Andrew J. Baddick, known as A.J., was born June 30th, 1977 in Coaldale, PA. Like his father, Joe, he served in the 82nd Airborne Division. While serving in Iraq in 2003, he sacrificed himself to save a fellow soldier. His fascinating story is documented in the book, My Hero, My Son, written by his father. Through anecdotes, personal letters, and interviews in this book, you can witness an adventurous teen's transformation into a soldier and an American hero.
A.J. graduated from Jim Thorpe High School in 1997 and entered the Army in 1999. He deployed to Afghanistan in August of 2002, and served six months at Bagram Air Base with Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Upon his return to Ft. Bragg, he was assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He deployed with them to Iraq in the fall of 2003. Not long after his arrival, Andrew drowned as he tried to save another soldier whose vehicle had plunged into a canal near Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. After saving one soldier, Andrew unhesitatingly went back into the water to save another but did not resurface. "It doesn't surprise me that he died being a hero," Andrew Baddick's father, Joseph, said. "I'm sure he didn't even think about it. I'm sure that he'd dive right in to save someone's life. My son would do that."
Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and Soldier's Medal for saving another soldier's life. A.J. was an avid kayaker and swimmer and guided rafting trips down the Lehigh River. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He belonged to the Jim Thorpe Fire Department, and was a driver for the Ambulance Service.
The Baddick family has chosen to support Warriors and Quiet Waters through Dog Tag Legacy Fund. This organization provides traumatically injured U.S. servicemen and women from Iraq and Afghanistan with a high quality restorative program, utilizing the therapeutic experience of fly fishing on Montana waters.