SPC ANDREW L. TUAZON - U.S. Army
Hometown / City: CHESAPEAKE, VA CHESAPEAKE (CITY)
Date of Death: Monday, May 10, 2004
Conflict: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq)
Branch: U.S. Army
Unit: 293D MILITARY POLICE CO, 3D MILITARY POLICE BN (3 ID), FORT STEWART, GA 31314
Birth: Nov. 29, 1982
Chesapeake (Northampton County)
Virginia, USADeath: May 10, 2004
Died in Mosul, Iraq, from hostile fire while on guard duty
Like his grandfather, Andrew Tuazon learned to weld, and took a shipyard job after high school graduation. But after six months, he wanted something more and joined the Army. Rose Tauzon said she didn't want her son to join at first, but she knew he wouldn't change his mind. "So I wished him good luck and told him he had my blessing," she said. Pfc. Tuazon, 21, of Chesapeake, Va., was killed by an apparent sniper May 10 in Mosul, Iraq. He was with a military police unit based at Fort Stewart, Ga., and had also served in Afghanistan. His stepfather, Ron Czypinski, said he was proud of Tuazon's choices and work ethic. Tuazon's father died when he was 5 years old, and Czypinski said he'd been part of the boy's life since then.
CHESAPEAKE — Rosemerry Tuazon thinks there's a Mother's Day card in the mail for her somewhere, a last communication from her only son.
Andrew L. Tuazon, a 21-year-old Army private and 2001 graduate of Western Branch High School, was gunned down in action Monday in Mosul, Iraq – killed instantly , she said, by a sniper's bullet.
Andrew Tuazon was a military policeman with the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd MP Battalion, 293rd MP Company and had been in Iraq since early March . It was his second combat deployment, his mother said; he'd already spent six months in Afghanistan.
The day before he died – Mother's Day – Andrew e-mailed her to say he loved her, and that he'd sent her a card.
But a knock on the door arrived first.
It came Monday, around 10 p.m. , to the house in the Dunedin neighborhood of Chesapeake where Andrew and his sister grew up. Andrew's mother had just gotten out of the shower.
"I saw the two in the Army uniforms, and I just collapsed to the floor because I knew what they were going to tell me," Rosemerry Tuazon said.
Her son's body was to arrive at Dover Air Force Base either late Wednesday night or early this morning , and Rosemerry Tuazon said he would be buried alongside his grandparents at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Chesapeake.
Funeral arrangements are pending but will be handled by New Hope Baptist Church in Suffolk, where Andrew Tuazon had been a member.
Art Brandriff , principal of Western Branch High School, knew Andrew Tuazon, but not well. "He was a nice kid, a friendly boy and good hearted," Brandriff said.
He was involved in the school's Latin Club and ran track during his first year, Brandriff said.
Wednesday , Andrew Tuazon's mother and stepfather, Ron Czypinski , shared pictures and memories of the boy they called Andy.
Rosemerry Tuazon wore a shirt with red, white and blue stars on it. An American flag and patriotic wreath hung outside near her son's shiny Honda Accord . He hadn't wanted to put it in storage for the year he'd be in Iraq.
As a sign of her son's thoughtfulness and warmth, Rosemerry Tuazon pointed out a little stone cat from Afghanistan he'd bought her as a good luck charm.
He loved Zero's subs, and worked at Zero's shop from age 14 through high school.
Like his grandfather, he learned to weld and took a job at a shipyard after high school. But after six months, he wanted something more, they said.
"He wanted to save him up some money, and he wanted to travel," Rosemerry Tuazon said.
He joined the Army in November 2002 , signing up for five years.
"To be perfectly honest with you, I really didn't want Andrew to join the service," Rosemerry Tuazon said. "I thought this was the worst possible time to join."
But he'd made up his mind, and she knew he wouldn't change it. "So I wished him good luck and told him he had my blessing."
Czypinski said he was proud of his stepson's choices and work ethic. Andrew Tuazon's father died when he was 5 years old, and Czypinski said he'd been part of the boy's life since then.
Pinned to his shirt was a laminated button of Andrew Tuazon in his Army fatigues.
"I said I wasn't going to take it off until he came back home," Czypinski said, his voice cracking. "He'll be back home soon."