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Army Staff Sgt. Andrew P. Nelson

Died August 29, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Moorhead, Minn.; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Aug. 29 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit.

82nd Airborne soldier killed in Iraq during third tour

The Associated Press

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A solider from the 82nd Airborne Division died earlier this week while serving his third tour of duty in Iraq, a family spokesman said.

Army Sgt. Andrew Nelson, 22, of Moorhead, Minn., was killed Aug. 29 while on patrol outside of Tikrit. His family received the news from the military that night, said Todd Taylor, a family spokesman. Further details were not immediately available.

Nelson enlisted in the Army immediately after high school. He also served one tour of duty in Afghanistan. He graduated from Shanley High School in Fargo, N.D., in 2003 and also attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Moorhead.

Valerie Ritland, principal of St. Joseph’s and Nelson’s cousin, said she was shocked after hearing of his death.

“It was so hard to believe,” she said. “I just totally miss him.”

Ritland said she remembered Nelson as being compassionate and dedicated to Boy Scouts, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and to his church activities.

“He was such a person of character who showed respect for others,” she said. “His mom did a good job of raising him.”

Nelson was an altar server at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Moorhead, where Monsignor Mike Foltz remembered him as a young man with a big heart who was dedicated to serving others, his community, his country and his church.

Ron Schneider, his scoutmaster, remembered Nelson for his “constant smirk” and his talent for leadership.

“It’s hard not to be real proud,” he said.

Nelson is survived by his mother, Suzanne Nelson, and sister, Jessica, both of Moorhead.

Mourners in Moorhead say goodbye to soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Mourners gathered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Sept. 6 to say goodbye to a 22-year-old soldier who was killed in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Nelson died Aug. 29 in Muqdadiyah, about 55 miles northeast of Baghdad, when insurgents attacked his unit. He was on his third tour of duty.

The Rev. August Gothman noted that those who served in World War Two are often called, “The Greatest Generation.”

He said those serving now are part of their own greatest generation.

Nelson was a Moorhead native who joined the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division after graduating from Shanley High School in Fargo, N.D., in 2003.

He will be buried Sept. 7 at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Nelson is the 63rd person with strong Minnesota ties to have died in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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