SGT (Ret.) Andrew Mullee, USA
Drew grew up in Northeast Ohio playing baseball and football before going on to play college baseball. His major was sports management and plans to pursue it again in the near future. His father’s service in Vietnam (Bronze Star with “V”) was Drew’s inspiration to join the Army. Drew, also, had both grandfathers and a cousin who served in the Army.
He enlisted in the U.S Army Infantry in March 2008. After completing airborne school, his beautiful brand new bride, Jennifer, and he eloped to their first duty station in Bamberg, Germany. After a 3 year tour in Europe, one of which was spent in Afghanistan, the Army sent him to 4-23 infantry regiment, 2nd brigade, 2nd infantry division, Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Jennifer was 3 months pregnant when his brigade went wheels up for Afghanistan on 16 April 2012. Four days later he was informed the little bump in his wife's belly was a boy, they would name Easton. On May 12, 2012, his unit started a patrol from their check point in triple degree heat in Maywan province. Drew was the spearhead of the dismounted patrol using a hand-held IED detection device; he laid green plastic poker chips to signal fellow soldiers a safe path. They used this method in the area of operation during prior patrols.
Twenty-five meters from their objective (a building they suspected the enemy used to produce bombs) lay a rock formation and a green poker chip, not emplaced by any coalition forces. Leary of the situation, he called up what he was viewing to ensure the platoon’s safety. While security set in, a fellow NCO, SGT Brandon Nahorny, and Drew made their way to the front of the building.
After clearing the front or north side, they moved to the western side when he noticed colored wires on the ground. He confirmed the wires were not connected to any device and that they were only wire stripping. As he moved the head of the metal detector across where the wires had lay, he was more than confident his unit found their first IED of the deployment.
Before he could think another thought, he was hurled through the air then crashing into the ground with his helmet over his face, causing traumatic brain injury and a deafening ringing in his ears. At this point he was unaware he lost his right leg at the knee and that his left calf had been blown out of the left side of his leg.
It took every ounce of energy he had to remove his helmet, and yell to Brandon he needed help. Unfortunately, so did Brandon. He knew if his femoral artery was hit he had less than two minutes to apply a tourniquet to even stand a chance. Luckily that was not the case as his unit medic was able to go to work putting tourniquets high on both his legs.
With the scorching sun beating down and heat from the explosion reminding him of the hell he was in, Jennifer and his unborn baby boy Easton was the only thought that entered his mind on the never-ending MEDEVAC to the COP.
October 6, 2012, he watched Easton enter this world at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, thanking God (and the brave men and women in Afghanistan) he got to be a part of this wonderful family. He has been at Walter Reed receiving medical treatment and working on both physical and mental rehabilitation since May 18th.
Drew and Jennifer look forward to moving back to Cleveland, OH near family who has been his/their support system post-injury. Drew’s goal is to one day walk again and to play catch with his son. He would, also, like to earn his bachelor’s degree from Kent State University.