- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. Andrews J. Higgins
Died June 5, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
28, of Hayward, Calif.; assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.; died June 5 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.
Hayward soldier killed in Iraq aspired to military since boyhood
The Associated Press
HAYWARD, Calif. — Army Sgt. Andrew J. Higgins wanted to be a soldier and serve his country from the time he was a boy, his father said.
The 28-year-old member of the elite Ranger corps was on his second deployment in Iraq when he was killed by small-arms fire June 5 while fighting insurgents in Baqubah, the Department of Defense said.
“He was a wonderful person, the kind of soldier who chooses to go to someplace like Iraq for his country,” his father, Jerry James Higgins, said.
While still in high school, Andrew Higgins took Army basic training, and he spent two years in the Army Reserves after graduating.
Higgins was part of the first U.S. troop deployment to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from Ft. Lewis, Wash.
“He was more and more disappointed with what was happening to the troops over there. He had made up his mind that he was not going to re-enlist when his enlistment was up in 2009,” Jerry James Higgins said.
Higgins is survived by his father, mother, Cheryl Higgins, and his wife, Rachel Higgins.
Five more Fort Lewis soldiers killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The Department of Defense has identified five more Fort Lewis soldiers killed in Iraq, four when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle and a fifth fatally wounded in a separate encounter.
Sgt. Andrews J. Higgins, 28, of Hayward, Calif., died Tuesday in Baqubah of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).
Since he reported to Fort Lewis in October 2000, Higgins had served primarily as a fire support specialist and forward observer. He was on his first deployment to Iraq.
The Defense Department said Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Greg P. Gagarin, 38, of Los Angeles; Sgt. James C. Akin, 23, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Sgt. Tyler J. Kritz, 21, of Eagle River, Wis.; and Sgt. Robert A. Surber, 24, of Inverness, Fla., were killed Sunday in Thania, Iraq.
They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).
Higgins wanted to be a soldier and serve his country from the time he was a boy, going through Army basic training in high school and spending two years in the Army Reserves after graduation, but was increasingly disillusioned about the war in Iraq, his father, Jerry James Higgins, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“He was a wonderful person, the kind of soldier who chooses to go to someplace like Iraq for his country,” the elder Higgins said. “He was more and more disappointed with what was happening to the troops over there. He had made up his mind that he was not going to re-enlist when his enlistment was up in 2009.”
Higgins also is survived by his mother, Cheryl Higgins, and wife, Rachel Higgins.
Akin, who was driving the Humvee carrying the other three men, wanted to become president someday, family spokesman Victor Raigoza said in Albuquerque. Akin would have been 24 on June 28, according to his wife, Syreeta, of Rio Rancho, N.M.
“He was willing to put his actions where his mouth was,” Raigoza said. “If he one day occupied the office where war would be determined, (he felt) that it would be necessary for him to have experienced that.”
Syreeta Akin wrote on his Web page: “You always did what you loved to do, and that is serve your country. I appreciate your sacrifice (as) well as all others before you. Without people like you where would our country be?”
Kritz enlisted in 2003, arrived at Fort Lewis that November and died on his second assignment in Iraq, the Rhinelander Daily News of Wisconsin reported.
Students at Northland Pines High School in Eagle River observed a moment of silence to remember him Wednesday, the last day of classes. Teacher Jason Foster said Kritz was shy but friendly.
“He was well-liked. When he did talk, he had a sense of humor,” Foster said. “I think his favorite subject was to be done with high school. He was motivated to be done.”
Soldier killed in Iraq remembered for humor, determination
The Associated Press
Army Sgt. Andrews J. Higgins’ family remembers his witty sense of humor and his can-do spirit.
“He’s the reason why I finished chemistry in junior college,” said his wife Rachel, “because he told me, ‘Don’t ever quit, even when it’s hard.’ ” Higgins, 28, of Hayward, Calif., was killed June 5 in Baqubah, Iraq, by small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., and was on his second tour.
“He was a good man,” said his mother, Cheryl. “If he gave you his word, he kept it.”
He spent two years in the Reserves, then he signed up for the regular Army, eventually becoming a paratrooper and joining the elite Ranger corps. He also did a tour in Afghanistan.
“He was one of these perfect kids,” said Arnie Becker, a longtime friend of the family who had known Higgins since birth.
“He did everything right except for getting into college, which was what his parents had hoped for.”
He was supposed to be the next in line to carry on the family name. The Higginses say their first descendant landed in New England in 1693.
“He was the only child of an only child of an only child,” said his father, Jerry Higgins.