Avon Old Farms Honors Army Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel ’02
For the third consecutive Veterans Day, the Avon Old Farms School community honored a fallen brother in cooperation with APK Charities Corporation—a non-profit founded to honor and remember the ultimate sacrifice made by Avonian Captain Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, US Army Special Forces.
Decorated soldier Pedersen-Keel ’02 was a proud member of the Avon Old Farms community. Throughout high school, he embraced all that AOF had to offer. He was a Dean’s List student, tri-sport varsity athlete, dormitory monitor, and editor of the school newspaper. Remembered for his enthusiasm, energy, loyalty and high moral standards he earned the trust, respect, and admiration of those around him. He graduated in 2002, and then from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2006.
Andrew was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, as an Army Ranger, serving as company executive officer and platoon leader. Following his first deployment he began Special Forces training, which he completed June 28, 2012. Andrew was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
On March 11, 2013, Capt. Andrew Pedersen Keel, known as ‘PK,’ was killed in action in Eastern Afghanistan. At the time of his death, Pedersen-Keel was serving as Detachment Commander of Green Beret Special Forces team in eastern Afghanistan. On that day, several NATO and Afghan service members, including Andrew, a second American soldier, SSG Rex L. Schad from Oklahoma, and the military working dog “Bak” were killed when an assailant wearing an Afghan National Security uniform opened fire on the group. Andrew was 28 years old.
Pedersen-Keel received several awards during his career, including three Bronze Stars, The Meritorious Service Medal, and The Purple Heart. In his career Andrew also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Parachutist Badge, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the NATO Medal.
During the all-school Morning Meeting on Friday, November 11, Andrew’s mother, Helen, took the podium and shared a letter written by one of Andrew’s best friends. It spoke about Andrew’s character, how he was an unwavering friend with heroic bravery. The plan for the afternoon was to host an all-school 5K for APK charities, but the remnants of hurricane Nicole thwarted those plans. The run will be rescheduled for the spring.
The APK Charities provides financial aid and material assistance to charitable organizations and causes. APK Charities' mission is to serve as a bridge connecting our society and our Armed Forces, opening our hearts and minds to serve those who protect us.
We are forever grateful to the brave men and women who have protected our country, and will always remember the life of an extraordinary Avonian, Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel ’02, who died doing what he loved: serving the United States of America.