CHELMSFORD, MA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, F CO, 2D BN, 2D MAR, RCT-7, 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ 05/21/2004
A Marine corporal has died in Iraq less than two weeks before his 26th birthday.
Corporal Andrew Zabierek, 25, died Friday south of Baghdad while serving in the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, according to a statement released Saturday by U.S. Congressman Marty Meehan. The 2nd Marine Division is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Zabierek, who arrived in Iraq in March, was patrolling the Al Anbar province of the country when he was struck by a vehicle, possibly driven by an Iraqi resident, Meehan told The Sun of Lowell, Mass. His father, Stephen Zabierek, told the newspaper he expected to learn more details on Tuesday.
Zabierek, a Clemson University graduate, worked for American Express Financial Advisors in Waltham before volunteering for military service after the Sept. 11 attacks, which affected him deeply, his father said.
“Andrew could have been an officer, but he chose to start out as an enlisted soldier,” he said. “His point was, how do you lead a grunt if you don’t know what a grunt goes through every day?”
Stephen Zabierek said his son had a difficult life in the Middle East, but he enjoyed talking to Iraqi children and said they would flock around him and ask questions about America and his family. Andrew Zabierek’s grandfather was a World War II bombardier and his father served four years in the Navy in the early 1970s. His younger brother, Mark Zabierek, is a second lieutenant and intelligence officer in the Air Force.
Andrew Zabierek, of Chelmsford, Mass., was almost halfway through his four-year commitment to the Marines, The Sun reported.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Andrew. He was a brave young man,” Meehan said. “Andrew answered his call to duty and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the United States, Iraq, and the world. We owe him all a debt of gratitude.”
Lance Corporal Zabierek was killed in action in the Al Anbar province of Iraq while responding to a mortar attack outside his camp. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and was honored by the town of Chelmsford with their Guardian Award in May of 2007. He was also awarded The Medal of Valor by the Chelmsford Elks in June of 2008.
In an effort to create something positive from his passing, members of his family and community leaders created the foundation which bears his name in the hope of continuing the legacy of sacrifice and service that Andrew’s memory inspires.