McKenna sacrificed his life protecting his fellow service members during an
insurgent attack in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen
David Cicilline and Jim Langevin have introduced legislation to name a U.S. Post
Office in honor of the late Army First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna, a Green Beret.
Introduced by Reed in the Senate and Cicilline in the House, the bill would
designate the United States Postal Service facility at 515 Hope Street in Bristol,
Sergeant McKenna’s hometown, as the «First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Jr. Post
«Andrew McKenna was an extraordinary, courageous young man. He died defending his
fellow soldiers and we are forever indebted to Sergeant McKenna for his service and
sacrifice. Andrew’s life was cut short, but his service will not be forgotten and
this United States Post Office in Bristol will serve as an enduring tribute to a
young man who gave so much for his country and community,» said Senators Reed and
Whitehouse and Congressmen Cicilline and Langevin in a joint statement.
A Rhode Island native, Peter Andrew McKenna Jr., was a member of 1st Battalion, 7th
Special Forces Group out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Sergeant McKenna was 35
years old when he was killed during an insurgent attack on August 7, 2015 in
Afghanistan while fighting to defend Camp Integrity as leader of a quick reaction
After graduating from Mount Hope High School in 1998, Andrew McKenna enlisted in the
U.S. Army and began serving in the 10th Mountain Division as an infantryman. He
completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2002 and was assigned to C
Company, 1st Battalion 7th SFG (Airborne).
Over his 17 year career in the military, he saw six deployments – five to
Afghanistan and one to Iraq – and earned five Bronze Stars, as well as the
Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal second award, the Army
Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal
fifth award, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism
Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army
Service Ribbon, and the NCO Professional Development Ribbon third award. He also
earned the Master Parachutist badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault
badge, the Freefall Parachutist Jumpmaster badge, and the Special Forces tab.
One of McKenna’s Bronze Stars was awarded with a V for valor device, which
recognized Andrew’s heroic actions on March 22, 2005, in Afghanistan, when, while
serving as the senior communications sergeant on a Special Forces team, Sgt. 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.»
Andrew was also posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, as well as a Silver Star, the
nation’s third-highest decoration for valor, for his heroic actions to save others
at Camp Integrity during the firefight in Kabul that took his life.
Captain Jophiel Philips, 27th SOW/JA, fought alongside Sgt. McKenna during the
attack on Camp Integrity, and credits him for saving the lives of his fellow
soldiers. Philips recounted his experiences in the Nov. 2015 issue of the
Operational Law Quarterly, stating:
«On Aug. 7 at 1015 hours, I was near the entry control point at Camp Integrity when
five insurgents breached the gate by detonating a vehicle-borne improvised explosive
device, immediately killing seven security personnel and sending me flying through
the air,» Philips stated. «Subsequently, four insurgents entered our camp.»
Philips was left 15 yards from the blast site with enemies approaching.
«I was the closest person to the insurgents,» Philips said. «[Army] 1st Sgt. Peter
Andrew McKenna, Jr., a green beret, sprinted toward me, firing on the insurgents,
stopping them from advancing and detonating their suicide vests. After Sgt. McKenna
was hit a second time, [Army] Master Sgt. George Vera stepped up to head-off the
insurgents and was shot himself.»
Andrew McKenna earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Strategic Studies from Norwich
University and is also a graduate of the Warrior Leader Course, Advanced Leader
Course, and Senior Leader Course.
He is survived by his parents, Peter and Carol McKenna, of Bristol, and preceded in
death by his older brother, the late Patrick A. McKenna.
Before the bill to name the U.S. Post Office the «First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna
Jr. Post Office» can be signed into law, it must be approved by both the U.S. House
of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.