Fort Jackson holds memorial service to honor fallen soldier
Private Andrew McLean passed away while preparing for physical training on September 10
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (WOLO) — Soldiers at Fort Jackson honored one of their own by having a memorial service Friday morning.
Private Andrew McLean passed away on September 10 after suffering what Fort Jackson officials call a medical emergency.
McLean was only at Fort Jackson for 33 days, but those who served in his platoon remember him as being fiercely devoted to his service and always willing to help others.
“He never seemed to be in a bad mood and could always find something positive to say about any situation. When he talked, we all listened,” said Private Coby Martin.
His company commander, Captain Aaron Harwood, said his soldiers recalled how McLean was always willing to put others before himself.
“He was a friend to everyone. He would not bear to have someone in his platoon bay alone or isolated, and he made sure to go out of his way to be their friend,” Capt. Harwood said.
McLean, a 2019 graduate of Lee High School in Sanford, N.C. was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, also known as the “River Raiders.” Upon graduation from basic combat training, McLean would have been trained as an information technology specialist.
Fort Jackson officials say the eighteen-year-old, who hailed from Fayetteville, North Carolina, was preparing to take part in physical training when he suffered what they call a medical emergency on September 10.
The cause of his death is still under investigation, but officials say heat did not play a factor.
Captain Harwood said how his soldiers reacted after his death reflected the impact McLean had on their lives.
“I often heard it whispered between them during those moments of difficulty, ‘what would Andrew have wanted?’ The answer they all gave was that they should support one another and not let each other hurt alone. They should seek to strive as a team and not just to get by, but to accomplish the goal that they all came here and shared: that is to become an American soldier,” Captain Harwood said.
Pvt. Martin says McLean’s spirit still lives on with them today.
“He brought us together and showed no matter what we go through, we have each other to get through it,” Pvt. Martin said.
None of McLean’s family members were at the ceremony today, but they did have a formal funeral for him in Sanford, N.C. back on September 29.