Family of Stockton soldier offers statement

U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Wayne Lancaster of Stockton was killed in an explosion Saturday, Aug. 11, in Arab Jabour, Iraq. He was 23 years old.

Sgt. Lancaster was born June 6, 1984, in Freeport. He attended Empire Elementary School in Freeport and Stockton High School and graduated from Freeport High School in 2002.

Sgt. Lancaster and his best friend were so moved by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that they enlisted in the Army in October 2003. He was assigned to the First Battallion, 30th Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Ga.

In recognition of his brave service, Sgt. Lancaster received numerous medals, including the Purple Heart.

Sgt. Lancaster is survived by his wife, Tabbatha Lancaster, of Stockton; his mother, Donna (Steve) Vanderheyden of Stockton; his father, Harlan Lancaster of Freeport; a brother, Harley Lancaster, of Stockton; two sisters, Jessica and Janessa Vanderheyden, of German Valley; and his grandparents, David and Darlyne Putnam of Monroe, Wis.; Fritz (Alice Wand) Lancaster of Wiota, Wis.; and Jack and Laurrel Vanderhayden of Stockton.

“Andrew knew what he was getting into,” said his wife, Tabbatha. “He never said he didn’t want to serve, and he knew the military was his job. Andrew always took the lead and was never afraid. He was proud of what he was doing.”

Andy, as he was known by his family, enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, playing with his dog, Sam, and spending time with his family.

A community memorial service was held at Stockton High School football field Aug. 17. A private funeral was to be held at Hermann Funeral Home in Stockton Aug. 19 with visitation Aug. 18.

from the Aug. 22-28, 2007, issue

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