Fallen elite soldier called Lexington home

By Associated Press and Rockbridge Report Staff

Army Captain Andrew Patrick Ross was a well-decorated soldier. His awards include the Bronze Star Medal (2nd award), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. (Photo courtesy of USASOC)

Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29 of Lexington, Va., was killed by a roadside bomb Tuesday in Afghanistan.

Two other servicemen also died in the blast, Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

They were killed in Ghazni province, an area where the Taliban is resurgent. It was the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year.

A well-decorated soldier

Special Forces Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, public affairs director at United States Army Special Operations Command, said in a press release that Ross had more than seven years of service in the Army.

Ross’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2nd award), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, and Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge. Ross was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Ross and Emond were assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

‘You don’t forget him, his smile’

Rick Lollis, Rockbridge County High School athletic director, said that Ross was someone you don’t forget.

Lollis said, “It’s tough. He was a good kid. He was a great person overall.”  (Photo by Abigail Summerville and Graysen Doran)

“That’s the kind of person he was because you didn’t forget him, his smile, you look at our yearbook picture of him and that’s him, all the time, he never changed,” Lollis said. “You want to say ‘that can’t be real. It didn’t happen.’ when you hear of somebody like Drew have that happen.”

Lollis said Ross loved soccer and that his father was the soccer coach at Virginia Military Institute. Ross graduated from Rockbridge County High School in 2007. He is survived by his wife and parents.