Kilpela

Kilpela
Kilpela
Marine LCPL
Fowlerville, MI
06/10/2005
Age: 
22
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Greenwood Cemetery
Grand River Avenue at Cemetery Road
Fowlerville, MI

Killed while engaged in combat operations in Saqlawiyah, Iraq.
Assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC.

Lance Corporal Andrew Jacob Kilpela was born July 21, 1982. He was the fifth of seven children born to Michael and Cheryl Kilpela. Andrew is survived by his brother Jason 30, of Howell, brother David 28 of Grand Blanc, sister Janice (Erich) Jackson 26, of Royal Oak, brother Jon 26, of Howell, brother Nick 18, of Fowlerville and sister Kristin 16, of Fowlerville.

Andrew was a blond haired, blue eyed, young man who grew up in Redford Township. When he was in preschool, he told his mom “men’s to do what men’s to do, mom.” He had a big heart and always treated his friends with respect. He made friends easily, and seemed to fit into the family dynamic of each of his friends.

Andrew wasn’t afraid of a challenge and wanted to be his own person. He was on his high school wrestling team for two years, his freshman and sophomore years, and wrestled in the 105-pound weight class. Andrew graduated from Fowlerville High School in 2001.

Andrew worked at several jobs after graduation and enjoyed working at Black and Decker at the outlet mall but never really found his niche. He often talked about joining the Marines in high school, but had stopped talking about it after graduation. In October 2002, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He said that the reason he joined was because they had the toughest boot camp. Andrew wanted to prove himself and to show others that he could make it.

Andrew left for Parris Island, South Carolina in November 2002, and graduated from basic training on February 14, 2003. He was so proud to wear the uniform of a United States Marine. His family was proud of him too, because he had proven that he had the metal to make it through the toughest boot camp.

Andrew’s first duty station was MOS training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he trained as a Combat Engineer. In June 2003 he was assigned to Camp Henson in Okinawa, Japan. During his tour there, he had the opportunity to go to Mongolia, where he learned to ride horses.

In March 2005, Andy and the other members of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, from Camp Lejeune, NC. would ship out to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. On June 10, 2005, Lance Corporal Andrew J. Kilpela would be killed in action. He would die alongside his Marine Brother Lance Cpl. Mario Castillo, when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated near their vehicle on a roadway in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. Andrew and his Marine Brothers, and several infantrymen from the 1/6, had been patrolling through the area, posting signs warning local residents to beware of insurgent-emplaced IEDs on the road. Andrew told Mario’s wife, the day they left for Iraq, that Mario has my back and I have his. They died together, covering each other’s back.

When Andrew left home in February 2005, for the last time, he left behind a CD he had compiled with songs he liked. One song, by Tim McGraw, was “Please Remember Me.
Today, we do just that!

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