Andy A Stevens

Sgt. Andy A. Stevens, USMC, age 29 of Tomah, Wis., died Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005, in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was born on Aug. 18, 1976, in Tomah, Wis., to Allen L. and Kaye (Kuester) Stevens. Andy was a 1995 graduate of Tomah High School. Following high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

Andy was proud of his achievement in the Marine Corps, where he was a decorated Scout Sniper and Infantry Squad Leader with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. His hobbies included snowboarding, and he was active in developing and programming computer combat training simulations.

He is survived by his father, Allen (Deb Schroeder) Stevens of Tomah, Wis.; his mother, Sgt. First Class Kaye Olson, Wisconsin National Guard, and Sgt. Maj. John Olson (Retired U.S. Army Reserve) of Eau Claire, Wis.; his sister, Amy (Eric) Pelle of Rice Lake, Wis.; nephews, Aaron and Ryan Pelle of Rice Lake, Wis.; special friend, Melanie Grant of Albany, Ore.; grandparents, Lyle and LaVone Kuester of Menomonie, Wis.; great grandmother, Mable Johnson of Woodville, Wis.; stepsisters, Karla Kaylor of Portland, Ore., and Heidi Olson of Janesville, Wis.; stepgrandparents, David and Betty Schroeder of Clintonville, Wis.; aunts; uncles; cousins; other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Elmer and Martha Stevens; and a brother, Mark Stevens.

Family and friends are invited for visitation on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Funeral Services will be on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, 1:30 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, with a visitation from 11:30 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Pastor William Rice and Pastor Martha Hampton will officiate. A second service will be on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005, 11 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 917 7th St., Menomonie, Wis., 54751, with a visitation from 9 a.m. until the time of service at the church, where Pastor David Whelan will officiate. Burial will follow in the Highland Cemetery, Menomonie, Wis. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church of Tomah, Peace Lutheran Church of Menonomie, Wis., Bethany Lutheran Church of Rice Lake, Wis., the Fort McCoy Challenge Academy, the Tomah High School Athletic Department, the Tomah Boys and Girls Club or your favorite charity in memory of Andy. The Torkelson Funeral Home of Tomah is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are available at www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.

Andy was a true patriot, a great American who gave the last full measure of devotion to his country in which he truly believed. He died a hero, serving and protecting his country. May the Lord guard and guide his soul. SEMPER FI.

A United States Marine who had served on the cadre staff at the Wisconsin ChallenNGe Academy at Fort McCoy and was killed in action in Iraq was honored at a flagpole and marker dedication ceremony at the Academy Dec. 1.

Academy Director M.G. MacLaren told the crowd of guests and the platoon of cadets at the ceremony, “Sergeant Andy Stevens was a Marine dedicated to his country and a charitable citizen to his community as he assumed the role of teacher and mentor for many young adolescents throughout the state of Wisconsin.”

Faithful, honorable and charitable is how MacLaren said colleagues at the academy remembered Stevens.

MacLaren led the dedication ceremony at the Academy. The 25-foot flagpole and marker were donated by Stevens’ parents, Allen Stevens and Kaye Olson and step-father John Olson and step-mother Deb Schroeder.

A flag detail of three cadets raised a new U.S. flag to full-staff, and then lowered the flag to half-staff as part of the dedication. The four parents, with MacLaren’s assistance, then removed a shroud from a memorial marker at the foot of the flagpole. The marker has a photo of Stevens etched into the steel plate, with the words “SGT Andy Stevens, USMC, KIA Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 1, 2005.”

“It is quite fitting this ceremony is held today, Dec. 1,” MacLaren said, “for it was exactly four years ago today, that, while on foot patrol with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, near the city of Fallujah, in the province of al Anbar, Iraq, that Sergeant Stevens’ unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.”

“Sergeant Stevens and nine other Marines died of injuries as the result of that enemy attack,” MacLaren said.
Following Stevens’ graduation from Tomah (Wis.) High School in 1995, he enlisted in the Marines. His life shifted to the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s ChalleNGe program at Fort McCoy, then back to the Marines, MacLaren said.

During Stevens’ year between Marine Corps hitches, he served as a team leader with the Badger Challenge program for two summers and the ChalleNGe Academy in between.

MacLaren, quoting one of Stevens’ academy colleagues, said “he worked with me at Badger (Challenge) in 1999, and I remember how very well he worked with the kids, and I remember how he did it. He was one of the few staff there who understood the science behind what we did and how we did it.”

“He always had a teaching point behind everything he did and made sure the kids knew the teaching point,” the colleague wrote. “He was one of those team leaders who was firm, hard and fair, but he always made sure to come full-circle with the kids, ensuring they learned from every experience.”

Stevens was born Aug. 18, 1976, in Tomah. He was a decorated scout sniper and infantry squad leader. He is buried in Highland Cemetery, Menomonie, Wis.

Attending the ceremony at Fort McCoy were Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, deputy adjutant general for Army, Wisconsin Army National Guard; Brig. Gen. (retired) Andy Schuster; Col. (retired) Larry Olson, executive assistant to the adjutant general; State Command Sgt. Maj. George Stopper; and Pastor Bill Rice of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Tomah where Stevens was a member.

Schuster was the Badger Challenge director when Stevens was on the staff. Larry Olson has agency oversight for the National Guard ChalleNGe program.

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Age: 29
Incident Location: Fallujah, Iraq
Branch: Marines
Rank: Sgt.
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
Units Base: Twentynine Palms, California