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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Sgt. Andrew R. Tobin

Died August 24, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


24, of Jacksonville, Ill.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 24 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire.



Illinois soldier, 24, killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

KANKAKEE, Ill. — An Illinois soldier has been killed while serving in Afghanistan, U.S. Army officials said.

Officials at Fort Drum in New York say 24-year-old Sgt. Andrew Tobin was killed Wednesday in Kandahar province when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Tobin, who is survived by his wife, Katie, most recently lived in Jacksonville.

An infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Tobin joined the Army in January 2008. He'd been deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and returned there in March 2011.

"He was sitting on a couch in my living room three weeks ago, talking about going back there," Manteno High School wrestling teammate Larry George told the Daily Journal of Kankakee (http://bit.ly/oRiNMg). "He was the kind of person you wanted to surround yourself with. This was going to be his last tour of duty."

Tobin was described by friends as a "jokester," ''goofball" and "class clown." People also say they were impressed with his modesty, amiability and dedication.

"He sat around with my dad and talked about the military," cousin Pam Thompson, of Bradley, told The Daily Journal. "I think he liked (the military), because he never complained about it. He wanted to become a recruiter so he could work 9 to 5 and be able to stay home with his wife. He loved his wife. He loved his whole family."

In addition to his wife, Tobin is survived by his mother, Lee Ann Smith, of Los Angeles; his father, Nicholas D, Tobin, Sr., also of California; and a brother, Nicholas Jr., of Riverside, Calif.

Mom of dead soldier promotes patriotism

By Jason Nevel
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register via AP


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Lee Ann Smith says she wishes the family of every fallen soldier could get the reception and support she received in Jacksonville.

One year ago, thousands of people lined the streets of Morton Avenue holding American flags and putting their hands over their hearts to honor Smith’s son, Sgt. Andrew Tobin, who was killed Aug. 24, 2011, when insurgents attacked his unit in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Tobin, who attended MacMurray College in Jacksonville in 2005 and 2006, was buried in Asbury Cemetery, just southeast of Jacksonville, on Sept. 5.

Lasting impression

Smith says she’ll always be thankful for the support she saw that day. In fact, it was the motivation behind her decision to start a not-for-profit organization called Member of Service (MOS) Moms, to honor her son’s legacy, and promote the type of patriotism she witnessed that day.

Smith discussed the organization on the one-year anniversary of her son’s death.

She said the level of patriotism on display in Jacksonville doesn’t happen everywhere. In other places, people would say, “soldiers know what they’re getting into,” or, “everyone has had someone they know killed,” she said.

However, in Jacksonville and Springfield, where Tobin’s body was transported from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport to Jacksonville, everyone seemed to understand the sacrifices each soldier makes, she said.

“In Los Angeles or Chicago that never would have happened,” said Smith, who lives in California. “Every soldier deserves that.”

Fundraiser scheduled

According to its website, the mission of MOS Moms is to “empower and unite the American people based on the reaffirmation of America’s founding principles of God, liberty, equality, dignity and justice.”

The first fundraiser for the organization is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26 in Manteno, near Kankakee, Smith said. Tobin graduated from Manteno High School in 2005.

The event will feature a motorcycle run, auction, raffle and a performance by comedian Roger Kabler, she said. More information about the event will be posted at mosmom.org when available.

Organization grows

Smith said MOS Moms still is in its infancy and not all the details are worked out, but one of her goals is to place pictures at airports or other public transportation hubs to honor soldiers.

She also said she wants to set up a wrestling scholarship in her son’s name and promote awareness about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

“I really want to see people all over respect soldiers far more than what we are,” she said. “These men are not only fighting for our freedoms, they’re fighting for the freedom of the world.”

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