By Debbie Gregory.
A Special Forces soldier killed last week in Afghanistan has been recommended for the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for valor, for his actions during a bloody attack in Kabul that claimed his life. He will also posthumously receive a Purple Heart.
Master Sgt. Peter Andrew McKenna Jr., 35, was struck by enemy small arms fire during an attack on a NATO facility in Kabul, and died from his wounds. The Army Green Beret from Rhode Island had recently been honored at a Fourth of July parade in his hometown of Bristol.
The 17-year Army veteran had also served in Iraq, and was awarded the Bronze Star with V device for heroism in combat operations, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed was also present at the Bristol Fourth of July parade to present McKenna with a U.S. flag that had flown over the Capitol.
Reed called McKenna “an extraordinary young man with a big heart and a dedicated, distinguished soldier.”
Outgoing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said, “This reminds us we have soldiers around the world doing dangerous things every single day.” Odierno said.
From all accounts of those who knew McKenna, he was one of the best of the best. Words like caring, empathetic, genuine and remarkable were used to describe him by those he served alongside.
Retired Master Sgt. Christopher Corbin is a double amputee who served with McKenna. He credits McKenna for playing a critical role in his recovery.
“When I was injured, he stayed with me, for weeks, literally, up at Walter Reed,” said Corbin, who retired last year. “Every time I opened my eyes from whatever surgery or medication, Drew was right there. He’s that guy you can count on.”
Rhode Island state flags will be flown at half-staff through McKenna’s funeral services.
McKenna began his service in 1998 as an infantryman, and qualified for Special Forces in 2002. He was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, now based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, as communications sergeant in 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in strategic studies from Norwich University last year.
Our sincerest condolences go out to McKenna’s parents, Peter and Carol, and all of his friends and loved ones.
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Green Beret Killed In Kabul : Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory