MESA, AZ, USA U.S. Army SPC, 2D BN, 2D INFANTRY, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION, VILSECK, GERMANY NORMANDY, IRAQ 10/18/2004
A 21-year-old soldier who was the fourth generation in his family to serve in the military has died in Iraq. Specialist Andrew C. Ehrlich grew up an Army brat and lived on several military bases before his family settled in Mesa about eight years ago, his father, retired Master Sergeant Mark Ehrlich, said Thursday.
“He was an infantryman like I was, like his grandfather and great-grandfather,” said Mark Ehrlich, who retired from the Army eight years ago.
“I knew the moment he was born he was going to do it … We have an Army and combat arms tradition in our family.”
Ehrlich died Monday in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, from a noncombat injury that is under investigation, the Department of Defense said.
Ehrlich was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany. He had served in Iraq since February 2003, taking on duties as a rifleman, a machine gunner and a radio operator, his father said.
“He was up there doing what he wanted to do,” Mark Ehrlich said. “When they were in a convoy, he was one of the guys behind the machine guns for everybody to see.”
When he talked about being in such an exposed position, Ehrlich was matter-of-fact, saying it was part of the job, Mark Ehrlich said. Ehrlich, who was born at Fort Benning, Ga., graduated from Dobson High School in Mesa in 2002 and enlisted in November of the same year.
He was happy-go-lucky and loved heavy metal music, videos and hanging out, his father said.
“He took pure pleasure in having his mother getting the Cradle of Filth CD and sending it to Iraq for him,” Mark Ehrlich said. “She would go to the music store and the kids are looking at her.”
Ehrlich is survived by his father, mother and a brother.