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
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 Office.”
“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 force.
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
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,
“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
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.