Military honors for fallen soldier
AUBURN - A former Yuba City resident who died while fighting in Iraq was buried here Friday with military honors.
Harley Andrews, 22, of Weimar, was killed by a roadside bomb on Sept. 10 in Ar Ramadi. Andrews was a specialist with the U.S. Army's 54th Engineering Battalion.
“He was a great soldier,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Ostenberg. “He was a hero.”
At Parkside Church, a leather-vested group of Patriot Guard Riders held up American flags outside the church. They rode on Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the graveside services, where Andrews was given a 21-gun military salute.
Friends and family filled the church to pay last respects to Andrews, who grew up in Yuba City. He leaves behind a wife, Halley; and a son, Ayden.
Jason Ketchum said his longtime friend Andrews was an honorable man who was loved dearly. Andrews had many friends and enjoyed hunting, fishing and disc golfing. He was a skilled construction worker prior to joining the military.
“He was a peaceful man and wanted everyone just to get along,” said Ketchum.
Military officers said Andrews was a disciplined and intelligent soldier whose death was not a senseless one.
Andrews' daily duty was a dangerous one, but one that helped keep others safe. He would escort convoys, looking for roadside bombs and defusing them. An insurgent manually triggered one of the bombs as Andrews' vehicle passed by, according to a military official.
“Spc. Andrews has made a difference,” said Staff Sgt. Aldo Viveros. “Thanks to him, more of our soldiers, friends and loved ones will be able to return to their families.”
Andrews received medals, including the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Purple Heart.
A number of veterans showed up for the services to pay their respects. Many called Andrews' aunt, Patricia Phillips of Marysville, to make sure they knew about the time and place.
“I thought that was really interesting, that the veterans wanted to show their respects,” Phillips said.
Some of the details she recalls about Andrews include his quiet little laugh, gentle nature, and his freckles.
The death was particularly sad because Andrews had always wanted a family life after an untraditional upbringing, said Phillips. He got what he wanted, marrying Halley after dating for four years, and having a son.
“That was really a heartbreaker,” said Phillips. Andrews was to be out of Iraq in 30 days.
Phillips said the death has been difficult for the family, and Friday's service was emotionally draining though quite beautiful.
“There were some happy memories, some smiles, some laughing,” said Phillips. “It was a beautiful ceremony.”
YUBA-SUTTER MIDDLE EAST WAR DEAD
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.