PEDERSEN-KEEL, Capt. Andrew Michael, US Army
In Afghanistan on Monday (March 11, 2013) Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel, US Army was mortally wounded. Andrew is the son of Helen Pedersen Keiser and Bob Keiser of Madison and Henry Keel of Pompano Beach, FL and a sister, Mary Elizabeth Keel. Also survived by his fiance, Celeste Pizza and many loving, close family and friends. Andrew was born June 8, 1984 in South Miami, FL. Andrew grew up in Madison. He attended and graduated from Avon Old Farms High School. He entered the Army in May of 2006 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in American Legal Studies from the United States Military Academy and commissioned as an Infantry Officer. After completing the officer basic course at Fort Benning, he arrived at his first assignment as an Infantry Rifle Platoon leader with 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Hood, TX in June 2007. In June 2008, he deployed with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in support of OEF IIX and IX as an executive officer, and was selected for a second platoon leadership position in September 2008 with 3rd Platoon, B Company where he remained for the remainder of that deployment. As a Platoon Leader in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan he led his platoon in over 150 combat foot patrols and three air assault operations in a platoon area of operations that included five different villages. Upon returning from this deployment Andrew was identified as the new Battalion S-1 Administrative Officer in September 2009, which he oversaw the manning drawdown of 2-2 Infantry Regiment during 3rd Brigade, lst Infantry Division's BRAC directed transition from Fort Hood, TX to Fort Knox, KY. Upon completion of the troop drawdown, and formal encasement of the unit colors, he attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection in November 2009. In Sept. 2010, he graduated from the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Knox, KY and began the Special Forces Qualification Course in November 2010, where he also studied Pashto during language phase. In 2011, Andrew graduated from Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group where he served as an ODA Commander until his current deployment in August 2012 as an ODA Commander in Afghanistan. At the time of his death Captain Pedersen-Keel was deeply involved in training the Afghan Army. Captain Pedersen-Keel's awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, two Bronze Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Metal, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Parachutist Badge. Posthumously, Andrew is receiving a third Bronze Star and a Purple Heart in a ceremony at Fort Bragg, NC. When possible, Andrew loved to spend his free time with his friends, traveling, attending concerts and fixing up his new home in North Carolina.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. George Church, 33 Whitfield St., Monday, March 25 at 11 a.m. Burial with Full Military Honors will be held in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA on Wed. March 27 at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675, www.woundedwarriorproject.org, or to Special Forces Charitable Trust, c/o David T. Guernsey Jr., Executive Director, PO Box 53, Essex, CT 06426, specialforcescharitabletrust.org/donate. Arrangements in care of the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St, Guilford, CT. To share a memory or leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit: www.GuilfordFuneralHome.com.