loved sports. He played football for Owasso High School.

"He wasn't built big so he had to work all the harder to play," she said. "But they called him Rudy because he had the determination to do whatever he wanted to do and get it done."

Andrew joined the Army immediately after high school. During his first tour in Iraq Andrew was wounded severely, suffering a traumatic brain injury and losing half of his foot.

The father said his son arrived in Iraq in Febuary 2007, and in August of that year, while his son was in a Humvee in Baghdad a roadside bomb exploded and blew off part of his right foot.

He spent more than a year at Brooke Army Medical Center at San Antonio, recuperating from his injuries, while undergoing rehabilitation after being fitted with a prosthetic. “While he was at Brooke, I kept thinking he would pursue other interests,” his father said. But that wasn’t to be.

Richard Looney said his son didn’t want to pursue other things, not even go to college. Instead, he said, his son was bound and determined to stay in the military, to stay in the infantry. “He was very patriotic, very much so. He was very much that way,” he said. “I think he felt he was making a difference in the war, and was much needed.”

From Brooke Army Medical Center, Andrew Looney was assigned to Fort Campbell, arriving there in February 2009.

Richard Looney said his son went to Afghanistan about six weeks ago.

The last time the family saw him was in April, “and he was looking forward to his assignment in Afghanistan,” the father said.

Looney was one of two soldiers who died in the bombing. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

"I'll miss his smile," his mother said. "I'll miss how he loved to be home. And just spend time with us and to play games with us."

The Looneys say they find comfort in their faith. And they will rely on that faith as they honor their soldier, their son.

The Looneys say Andrew wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. They say they will honor his wishes.

Andrew Looney's awards and decorations include:

Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Combat Infantry Badge and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.

Army Spc. Andrew R. Looney was killed in action on 6/21/10.

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