My company, Exeter Events and Tents, is approached by organizations throughout New England on a daily basis for donations. All are deserving and we try to help as many organizations as possible because in the current economic conditions, there are so many. We found out about a special need from a good friend of mine, Kevin Sullivan, this past Friday. I was saddened to hear that Sgt. Andrew Cote Nicol a former Exeter high school standout had given his life for our freedom on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Kevin told me the family was overwhelmed by this tragedy and needed to hold the memorial service outside at their modest home; I knew I had to help. Before I could contact the family, the father called my office and reserved a tent for the service. I immediately called back and spoke with a woman telling her it would be an honor to donate the tent and that heroes and their families do not pay here.
Sgt Andrew Cote Nicol at 23 years old gave his life for our freedom, he will be buried tomorrow. God bless Andrew, his family and a country that inspires those men and women to stand up with pride, protect and if necessary offer the supreme sacrifice on the altar of freedom. It is one of these warrior heroes that we honor tomorrow for he realized more than any of us that it takes duty, honor and courage to protect that most precious of all American gifts… the fragile gift of our freedom. Sgt Andrew Cote Nicol was many things; one of them was Army Airborne. So may I send you home to your fellow brothers in arms with a motto from one of those great divisions the 101. Curahee! For those who do not know it is a Cherokee term that means stand-alone.
His obituary is below.
ENSINGTON, N.H. — Sergeant Andrew Cote Nicol died on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.
Sgt. Nicol was leading a team of several U.S. Army Rangers during a tactical mission in Southern Afghanistan near the town of Kandahar when the device detonated, killing him and another American soldier. He was 23 years old. Sgt. Nicol had been living in Fort Mitchell, Ala. while assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia but grew up in Kensington, N.H.
He was a 2006 graduate of Exeter High School where he excelled at wrestling, placing 6th in the state championships his junior year. He was also active in the Boy Scouts and motocross competitions.
Sgt. Nicol entered the United States Army immediately after high school and completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He successfully completed both Airborne school and Ranger school and became part of the elite Army Rangers. During his tenure with the Rangers, he completed four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan prior to his most recent tour in Afghanistan. In 2009 Sgt. Nicol was awarded the Bronze Star with V device for Valor and heroism during a raid in Iraq in which his unit killed six insurgents, including the number two leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Due to his proficiency in combat, he rose to the position of team leader within the Rangers, leading up to 40 soldiers on tactical missions to hunt down enemy weapons caches and kill or capture enemy combatants threatening U.S. Forces and Afghan civilians. He was serving in this capacity when he died.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Nicol was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Combat Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Combat Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded his second Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Purple Heart.
Sgt. Nicol is survived by his parents, Roland and Patricia Nicol of Kensington, N.H.; his siblings, Roland and Alaina Nicol of Kensington, N.H,,and Lauren Zabierek of Arlington, Va.; his grandfather, Pasquale Emiro of Haverhill; and his grandmother, Marianne Nicol of Amesbury. He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins residing in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
His family will remember him as a dedicated and brave young man who gave his life for his country, family, and fellow Rangers without regard for himself.