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Specialist Andy Alaniz

June 22, 2012

Weeks ago, someone reached out to The American Hero Project. Her goal was to have the story told of a soldier who had fallen as his adult life had just begun.

On February 26th, 1991, Catherine Alaniz was married to 20 year-old United States Army Specialist Andy Alaniz, of Corpus Christi, Texas. The couple was 6 months along in the pregnancy of their daughter, Andee Annette Medearis Alaniz. Their future was bright, hopes were high, a cease-fire was on the horizon in Operation Desert Storm and Andy was sure to quickly return from Saudi Arabia.

In the blink of an eye, many lives changed as one life ended.

February 27th, 1991, was the last day before President George H.W. Bush declared a liberated Kuwait and a coalition cease-fire. Sadly, this was the day Andy Alaniz was killed by what was labeled as friendly fire.

Andy was raised in Corpus Christie by his loving parents, Teresa and Cecilo Alaniz. He graduated from Moody High School in 1989 and he and Catherine were married shortly before Andy was deployed to the Persian Gulf. Their daughter, Andee, arrived on May 13, 1991. Sadly, her father had been gone for nearly 3 months when she came into this world. She’s now 21 years old and has endured a lifetime without her father. One thing I’m sure she’s aware of is the fact that her father was the subject of 1991’s World Press Photo of the Year, taken by David Turnley of the Detroit Free Press.

The photo depicts U.S. Army Sgt. Ken Kozakiewicz grieving as he learns that the body bag at his feet contains the remains of his friend, Army Specialist Andy Alaniz. Kozakiewicz was also injured in the friendly fire which killed Andy. The photo was taken on the last day of the Gulf War, as they were seen being taken away from the war zone by a MASH unit evacuation helicopter.

In April of 1991, the Westside Little League complex dedicated Andy Alaniz Pony Field, in honor of their hometown hero.

Andy’s wife, Catherine,  spoke these words on her MySpace page dedicated to her late husband; “Andy I were married June 29th, 1990. We only had two weeks together before he was deployed to Iraq. I became pregnant with our only child in those few weeks. I was six months pregnant when the military came to the door. It is a feeling I will never forget. It felt like my heart fell to my feet and I could not catch my breath. Someone threw the emergency brake on the Earth and I came crashing into Hell! It has been a very long road. I hope this page helps my daughter get to know her dad through his friends and family that leave comments. I dedicate this page to a little part of Andy that God gave me to love everyday. Andee, I love you. And I miss your dad everyday of my life. He would be so proud of you!”

Today, Andy lies in rest at Rose Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Texas. As we remember him and all he contributed to this life, we shall not forget the sacrifice he made for his family, his community and his country.

Andy Alaniz: American Hero

One Comment
  1. Catherine Alaniz-Simonds permalink

    Thank you for helping to keep his memory alive! This is a wonderful website and I am grateful for all your efforts. Thank you!

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