||Andy Harvell, 24th STS,
The Hill, NC.
Special Tactics Members Die In CH-47 Shot Down
was a loving husband to
his wife Krista, a caring father to his two children Hunter and Ethan
and a proud United States Air Force Combat Controller.
was also a bad ass warrior who
struck fear in the hearts of terrorists.
We will miss him forever but we take
solace knowing he gave his life serving his country and fighting for
what he believed was right.".................. Mrs. Harvell.
Andy's brother, Sean Harvell is also a Combat Controller
Sean is about two years older than his brother and in April 2010, Sean, an Air Force staff sergeant, was awarded two Silver
Stars as a Combat Controller while under enemy fire in Afghanistan. The
Silver Star is the military's third-highest award for valor.
after joining the Air Force, candidates for the Special Tactics
Squadron must successfully complete three years of arduous training
before they can be assigned to a unit, according to retired Air Force
Col. John Carney.
"Out of 100
people who go into that rigorous training, maybe 10 of them will make
it out," said Carney, who is credited with creating the special tactics
units in the 1980s.
Staff Sergeant Andrew W. Harvell was a
Combat Controller assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope
Field, NC. Sergeant Harvell was born in Long Beach, California, on 26
September 1984; he was 26 years old. Sergeant Harvell attended Millikan
High School in Long Beach. After graduating from high school in June
2002, Sergeant Harvell enlisted in the Air Force and arrived at
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in November 2002. Upon graduation from
Basic Military Training, he immediately entered the Combat Control
training pipeline. Over the next 24 months, Sergeant Harvell completed
numerous Air Force and joint service training schools such as Army
Airborne School, Air Force Survival School, Air Force Air Traffic
Control School and Air Force Combat Control School. He was then
assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron where he completed
the Special Forces Combat Dive Course, Special Forces Military Freefall
School and all upgrade requirements for combat-mission-ready status as
a Combat Controller. In January 2006, Sergeant Harvell was assigned to
the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina,
where he completed four combat deployments in support of Operations
ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, as well as numerous joint exercises
and training events.
at Pope, Sergeant Harvell successfully assessed for the 24th Special
Tactics Squadron and was assigned to the unit in May of 2009. He was on
his second deployment with the squadron in support of Operation
ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Harvell‘s military awards include the Bronze
Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Defense
Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Joint Service
Commendation medal, the Join Service Achievement Medal, and the Air
Force Combat Action Medal. He was a stat-line jumpmaster.
the night of 6 August 2011, Sergeant Harvell was part of an elite
special operations team executing a helicopter assault into the Tangi
Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan. While approaching the target,
their CH-47 helicopter was shot down, killing everyone on board.
perished as a warrior, taking the fight to our nation‘s enemies. He is
survived by his wife, Krista, two sons Hunter and Ethan, father John
Harvell, mother Jane Maher, brother Technical Sergeant Sean Harvell,
and sister Anales Eder.
A sad homecoming for Long Beach
|LOS ALAMITOS — Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell arrived home for the last time Tuesday.
On a hot, cloudless day at the
Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, the body of the 26-year-old
combat veteran from Long Beach was returned to his family and a group
of about 300 mourners.
A public memorial service and burial will be held Saturday.
Harvell died Aug. 6 in Wardak
province, Afghanistan, when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was in
crashed after being hit with enemy fire from Taliban insurgents.
The crash, which killed 38,
including 30 Americans, most of whom were elite Navy SEALs, was the
largest single deadliest loss for American forces in the decade-old war.
On Tuesday at 2:18 p.m. a
Kalitta Charters plane landed at Los Alamitos, on which the body of
Harvell was accompanied by his brother, Staff Sgt. Sean Harvell.
After the casket was removed and
the family approached, an Air Force chaplain said to a hushed crowd,
"America stands at a crossroads, but it stands strong because of men
and women like Andrew Harvell."
The chaplain then asked for a
prayer for Harvell and "for all that died on that terrible day in a
helicopter crash; we pray for their comfort."
Harvell's family didn't speak publicly.
||However, Harvell's widow, Krista, issued a statement saying her husband
loved his career in the military and served his country well.
She added that Harvell left three legacies, one was his career, and the other two were his sons, Hunter, 3, and Ethan, 5 months.
Left; The Harvell family walks behind the casket of Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26,
of Long Beach, during a Hero Mission at the Joint Forces Training Base, Los
Alamitos on Tuesday.
The grieving family was supported by about 100 members of the Patriot
Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that forms processionals and honors
the war dead.
|Bill Huddleston, a former police officer, says he joined the Riders two years ago and has been on about 40 "missions," as the rides are called, to greet those who died in combat. "I want to show (the
families) that they're not alone," Huddleston said, choking with
emotion as he spoke. "That's what we all want to do is to show our
support and protect them. They've had tremendous loss."
Harvell was a Combat
Controller, assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, out of Fort
Bragg in North Carolina. The 2002 Millikan High School graduate
coordinated air support with troops on the ground in hostile situations.
Coincidentally, Harvell's older brother, Sean, was awarded two Silver Stars for action in Afghanistan in May and July of 2007.
The Air Force cited
Sean Harvell for putting himself in the line of enemy fire to direct
air support that killed hundreds of enemy combatants during battles in
May and July 2007.
of the fatalities in the crash were members of SEAL Team 6, the unit
that killed Osama bin Laden. Military officials said none of the crash
victims was on that mission in Pakistan against the al-Qaida leader.
Huddleston has 40 dog-tag style
emblems from each ceremony he has attended. As he watched the hearse
and grieving family leave the Los Alamitos facility he remarked about
the missions: "It doesn't get any easier."
Controller Buried Had “Heart of a Lion”
By Maj. Kristi Beckman
— The last of three Airmen, who died in an Aug. 6 helicopter crash in
Afghanistan, were buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery here Sept 10.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell, an Air Force Special
Operations Command Combat Controller, was one of 30 Americans killed in action
when the CH-47 helicopter they were flying in crashed in the Wardak province of
Afghanistan. Two other teammates, pararescuemen Tech. Sgts. Daniel L. Zerbe and
John W Brown, were buried in separate ceremonies in August at Arlington
National Cemetery, Va.
Harvell was a Combat Controller among the most
highly trained special operations force in the U.S. military. The motto of a Combat
Controller; "First There," reaffirms a Combat Controller's commitment
of undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the
way for other forces to follow, according to the af.mil factsheet
At Harvell's memorial service Sept 9, one of his
former commanders said he witnessed firsthand the beating "heart of a
lion" within all of Harvell's actions.
"Harvell was put to the test in the Combat
Controller pipeline, a grueling two years of training, but he never gave up and
instilled confidence in everyone around him," the lieutenant colonel said
"He attacked every day at full-throttle, with passion and love of his
family and brothers in arms, (which) was exactly what our nation needed on the
As a Combat Controller, Harvell's job was to deploy
undetected into hostile environments to establish assault zones, conduct air
traffic control at forward airfields, while simultaneously conducting command
and control of close air support assets in support of U.S. Special Operations
Harvell's memorial included more than 300 family,
friends and teammates. Most remembered Harvell's unparalleled sense of humor
and the way he could light up a room with laughter, whether at home or on the
battlefield. During most of the
memorial, the crowd was in tears with laughter, retelling stories of Harvell as
a prankster, yet they said his professionalism was bar none.
A fellow Combat Controller said "Listening to
Andy on the 'mic' was like sweet music. He put the pilots at ease with the
confidence in his voice."
One of Harvell's team leads said "He could
switch instantly from jokester to one of the most brave and technically
proficient Combat Controllers I've ever witnessed"
His sense of humor was second to no one, and
"it was a pretty safe bet he would deliver the funniest and by for the
wittiest comment, no doubt about it," said one of Harvell's closest
friends and teammates.
"He could always make me smile," he said
"Not a day will pass that I won't miss you. But I promise you I will not
sit around and mourn losing you, but rather celebrate your life by living my
life intentionally and purposefully."
In homage, he said the most accurate way to define
a best friend is not just your favorite friend the friend you spent the most
time around but rather someone who forever changes you and helps to mold the
very core of your character. His
friends and family said they would live not just through cherished memories and
fenny stories, but through living their lives to the fullest.
Krista Harvell said when her husband died, a part of
her was taken that will never be replaced but she said although that piece was
taken, it was filled with an uncanny feeling of pride.
Left; Maj. Gen. O.G. Mannon, vice commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presents a flag to Krista Harvell.
"I am more proud of my Andy today than
yesterday, and I did not think that possible," she said "He was an
amazing husband and an untouchable father. He was very rare in the person he
was, but for me he was rare in the sense he was able to play both sides of the
fence, he was a warrior and took to the enemy without hesitation, but when
home, he was kind gentle, patient and completely loving to our children and
Another teammate said he'll miss the way Harvell
used to talk about his two sons and how they changed his life forever. It was
amazing watching him raise them, he said
"He has left behind three remarkable legacies:
the first is his legacy as a Combat Controller, and
second and third are our
two sons, Hunter and Ethan," Krista Harvell said "Though he is not
here physically, our two sons will keep him with me here on earth until we meet
again in heaven."
Harvell's funeral procession led 30 miles from his
hometown of Long Beach, Calif., to Los Angeles National Cemetery with his
casket in a glass caisson, pulled by a motorcycle hearse company. Harvell's
pall bearers rode on motorcycles led by Harvell's brother, Tech. Sgt. Sean
During the funeral, an AC-I30H gunship from Cannon
Air Force Base, N.M. flew overhead as full military honors were rendered. The
honor guard from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., folded the American flag
draped over the casket while four F-16s from Fresno Air National Guard Base,
Calif., flew overhead in a missing-man formation. The flag was presented to Harvell's family by
Maj. Gen. O.G. Mannon, AFSOC vice commander.
After the ceremony, more than 100 Combat Controllers
and pararescuemen laid their berets alongside Harvell's and hammered their
'flashes' into the casket, while two of his Marine brethren included a sniper
'hog's tooth' round and a non-commissioned officer sword.
"As an older brother, I looked up to him,"
Sean Harvell said "As Andy always said 'victory or Valhalla.' See you in
Valhalla was a Norse mythological hall for only the bravest warriors. In
keeping with that tradition, the family chose a Viking style dinner complete
with a feast of turkey legs, a celebration fit for their beloved husband
father, son, brother; teammate and Air Commando.
|8-6-2011; Insurgents shot
down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan,
killing at least 30 Americans, most of them belonging to the same elite
unit as the Navy SEALs who killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, U.S.
officials said Saturday. It was the deadliest single loss for American
forces in the decade-old war against the Taliban.
downing, in which seven Afghan commandos were also killed, was a
stinging blow to the lauded, tight-knit SEAL Team 6 months after its
crowning achievement. It was also a heavy setback for the U.S.-led
coalition as it begins to draw down thousands of combat troops fighting
what has become an increasingly costly and unpopular war.
of the 22 SEAL personnel killed in the crash were part of the team that
killed bin Laden in a May raid in Pakistan, but they belonged to the
same unit. Their deployment in the Friday night raid in which the
helicopter crashed would suggest that the target was a high-ranking
operations forces, including the SEALs and others, have been at the
forefront in the stepped up strategy of taking out key insurgent
leaders in targeted raids, and they will be relied on even more as
regular troops pull out.
strike is also likely to boost the morale of the Taliban in a key
province that controls a strategic approach to the capital Kabul. The
Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with a rocket while it was
taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the
province of Wardak late Friday. Wreckage of the craft was strewn across
the crash site, a Taliban spokesman said.
senior U.S. administration official in Washington said it appeared the
craft had been shot down. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because the crash is still being investigated. The U.S.-led coalition
in Afghanistan has not yet provided any details on the crash or the
circumstances of Friday night’s operation.
deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men
and women of our military and their families,
who have served in Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said
in a statement, adding that his thoughts and prayers go out to the
families of those who perished.
dead included 22 SEALs, three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan
Army troops, a dog and his handler, a civilian interpreter and the
helicopter crew, according to a current U.S. official and a former U.S.
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because military
officials were still notifying the families of the dead.
Air Force air
controllers were actually 1 Combat Controller, Andy Harvell, and 2
PJ'S; Dan Zerbe and John Brown, assigned to the Two Four.
Afghanistan) — A military helicopter was shot down in eastern
Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops, most of them
from the elite Navy SEALs unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin
Laden, along with seven Afghan commandos. It was the deadliest single
incident for American forces in the decade-long war.
The Taliban claimed they
downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a
raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of
Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the
scene. A senior U.S. administration official in Washington said the
craft was apparently shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on
condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.
NATO confirmed the overnight
crash took place and that there "was enemy activity in the area." But
it said it was still investigating the cause and conducting a recovery
operation at the site. It did not release details or casualty figures.
"We are in the process of accessing the facts," said U.S. Air Force
Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman.
One current and one former
U.S. official said that the dead included more than 20 Navy SEALs from
SEAL Team Six, the unit that carried out the raid in Pakistan in May
that killed bin Laden. They were being flown by acrew of the 160th
Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Both officials spoke on condition
of anonymity because families are still being notified.
President Barack Obama
mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that
the crash serves as a reminder of the "extraordinary sacrifices" being
made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned
"the Afghans who died alongside our troops."
The death toll would surpass
the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in
Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 — the June 28, 2005
downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that
incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed
when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue four SEALs
under attack by the Taliban. Three of the SEALs being rescued were also
killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll
for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.
With its steep mountain
ranges, providing shelter for militants armed with rocket-propelled
grenade launchers, eastern Afghanistan is hazardous terrain for
military aircraft. Large, slow-moving air transport carriers like the
CH-47 Chinook are particularly vulnerable, often forced to ease their
way through sheer valleys where insurgents can achieve more level lines
of fire from mountainsides.
Afghan President Hamid
Karzai on Saturday gave the first public word of the new crash, saying
in a statement that "a NATO helicopter crashed last night in Wardak
province" and that 31 American special operations troops were killed.
He expressed his condolences to President Barack Obama.
The helicopter was a
twin-rotor Chinook, said an official at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was
receiving his information from an Afghan officer in Kabul.
The crash took place in the
Sayd Abad district of Wardak province, said a provincial government
spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid. The volatile region borders the province
of Kabul where the Afghan capital is located and is known for its
strong Taliban presence.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah
Mujahid said in a statement that Taliban fighters downed the helicopter
during a "heavy raid" in Sayd Abad. He said NATO attacked a house in
Sayd Abad where insurgent fighters were gathering Friday night. During
the battle, the fighters shot down the helicopter, killing 31 Americans
and seven Afghans, he said, adding that eight insurgents were killed in
NATO Airstrike Kills Insurgents Who Caused
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2011
– Coalition forces used a precision airstrike to kill Taliban
insurgents involved in the Aug. 6 downing of the helicopter carrying 30
U.S. service members and eight Afghans, the commander of U.S. and
coalition forces in Afghanistan said today.
In a briefing from his
headquarters in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Marine Corps Gen. John R.
Allen told Pentagon reporters the action was a continuation of the
original mission to dismantle the leadership of an enemy network in
Wardak province’s Tangi Valley.
“This does not
ease our loss,” Allen said. “But we must and we
will continue to relentlessly pursue the enemy.”
Near midnight on Aug. 8, the
general said, coalition forces called in a precision airstrike with
F-16s over the Chak district of Wardak province. According to details
International Security Assistance Force officials released today, the
strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who
fired the shot -- which ISAF assessed to be a rocket-propelled grenade,
Allen said -- associated with the Aug. 6 helicopter crash.
Mohibullah was a key
facilitator in an insurgent attack cell led by Din Mohammad, a Taliban
leader killed in a previous special operations mission, ISAF officials
said. As a leader in Mohammad’s network in the Tangi Valley,
Mohibullah had as many as 12 Taliban fighters under his command,
including potential suicide bombers.
Special operations forces
received several intelligence leads and tips from local civilians and
after an exhaustive manhunt, ISAF officials said, they located
Mohibullah and the shooter as they were trying to flee the country.
The security force located
and followed the insurgents to a wooded area in the Chak district.
After making sure no civilians were in the area, the force called for
the airstrike that killed Mohibullah, the shooter and several Taliban
Pictured Above; Instructors from the Combat Control School at
Pope Field, N.C. participated in carrying a log dedicated to fallen comrade
Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell around the flightline, March 15, 2013. The log,
estimated to weigh 1,250 pounds, is carved with the words “Big Andy” on one
side and “Victory or Valhalla” on the other. The six-mile journey started at
the Combat Control School but was shared by members of the 21st Special Tactics
Squadron and the 24th Special Tactics Squadron.
"Big Andy" and his mantra "Victory or Valhalla"
- POPE FIELD, N.C. -- Special tactics operators from across Pope Field,
N.C. took part in a six-mile walk around the flightline carrying a log
dedicated to a fallen comrade March 15.
The log, carved in honor of
Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell, has an estimated weight of 1,250 pounds.
Harvell's nickname "Big Andy" is carved on one side of the log and his
mantra "Victory or Valhalla" is carved on the other. Harvell was killed
in action while serving in Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2011.
"We have prospective students
carry logs and poles to promote team work, motivation and pride," said
Senior Master Sgt Scott Innis, Combat Control School Commandant. "After
the pole was finished, the staff at Combat Control School decided that
combat controllers should carry it before students. We went further and
invited the 21st and 24th Special Tactics Squadrons to be involved, as
Andy had been assigned to both during his brief career. We split the
distance evenly around the flight line."
The journey around the
flightline started and ended with the instructors from the Combat
Control School and was passed to the special tactics squadrons along
the route. The one rule for this trip was the log doesn't touch the
ground again until it is back at the Combat Control School.
A brief ceremony honoring fallen
special tactics operators concluded the event with students,
instructors and current operators in attendance.
Above; A short ceremony was held at the Combat
Control School wrapping up the 6 mile journey around the Pope Field, N.C.
flightline while carrying a 1,250 pounds log dedicated to Staff Sgt. Andrew
Harvell who was killed while serving in Afghanistan Sept. 9, 2011. Instructors
and student of the school, as well as current special tactics operators
recognized those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.
|The Harvell Fund; Honoring
SSGT Andrew W. Harvell and the 31 hero's that gave the ultimate
sacrifice August 6, 2011 to protect our freedom. The Harvell WOD
is an annual fundraiser for Hunter and Ethan Harvell, the sons of USAF
SSGT Andrew W. Harvell.
"Big Andy" William Harvell, 26 years old of Southern Pines, NC was
killed on the night of August 6, 2011. Andy was part of an elite
special operations team executing a helicopter assault into the Tangi
Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan. While approaching the
target, their CH-47 helicopter was shot down, killing everyone on
baord. Andy was born on September 26, 1984 and Memorial Hospital
in Long Beach, California. He was the second of three children,
Sean, his older brother and Analese, his little sister, who were all
born and raised in Long Beach. Andy played football for 4 years
at Millikan High School where he graduated in 2002. After
graduation, Andy enlisted in the US Air Force and completed the
training pipeline to become a combat controller. In 2006, Andy
was assigned to the 21st Special Tatics Squadron, where he completed 4
deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
In 2009, he tried out for and was selected to the 24th Special Tatics
Squadron, the pinnacle of Air Force Special Operations teams. It
was his second deployment with his new unit that Andy was bound for an
enemy target and was shot down with his brothers in arms. Andy's
military awards include the Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the
Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the
Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal,
and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. He was a static-line
jumpmaster. In 2007, Andy met Krista Klonk and married two years
later, just days after completing his selection for the 24th STS as
well as a 40-mile ruck march through the Appalachian Mountains.
Andy was the father of two boys, three year old Hunter, and five-month
old Ethan, who were the pride of his life. Andy was a true
patriot, a man who loved his wife dearly, a man who strived to be the
best father to his sons that he could be, and a man that could make a
crowd laugh at anytime and constantly did. Andy perished as a
warrior, taking the fight to our nation's enemies. He is survived
by his wife Krista, two sons, Hunter and Ethan, father John Harvell,
mother Jane Maher, brother Tech Sgt. Sean Harvell (also a USAF Combat
Controller), and sister Analese Eder.
The funds donated to this cause are
not part of a Non-profit organization or fund, but are simply placed
into an education fund for Hunter and Ethan Harvell. The account is
managed by myself, Christopher Jones, and Doug Matthews. I am the
custodian on the account and if anything were to happen to me the
account would be automatically transferred to Krista's control until
Hunter and Ethan reach the age of 18. Andy, Doug, and I were all
stationed together, were roommates, and very close friends in Florida
as well as later when we were all stationed at Pope Air Force Base,
North Carolina. There is no Harvell WOD organization, or company, no
paid employees, just two friends managing the website and contributing
everything we receive from donations to the education fund for Hunter
and Ethan. Everything you donate goes directly to the fund.