A Marine veteran was recently killed in Ukraine, reportedly while helping civilians flee the grinding battle in Bakhmut.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Cooper “Harris” Andrews, 26, were first reported by CNN, which spoke with Andrews’ mother and colleagues. The State Department on Monday confirmed that a U.S. citizen had died in Ukraine but didn’t name Andrews.
His mother, Willow Andrews, told CNN that her son was hit by a mortar, likely on April 19 on the “road of life,” a critical supply and evacuation route connecting to Bakhmut, Ukraine. The battle for Bakhmut has been one of the deadliest and most drawn-out of the war in Ukraine.
Andrews served in the Marine Corps from January 2017 to January 2022 and left as a sergeant, according to Corps spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock.
A ground electronics transmission systems maintainer, Andrews earned the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, according to Carlock. His last duty assignment was at Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
He didn’t deploy during his time in the Marine Corps, according to Carlock.
Andrews left Cleveland, Ohio, in November 2022 to fight with the Foreign Legion in Ukraine, a unit of foreign volunteers, CNN reported; after his contract ended in March, he stayed on in the county and was working with the Resistance Committee.
Popular Front, a grassroots media organization that reports on global conflict, said in an Instagram post Monday that Andrews was “a lifelong leftist organiser” and “a good man with a kind soul.”
Andrews is at least the fourth Marine veteran to be killed in Ukraine.
Retired Capt. Grady Kurpasi, 50, a prior-enlisted former scout sniper, was confirmed dead in April, nearly a year after he went missing.
Former Cpl. Pete Reed, 33, was killed in February in Bakhmut, Ukraine, reportedly while providing medical aid to civilians.
Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed in April 2022 and was the first known death of a U.S. citizen fighting in Ukraine.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.