Air Force sergeant killed in accident in Qatar becomes first reported U.S. death in operation
MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) _ An Air Force sergeant was killed in a heavy equipment accident in the Arabian Peninsula, becoming the first announced American death in Operation Enduring Freedom, military officials said Thursday.
Master Sgt. Evander Earl Andrews, who died Wednesday, was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He was originally from Solon, Maine, the base said.
Maj. Eldon Hardwick from the Army National Guard headquarters in Augusta, Maine, said the accident happened in Aludeid, Qatar, and involved a forklift. Qatar is on a peninsula jutting off Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, a defense department spokesman at MacDill, said Andrews was at a ``forward deployed location'' supporting the campaign when the incident happened.
A woman who answered the telephone Thursday morning at the Andrews home in Mountain Home said Andrews' wife, Judy, was not saying anything but would be meeting with her minister and might have something to say later. The woman did not identify herself.
Andrews was the son of Odber and Mary Andrews in Solon, in western Maine. A man who answered the phone at the residence late Thursday morning did not want to speak to reporters.
Three Air Force officers and a deputy sheriff arrived on the family's doorstep at 1:30 a.m. to deliver the news, said Dassie Andrews Jackson of East Madison, who is Odber Andrews' sister and Evander Andrews' aunt.
Evander Andrews, who was raised in Solon, had four young children ages 2 1/2 to 10, Jackson said Thursday. He enlisted in the Air Force after high school and had served 18 years, she said.
While officials at the Maine Guard were familiar with the incident because it involved someone from their state, they said Andrews was not a Guardsman but a regular, active-duty airman.
In addition to Andrews, a soldier was seriously injured Wednesday in Turkey after being trapped between two trucks, military officials said.
Officials did not disclose the soldier's name, the extent of his injuries or the exact location of the accident.
He was airlifted to the military hospital in Germany.
``U.S. medical personnel on the scene performed initial lifesaving care,'' after which the soldier was taken to a U.S. base in Incirlik, Turkey, said Maj. Brad Lowell, a U.S. Central Command spokesman at MacDill.
The soldier was in serious but stable condition Thursday at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, officials said.