Thursday, March 08, 2007

Andrew Perkins remembered

On Monday, Weldon Perkins found out his son had been killed in Iraq.

At that point, reports delivered to family members by military officials revealed Army Spc. Andrew Perkins died while on patrol. He was driving a Humvee when an improvised explosive device went off.

On Wednesday, though, Weldon Perkins learned there was more to it than that.

Andrew Perkins, born in Lubbock, graduated from Amarillo High School in 1998. He enlisted in the Army in 2004 with the intent of becoming a paratrooper.

"He knew it was inevitable that he was going to have to go to war," said Weldon Perkins of Belen, N.M.

The threat of going to war, however, couldn't sway Andrew's desire to serve others - a desire Weldon Perkins said was fostered through his son's patriotism and participation in Boy Scouts.

"Everyone's life that he touched, it helped him. It upset him to know he couldn't fix something," said Liz Perkins, Andrew's stepmother.

As news broke of Andrew's death, sorrow at the loss of his son brought a different sense of disbelief to Weldon Perkins.

"When you first get the reports, you get that he was just killed by an IED," he said.

To those who knew him, it did not make sense.

"My son would not just die. There has to be more to this," Liz Perkins said.

Weldon Perkins said the information describing his son's death did not add up, leading him to ask for more details.

On Wednesday, his son's commander called revealing the details of Andrew's death and the moments leading up to it, Weldon Perkins said.

Andrew, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne's 3rd Battalion stationed out of Fort Bragg, N.C., was driving behind another Humvee when an IED blast tore through the lead vehicle in an unknown area of Iraq.

"It burst into flames," Weldon Perkins said the commander revealed.

Weldon said Andrew jumped out and ran through the flames, pulling a soldier from the front Humvee to safety.

"And then he realized he didn't have enough medical supplies to treat the soldier. So he ran back through the fire to get his medical supplies, and a second IED went off," Weldon Perkins said.

According to reports Weldon Perkins said he received, his son died immediately.

So far, the military has yet to release information on the deaths. A public affairs specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division said confirmation of the information, including Andrew Perkins' death, is not allowed until the other families are contacted.

The Perkins family has several members still living in Lubbock.

From the Avalanche

Related Link:
Andrew Perkins reported killed in Iraq