Orange County Breeze
News of Northwest Orange County, CA

Southland Credit Union | bank local. support local. | your Community Credit Union since 1936.

(Click above for more information.)

Alamitos Eye Care | Supports LAUSD, LAEF, and Youth Center Programs | 562-430-6161 | 10951 Cherry St., Los Alamitos

(Click above for more information.)

Come meet our store manager Jesse! | 5051 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, CA 90630  714-252-4862

(Click above for more information.)


September 7, 2011

SSGT Harvell welcomed home as hero

Printer-friendly version of this post Printer-friendly version of this post
SSGT Andrew Harvell's final homecoming to Los Alamitos JFTB

The day was hot and cloudless. Some of those waiting to welcome and honor SSGT Andrew Harvell home for the last time had arrived hours earlier.

Some turned faces to a cool wind off the ocean.

No one complained.

The crowd along the flight line, made up of dozens of members of the Patriot Guard Riders and members of the surrounding community, watched as the angel flight touched down and taxied to a stop directly in front of the control tower for the Los Angeles Army Air Field at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Numerous large American flags were held proudly.

Also in formation were members of local law enforcement agencies — Los Alamitos and Cypress and Santa Ana Police, and Orange County Sheriff’s deputies. At the east end of the formation were representatives from the Orange County Fire Authority in front of trucks and a huge American flag.

An Air Force color guard stood by.

Six Air Force pall bearers waited near a hearse, along with SSGT Harvell’s family.

SSGT Harvell’s brother, SSgt. Sean Harvell, accompanied the body on its final flight.

None of the family members spoke directly to the media. However, a spokesperson provided two statements.

The first, from SSGT Harvell’s mother, repeated a line from a children’s book that had become a family byword: “I’ll like you forever, I’ll love you for always.”

The second, from SSGT Harvell’s widow, Krista, said simply that he left a legacy in his love of country, career and his two young sons, Hunter, 3, and Ethan, 5 months.

The door on the near side of the angel flight opened. Two crew members spent several minutes setting up a bier to receive the coffin.

The entire assembly snapped to attention as the coffin emerged.

An Air Force officer escorted family members across the empty tarmac.

After an interval, the Air Force pall bearers marched over, hefted the coffin and began the slow sad march to the hearse, trailed by the family members.

The officer in charge hailed SSGT Harvell as a hero, loud enough to be heard by members of the media kept well away on the west end of the formation. He recited the Twenty-Third Psalm as the pall bearers marched, ending as they carefully slid the coffin into the hearse.

Those assembled were dismissed.

The hearse was escorted off the base by dozens of Patriot Guard Riders and members of local law enforcement.

SSGT Harvell will be buried with military honors on Saturday, September 10, at Los Angeles National Cemetery, 950 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles.

At the request of Councilwoman Gerri Graham-Mejia, Los Alamitos Mayor Kenneth Stephens closed Monday night’s regular meeting of the Los Alamitos City Council in honor of SSGT Harvell.

Featured photo

The coffin of SSGT Harvell emerges from the angel flight.

More photos of the hero mission for SSGT Harvell are available at OC Breeze’s Flickr photo stream.

All photos by C.E.H. Wiedel.

Circumstances of death

SSGT Andrew Harvell was among 30 people killed when their Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Taliban insurgents as the troops were being transported to support an ongoing battle in eastern Wardak province, near the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan.

SSGT Harvell was part of a team that had just helped to rescue a unit of Army Rangers.

As a combat controller, SSGT Harvell coordinated air support with troops on the ground in hostile situations.

SSGT Harvell was based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field, assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, but his hometown was Long Beach.

Two days later, U.S. Air Force F-16s attacked and destroyed those responsible for downing the helicopter.

Statement by Long Beach mayor

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster released the following statement:

Staff Sergeant Andrew W. Harvell from Long Beach was among the servicemen who died on August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan.

In remembrance of fallen Staff Sergeant Harvell, City facilities that are open today are authorized to fly the American flag at half staff.

“My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Staff Sergeant Andrew W. Harvell. On behalf of the City of Long Beach, we are sending our thoughts and prayers to them during this time of great sadness,” said Mayor Bob Foster.

Enhanced by Zemanta

About the Author

Shelley Henderson is a reformed computer and networking geek turned freelance writer. Now she only fixes her own networks and computers. That leaves time for writing, and writing and more writing. And editing the Orange County Breeze. Shelley most enjoys visiting and finding out about local businesses to write business profiles that allow our communities to learn more about their local businesses and the people who own and run them. If you own or manage a business in our coverage area and would like to invite Shelley to write a business profile, let us know.


Airmen with the Expeditionary Contracting Squadron inspect a construction site at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Feb. 11, 2015. Contracting Airmen will usually inspect a work site at least monthly to ensure the work is progressing as agreed upon within the contract. Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Beatrice Brown.

Fullerton native part of AF unit that coordinates supplies worldwide

As a deployed member here in Southwest Asia, we might say that life here is pretty great with all the little things most people take for granted. Now imagine being deployed but this time instead of eating at a dining facility y...
by courtesy

LTC Steve Rainey, USAF. Photo courtesy of the Grampaw Pettibone Sqadron.

Grampaw Pettibone Squadron invites retired Air Force test pilot to speak about experiences

Lt. Col. Steve Rainey will brief the members and guests of the Grampaw Pettibone Squadron on his experiences as a test pilot in the F-16 and F-22. Steve Rainey is a 1980 Engineering Mechanics graduate of the U.S. Air Force Acad...
by courtesy


US SecDef wishes service members a merry Christmas

This morning, U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel called service members taking part in U.S. operations around the world to wish them a Merry Christmas. Secretary Hagel expressed his appreciation for their service in defending the ...
by courtesy


Subscribe to our daily overnight news summary!

Estonian army Cpl. Albert Benedik of Rakvere, and assigned to the Estonia Scout Battalion, provides security during an STX (simulated training exercise) lane at Hohenfels Training Area Aug. 27. Saber Junction 14 is a large-scale, joint, multinational, annual military exercise, involving hundreds of aircraft and vehicles and thousands of personnel from 16 different nations. The exercise will prepare brigade-level units for worldwide contingency operations. The exercise further focuses U.S., NATO, and partner forces on concepts such as decisive and sustainable land operations through the simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive and stability operations and on interoperability with partnered nations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christina M. Dion/Released)

Huntington Beach soldier takes part in NATO field training exercise

The convoy moved toward the objective, interrupted by indirect fire. Parking the vehicles in a staggered formation along the dirt road, soldiers dismounted and provided security in all directions. After moving forward on foot, ...
by courtesy

JFTB, Operation Patriot Hook, control tower, Los Alamitos Army Airfield

Operation Patriot Hook will bring air traffic to JFTB

Los Alamitos Army Airfield will be bustling with activity from April 23-28 and residents of the communities surrounding the Joint Forces Training Base familiar with the sight and sound of California Army National Guard helicopt...
by courtesy