Mark Andrew Forester was born on 15 May 1981 in Haleyville, Alabama, about an hour outside of Tuscaloosa. He graduated from Haleyville High School in 1999. He performed his 2-year Mormon mission in Oakland, California, and then enrolled at the University of Alabama, graduating with a finance degree in 2006.
Mark enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2007. According to his friend (and fellow Alabama grad) Michael Andrew:
"When he was interviewed by the Air Force recruiter on why he wanted to enlist [presumably as opposed to accepting a commission as an officer, like most college graduates], he told him that he wanted the opportunity to kill terrorists,"
He deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010. His younger brother Thad (who also attended the University of Alabama
recalled the day that he and his brother bought a camouflage hat with an Alabama script "A" from Woods & Water. Thad Forester said his brother didn't buy it for his first tour of duty as an Air Force Combat Controller - a highly trained, skilled position that demands entry into hostile enemy territories.
"He just got it because he liked it," Thad Forester said.
But Mark Forester found a way to work an item representing the Crimson Tide into his combat wardrobe on a regular basis, Thad Forester said.
Senior Airman Mark A. Forester died in combat in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, 29 September 2010. He was shot twice in the chest while trying to save Sergeant First Class Calvin Harrison (pictured left). Unfortunately, it would appear that SFC Harrison died in that same action.
For his bravery, SrA Forester was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, as well as the Purple Heart. Relatives indicated that he was due to come home one month later, and had made plans to attend the Iron Bowl with his family.
He is buried in Winston Memorial Cemetery in Haleyville. You can learn more about him at www.markaforester.com and http://www.sgtmacsbar.com/CCTPhotos/Gallery24/Forester/Forester.html, which is where I got most of the information and all of the photographs for this post.
May God watch over him and his family. Roll Tide.