- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Facing the Pentagon's charred, punctured face, mourners buried the first U.S. military man killed in the campaign against international terror.
Air Force Master Sgt. Evander Andrews, 36, was killed on Oct. 10 in a forklift accident while helping in the construction of an airstrip in the Persian Gulf emirate Qatar. He entered the Air Force out of high school in his tiny central Maine hometown of Solon and was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.
At Sgt. Andrews' funeral yesterday in Arlington National Cemetery's stately Old Post chapel, Col. Ken Shelton called him a man with a "behind-the-scenes style that was both sincere and heartfelt."
Col. Shelton, former squadron commander, said he learned to recognize Sgt. Andrews "by the soles of his boots and the back of his head," as he could be found much more often working on heavy equipment than sitting in an office.
"Leaders get involved and Andy did," Col. Shelton told the 150 family, friends and Air Force personnel gathered for the service.
Family pastor Thomas Westall, a retired Air Force major, called Sgt. Andrews a hero, prompting agreement from Sgt. Andrews' 9-year-old son, Ethan. "Yep, he is a hero," the boy said in a small voice from the front row, where he sat with his mother, Judy, and three crying younger sisters, Leah, 6, Courtney, 4, and MacKenzie, 2.
An Air Force honor guard carried Sgt. Andrews' flag-draped casket to the burial site, an area amid Arlington's rolling hills shaded by gold-tinged trees about 600 yards from the deep, blackened gash in the Pentagon. He was buried not far from the fresh graves of several who died when terrorist hijackers piloted a jetliner into the Defense Department headquarters.
Mourners gathered under the hot sun of an unusually balmy fall day as seven riflemen fired three volleys and a bugler sounded out the dolorous notes of taps. Pallbearers folded the flag and presented it to Sgt. Andrews' widow and handed another flag to his mother.
Once Sgt. Andrews' headstone takes its place among the cemetery's sea of white, precision-aligned granite slabs, it will read "Operation Enduring Freedom," the military's name for its campaign in Afghanistan against those believed behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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