June 29, 2018

U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Name Bristol Post Office for Local Fallen Hero Andrew McKenna

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse announced that the U.S. Senate voted to honor the late Army First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna, a Green Beret who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, by passing legislation last night to name a U.S. Post Office in Bristol as the “First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Jr. Post Office.”

Sergeant McKenna was 35 years old when he was killed in action during an insurgent attack on August 7, 2015 in Afghanistan while fighting to defend Camp Integrity as leader of a quick reaction force.

Reed and Whitehouse introduced the bill in the U.S. Senate, which was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin.  Now that the Cicilline measure has been approved by both chambers of Congress, the United States Postal Service facility at 515 Hope Street in Bristol, Sergeant McKenna’s hometown, may be officially designated as the “First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Jr. Post Office” after President Trump signs the bill into law.

“Andrew McKenna was an extraordinary, courageous young man who died defending his fellow soldiers and we are forever indebted to him for his brave sacrifice.   Naming this United States Post Office in Bristol is a small but important recognition of his tremendous contributions to our community and the nation,” said Senator Reed.

“The Senate voted today to honor the life and selfless service of Master Sergeant Andrew McKenna, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “The Bristol post office named in his honor will stand as a reminder to Rhode Islanders forever that Sergeant McKenna was a hero and a patriot.”

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. 

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 SFG (Airborne).

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, stating: “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 shot himself.”

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.

The bill now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921