Monday, June 21, 2010

Army Spc. Scott A. Andrews

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Scott A. Andrews, 21, of Fall River, Mass.

Spc. Andrews was assigned to the 618th Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died June 21, 2010 at Forward Operating Base Lagman, Zabul province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Army Spc. Scott A. Andrews had high hopes for his life after military service.

Andrews, 21, dreamed of buying a multifamily house so he, his two older brothers and his father could all be together. He also wanted a boat so he and his father could spend time on the water clamming, his grandmother Lydia Andrews said Tuesday at her Fall River home.

The son of divorced parents, Alfred Andrews and Joanne Mello, he loved to be on the water with his father or root for the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots and Celtics with his brothers and father. The sons "liked to do anything with their dad," said George Nientimp, a close friend of the family. "Anything Boston."

Friends and relatives gathered at the Fall River home of Army Specialist Scott Anthony Andrews, killed Monday by an improvised explosive device during widespread attacks in Afghanistan that claimed the life of nine coalition soldiers.

"This is just the most awful thing that we as a family have had to go through,'' said Lydia Andrews, Scott Andrews's paternal grandmother, at her Wellington Street home. "Scott was such a good boy; he would visit me whenever he came home, always with a smile on his face."

She added, "I don't know why we're there, it's not like World War II. I went through World War II with my brothers, it was a different kind of war. We did our job and came home. This one just lingers and lingers. I don't know what's going to happen over there."

"He was like a mechanic.... Go up and get the trucks that need repairing and bring them back to base."

Lydia Andrews says she last saw her grandson just a few months ago. "I loved seeing him, I love him very dearly and I hated to see him go back well he says I'll be back in October. I felt contented. He was going to be coming back."

The youngest of three boys, Andrews most recently lived in the Fall River home with his mother, but always made sure to spend time with his grandmother when back home. A grandmother that despite assurances, still worried. "There was always the worrying. All the time. Oh it's so hard to take to lose a baby like that."

Andrews's mother, who is divorced from the soldier's father and who lives on Martha Street, declined to comment, saying through a friend that she was too grief-stricken.

He turned 21 on Memorial Day. Andrews' grandmother, Lydia Andrews, said her son is devastated. "He still can't handle it. He's so broken hearted," she said. "I still can't believe it."

Lydia Andrews was just returning home from shopping when she spotted two Army officials and a police officer get out of a car and walk toward the Wellington Street home where she and her son live.

"I just stopped the car in the middle of the street, and I said, 'Who are you looking for?' And of course they wouldn't answer me, and when they didn't answer me, of course, I knew what had happened," she said. Overcome with emotion, she was rushed to the hospital.

The fallen soldier was one of nine NATO soldiers killed on Monday -- the second deadliest day of fighting against the Taliban this year.

"This just seems to be lingering and lingering, and you never know when it's going to end," Lydia Andrews said.

Scott Andrews signed up with the Army two years ago. He was trained as a construction equipment operator and mechanic. "He thought it was a good thing for him to do -- learn a trade, and he seemed to enjoy it," Lydia Andrews said.

Scott Andrews was supposed to return home for good at the beginning of the year. He leaves behind two brothers.

Andrews was the second Fall River soldier to die in Afghanistan recently. On April 19, Army National Guard Sergeant Robert Barrett, 20, was killed by a suicide bomber.

In a telephone interview, Fall River Mayor William A. Flanagan said the city has lowered its flags to half-staff in Andrews's memory, just as they did two months ago for Barrett.

"It's another sad day for the city of Fall River,'' said Flanagan, who added that he did not know Andrews or his family. He plans to visit the Andrews family sometime today to offer the city's condolences. "Our city's thoughts and prayers are with the Andrews family.''

Manuel DaPonte, the Fall River veterans agent and a retired Army command sergeant major, said in a telephone interview today that Andrews was a heavy machine operator and mechanic. He said he was with the family Monday evening when they were told by an Army official that Andrews had been killed. "The family is very devastated right now, but they are dealing with it,'' he said. He added, "The city is in mourning. Two in two months is too many.''

DaPonte has written US Senator John F. Kerry and asked him to sponsor a measure that would rename the post office on President's Avenue in Fall River after Barrett. DaPonte said he will seek out a similar honor for Andrews, who is the fifth person with ties to Fall River to have died in Iraq or Afghanistan since Desert Storm in 1991.

According to DaPonte, funeral services for Andrews will be held at the Holy Name parish on Hanover Street in Fall River and burial will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery, also in Fall River.

DaPonte added, however, that is not yet clear when Andrews's remains will return to Massachusetts. He said the Manuel Rogers Funeral Home on North Main will handle the funeral arrangements.

"I would invite everyone to come from near and far to come to Fall River and help this family go through the grieving process,'' he said of the funeral that will be held for Andrews. "It's the least we can do for our fallen heroes.'

Army Spc. Scott A. Andrews was killed in action on 6/21/10.

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