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American Samoa Family Mourns Toa SSGT Gandy; Arlington Burial Planned



U.S. Army Staff
Sergeant Loleni William Gandy 

American Samoa (November 29, 2010) - A memorial mass for fallen Toa o Samoa, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Loleni William Gandy was held early yesterday evening at the Catholic Church in Ili'ili in American Samoa. Thirty-six year old Staff Sergeant Loleni William Gandy died November 19, 2010 in Balad, Iraq of a non-combat related incident. U.S. Army spokesperson Capt. Michael Meyer described the incident as a "medical" issue. Gandy had been on his second tour to Iraq, assigned to the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command of Des Moines, Iowa, under Operation New Dawn, whose focus was to train, assist and equip Iraqi Security Forces. His first deployment to Iraq had been with the Army's 411th Engineer Battalion as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom on January 5, 2004.

The nearly two hour service was washed with tears as grieving family and friends gathered in his honor.  Staff Sgt. Gandy's brother Dale called him a very humble man, who was proud of his family and his Samoan culture.  "Beloved brother — No farewell words were spoken. No time to say good-bye.  You were gone before we knew it, and only God knows why," said Dale Gandy.

Gandy's funeral service will be held on December 6 at 1 p.m. at the Arlington National Cemetery in Northern Virginia, outside the nation's capitol.

Gandy is survived by his wife and four children, ages 12, 13, 19 and 20, who reside in Wisconsin where he was currently stationed and his parents and numerous other relatives and friends in American Samoa.

Excerpt from SamoaNews.Com, By Fili Sagapolutele fili@samoanews.com