Soldier killed in Afghanistan had local ties

by nathan oster

A 21-year-old man with strong family ties to Big Horn County was killed in action Monday, Aug. 27 while serving his country in Afghanistan. Spc. Mabry J. Anders of Baker City, Ore., was one of two soldiers whose death was announced by the Department of Defense on Tuesday night.  The other was Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell of Windsor, Colo.

According to the Department of Defense release, the two men died in Kalagush, Afghanistan, where they were serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  The release states that the two men died of injuries suffered from enemy, small arms fire. They were assigned to the 4th Special Troops Batallion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

Mabry, who for a time attended school in Big Horn County, is the son of Dan and Gretchen Anders of Shell and Troy and Genevieve Woydziak of Baker City, Ore.  He is the grandson of Gary Anders of Greybull, Sue Anders of Billings, Mont., Donna Loecker of Basin and Erik and Diana Saam of Shell.

Within hours of the issuance of the Department of Defense release, a tribute to Anders was posted at  According to that site, it was Anders’ first deployment. Throughout his service, Spc. Anders received numerous awards including an Army Achievement Medal, a National Defense Service medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and an Overseas Service Ribbon.

According to the site, Spc. Anders will also be awarded a Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Army Good Conduct Medal.