Specialist Andrew Coughlan, US Army

CoughlanGradPic editAndrew was born and raised in Ludington, Michigan, and got motivated by the events of 9/11 to enlist in the Army right after his high school graduation in 2002. He deployed to Iraq in September 2003.

Andrew’s battalion conducted combat operations in and around an area known as the Triangle of Death, facing an unknown enemy through ambush attacks that included roadside bombs, small arms, and mortar attacks. One day, the enemy initiated a heavy mortar attack on forward operating base Chosin, and the platoon’s living area was directly hit. The impact caused the tents they lived in to catch on fire, and set off secondary explosions. Andrew’s squad sustained casualties, with several soldiers being wounded. Throughout the attack, Andrew left the safety of a bunker numerous times to give aid to the wounded and bring them to safety. He also helped with medical evacuation and was awarded an Army Accommodation Medal with Valor for his actions. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and medically separated from the Army in 2006.

Andrew currently lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with his wife, Ashley, and their two daughters, Maddison and Emery. He graduated with a degree in human services from Columbia College in the spring of 2017 and is currently working at Wounded Warrior Project in Jacksonville, Florida, as an alumni manager.

“My transition from the military started over ten years ago. One of the goals that I had for myself was to be the first college graduate in my family, but I failed out of school and lost motivation to continue to pursue education. I built up a support system and got my motivation back. Sentinels of Freedom was part of that support system, and I have graduated college with a degree that will help me be able to help other transitioning Veterans. I will always be thankful for the opportunities that SOF has provided for me and my family.”