Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Army Spc. Andrew E. Lara

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Andrew E. Lara, 25, of Albany, Ore.

Spc Lara was assigned to F Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, Oregon National Guard, based in Baker City, Ore.; died April 27, 2011 in Almahawil, Iraq, of wounds received in a noncombat incident.

A 2004 South Albany High School graduate died Wednesday in Iraq in a “noncombat related incident,” according to the Oregon National Guard.

Spc. Andrew E. Lara, 25, of Albany was serving in Babil province with F Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, attached to the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment.

Guard Spokesman Capt. Stephen Bomar said Lara was a driver for one of the convoy escort teams, driving an MRAP, a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle meant to ensure transported supplies arrive safely at their destination.

Bomar said Lara died on base, not during a convoy escort. He did not have information about the circumstances, except that it did not involve combat. An investigation is under way.

Lara’s parents, Ramiro and Lynn Lara, are on their way to Dover, Md., to participate in his transfer home, Bomar said. The body is expected to arrive in the United States in the next few days.

The Oregon National Guard said the family expressed appreciation for the initial support provided, but has asked for the community to honor their privacy as they grieve. No services have been scheduled.

Born Dec, 7, 1985, in Albany, Lara was a 2004 South Albany High School graduate and was known for his love of baseball, football and wrestling.

He played all three sports, mostly at the junior varsity level, his freshman and sophomore years. Principal Brent Belveal, who was among Lara’s coaches in those days, remembers him as “a kid who worked very hard and really put his mind to being successful at that level. There’s some pretty good maturity involved in that, a 14-year-old boy.”

Lara’s father, Ramiro, also coached JV football and baseball. His mother is a teacher’s assistant at Periwinkle Elementary School.

Chris Equinoa, South’s principal in 2004, said he could picture Lara well: a quiet, dark-haired boy with pencil-thin sideburns, a boy with an unassuming nature who did his work well and was everybody’s friend.

“Kind of a breath of fresh air,” Equinoa said. “I am just so sorry that something like that would happen.”

Lara built log homes after graduation. He loved music and outdoor activities.

Lara enlisted in the Oregon National Guard in June 2009. He drilled out of Woodburn and was deployed last September. His company is expected to return to the United States this September.

Lara was to come home on leave in early May.

He is survived by his daughter, Kay Lynn, 18 months; his parents and a brother, Joshua, 23, whom Bomar said is also in military service.

Army Spc. Andrew E. Lara was killed in non-combat related incident on 4/27/11.

No comments: