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June 12, 2007 > Hayward native dies in Iraq

Hayward native dies in Iraq

By Arnie Becker

The Iraq War was brought home recently with the death of Hayward resident Sgt. Andrew J. Higgins, US Army. I have known Andrew since birth. He is the son of a couple with whom I have been friends since 1963 when we were students at San Francisco State University.

Andrew was killed Tuesday, June 5, during his second tour in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan. He was due to be home this month until all tours of duty in Iraq were extended by three months.

The son of Jerry and Cheryl Higgins, Andrew grew up in Hayward and attended school in Fremont to ease his mom's commute, a long-time teacher in the Fremont School District before she retired. Andrew was an only son of an only son of an only son. He enlisted in the army reserves while in high school and later joined the regular army and became both a ranger and paratrooper.

Married in August 2001 to Rachel Fedde, also a native of Hayward, Andrew was barely home two of the not quite six years they were married. Although he expressed doubts about continued American presence in Iraq, he never lost his allegiance to the army and his fellow soldiers. Neither his parents, or Andrew, did or said anything negative about the war nor did they protest in even the simplest of ways. Jerry and Cheryl are typical American parents who raised their son and are proud of him. Although they disagreed with Andrew's choice to enter military service, they supported his decisions and have voted in all elections.

As you read this, stop and honor all of the men and women of our armed services who are serving, or who have served, in Iraq or Afghanistan or other hot spots around the world.

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