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Army Pfc. Travis W. Anderson

Died May 13, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Hooper, Colo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; killed May 13 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy in Bayji, Iraq.

Fallen soldier remembered by friends, family

Associated Press

HOOPER, Colo. — Relatives of a Colorado soldier killed in Iraq last week remembered him as happy, friendly young man who loved hunting and fishing.

Pfc. Travis W. Anderson, 28, of Hooper was killed when an explosive detonated near his convoy near Beiji, Iraq, the Defense Department said. Anderson was assigned to the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Anderson’s grandmother, Violet Freel of Hooper, described her grandson as “full of life, happy-go-lucky.”

“I think he knew everyone in the (San Luis) Valley,” she said.

His sister, Bissy Anderson, 26, of Odessa, Texas, remembered him as an expert shot.

“From the time he was little, he wanted to be a sniper. He was in the Special Forces. He was proud of what he was doing; he took one for the team,” she said.

Anderson’s family said he struggled to finish high school, eventually getting his diploma at an alternative school after a battle with hantavirus, a sometimes fatal ailment.

“We were told to expect the worst but he miraculously recovered. They punctured his lungs to drain them. He came back so fast from it, it was a miracle,” Bissy said.

He joined the Army in 2003 and had been in Iraq for four months.

Town gathers to bid farewell to fallen soldier

HOOPER, Colo. — Before he left for Iraq, Spc. Travis Wayne “Loopie” Anderson told his sister he was scared more for his family than for himself.

“We don’t know how much time we have together,” Anderson wrote to Toscha Alcorta. “I am scared not for me, but for all of you should something happen to me.

“For once I feel I am doing the right thing. It’s strange how life works out. I am tired of being a screw-up.”

Brig. Gen. Robert Reese, commander at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, dismissed the term at Anderson’s funeral Sunday. “He was anything but a screw-up,” Reese said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice to his country.”

About 400 people gathered to remember Anderson, 28, who was killed May 13 when a car loaded with explosives slipped past a line of vehicles waiting at a checkpoint in Beiji, Iraq. The driver detonated the device, killing Anderson and wounding several other soldiers.

Family and friends shared stories Sunday about Anderson, who they said struggled to finish high school but earned a diploma and survived a battle with hantavirus. His long history of hunting and expert marksmanship led to his becoming an Army sniper.

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Schultz said Anderson planned to be a career soldier and wanted to earn enough money to buy land in the San Luis Valley.

“He was a damn fine soldier,” said Schultz, who was in charge of Anderson’s platoon in Iraq before being given another platoon to command in December. “We all called him ‘Cowboy’ because he was from Colorado.”

Cory Anderson remembered when he broke his collarbone and couldn’t work in junior high school, and his brother sent him money from his paycheck so he would have clothes for school.

Second cousin Brant Clayton remembered how Anderson would put his dog, Daniel, in a backpack and drive around on his motorcycle.

Kandalyn Bradshaw grew up with Travis Anderson.

“Oh, that Travis. If he was an angel, the horns on his head kept the halo up,” Bradshaw said.

— Associated Press

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