top of page

Andrew J Kilpela


U.S. Marine Corps


06/10/2005, SAQLAWIYAH, IRAQ

Lance Corporal Kilpela joined the Marine Corps to prove he could get through boot camp. His father, Michael Kilpela, reflected on his frustration when he thought his son didn’t plan for the future, but his perspective has changed.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that he was a person who did not worry about tomorrow,” Michael Kilpela said. “He did not regret yesterday, and he filled every moment of today with love and with joy and with passion for life.”

When he was in preschool, he told his mom “men’s to do what men’s to do, mom.” He had a big heart and always treated his friends with respect. He made friends easily. Andrew was not afraid of a challenge and wanted to be his own person.

Andrew Kilpela joined the Marine Corps in 2003 “to prove it to himself.” Lance Corporal Kilpela was so proud to wear the uniform of a United States Marine. His family was proud of him too, because he had proven that he had the metal to make it through the toughest boot camp.

In June 2003 Lance Corporal Kilpela was assigned to Camp Henson in Okinawa, Japan. During his tour there, he had the opportunity to go to Mongolia, where he learned to ride horses.

“We’re going to throw a party so where he’s at, he’s going to hear it,” his brother, David Kilpela said. “He would want us to rock the house.”

The Marine shared a July birthday with his girlfriend from Redford.

“One of the last things he wanted my parents to do was send flowers in his name on her birthday,” his brother said.

Andrew and his Marine Brothers, and several infantrymen had been patrolling through Saqlawiyah, Iraq, posting signs warning local residents to beware of insurgent-placed IEDs on the road. One of these IEDs detonated near their vehicle during this mission. When Andrew left home in February 2005, for the last time, he left behind a CD he had compiled with songs he liked. One song, by Tim McGraw, was “Please Remember Me.

“We prayed and prayed that he would come home safe and the Lord answered our prayer,” his brother said. “He is in the safest place anybody could be.”


bottom of page