Andrew Harvell – “Heart of a Lion”

Flag after flag after flag waves from front lawns and houses along Kildee Street in Long Beach.

It is where 26 year old Air Force Staff Sergeant Andrew Harvell grew up.

Harvell was one of thirty service members killed last weekend when a U.S Military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon confirmed that 30 service members were killed, including 17 Navy Seals, 5 Naval Special Warfare personnel, three Air Force Special Operations personnel and 5 members of the Army helicopter crew.

Harvell’s neighbors wanted to show their respects.

One neighbor sent a letter to the others stating, “This is just a small gesture of kindness for such a painful grieving period.”

Harvell graduated from Miliken High School in Long Beach where the news of his death shocked his former football coach, Kirk Diego. Diego coached Harvell during his senior year and admired his tenacity.

“The terrier type he brought every single day - and he had to because he was too small, too slow, but not when you took into account his heart," Diego said.

Diego said Harvell had the heart of a lion. A quality he believes suited him well in the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. Diego was not surprised at Harvell’s decision to join the military.

“He was always a guy who gave every ounce of whatever he had," said Diego.

Harvell is the 2nd member of his football team to make the ultimate sacrifice. Joshua Whitaker - #51 - went on to become part of the elite special forces unit known as the Green Berets and was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.


Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.

Shohei Ohtani hits 21st homer, Will Smith and Freddie Freeman go deep in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Rockies

Reward offered to catch a shooter who paralyzed a father of 3 children in Los Angeles

Harvell had moved to North Carolina, where his unit was based. He lived there with his wife, and two small children.

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA

Contact Us