Fallen: August 7, 2015
Master Sergeant Andrew McKenna of Bristol, RI was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. On August 7, 2015, he became a RI fallen hero from wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire during a complex attack on his camp, a special operations forces facility in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Even among some of the Army’s best and brightest, Army Master Sergeant Peter Andrew McKenna Jr stood out. “He’s the best of us,” said one of his fellow soldiers, who served in 7th Group. “He personified every single positive characteristic that Special Forces guys wished they exemplified. He’s caring, empathetic, remarkable at everything he does, an amazing shooter, and a good human, first and foremost of all of those things.”
McKenna, 35, was killed Aug. 7 during a complex attack on Camp Integrity, a special operations forces facility in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Rhode Island native died from his wounds after he was attacked by enemy small arms fire, according to the Defense Department. Eight contracted civilians also died in the attack, which took place shortly after 10 p.m. local time, U.S. military officials in Afghanistan said.
McKenna was “the best of guys,” Ross said. “He was phenomenal at his job, but I wish the world would see how genuine he was and how much of an American patriot he really was,” he said.
The attack on Camp Integrity was one of a string of deadly attacks to hit Afghanistan’s capital last week. Enemy fighters got onto the camp after blowing up a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, DoD officials said. Four enemy fighters were killed in the attack.
McKenna died doing what he loved, said a retired Master Sgt who served with McKenna in 7th Group. “His record precedes him,” Corbin said. “Everything on paper doesn’t do him near enough justice, not just the kind of guy he was, but the kind of soldier, the kind of Green Beret he was.”
A native of Bristol, Rhode Island, McKenna joined the Army in July 1998 as an infantryman, going on to serve in the 10th Mountain Division, according to information provided by 7th Group.
He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2002 and was assigned to 7th Group as a communications sergeant in May 2003.
During his 17-year career, McKenna earned the Bronze Star Medal with V device, four Bronze Star Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Free Fall Parachutist Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Special Forces Tab, among several other decorations.
McKenna was awarded the Bronze Star with V device for his actions on March 22, 2005, in Afghanistan. At the time, McKenna was a staff sergeant serving as the senior communications sergeant on a Special Forces team. On that day, McKenna was recognized for his “professionalism and courage under intense enemy fire” during “a joint interagency mission that resulted in the death of senior Taliban commander Raz Mohammed Khanjari and four other enemy combatants,” according to the citation accompanying the award.
McKenna was honest and sincere, an “exceptional leader” on and off the battlefield, Ross said. A whiz at investing, McKenna used to work with his soldiers and teach them how to invest and save their money, a fellow Army mate said. As accomplished as he was on the battlefield, McKenna couldn’t cook, the friend recalled.
McKenna, who this year earned his bachelor’s degree from Norwich University, is survived by his parents, Peter and Carol McKenna, of Bristol.
Master Sgt. Andrew McKenna also will posthumously receive a Purple Heart.