Bridge to carry Mollohan name

PARKERSBURG – The new bridge on West Virginia 2 over Interstate 77 will carry the name of a deceased Navy veteran and former resident of Williamstown.

The U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Andrew Scott Mollohan Memorial Bridge will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Nov. 7.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, and Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood, are scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Mollohan’s father, Thomas, who is a retired Navy man, regularly rides with the Patriot Guard, an organization that attends the funerals of members of the armed forces, firefighters and police at the invitation of the deceased’s family.

At another event Thomas was convinced by members of the group to see about getting a bridge named for his son who died Nov. 29, 2009. He contacted Anderson and got things going.

Thomas talked about his son’s desire to enlist in the Navy, partly because of his own service in the Navy but also a friendship Andrew struck up with a German Navy veteran who was washed ashore in Canada during World War II. The man, who eventually became a U.S. citizen, talked to Andrew about submarines while Andrew was involved in the Boy Scouts of America.

“He really wanted to be in the submarine service,” Thomas said.

However, possible color blindness almost derailed Andrew’s chances, but he was able to pass the necessary tests. He spent 22 years in the submarine service, Thomas said.

Andrew S. Mollohan graduated from Williamstown High School in 1988. He had enlisted in the Navy in September 1987, enrolling in the Delayed Entry Program until July 1988 when he reported to Recruit Training Command in Orlando.

He eventually volunteered for submarine duty and upon graduation reported to Basic Enlisted Submarine School in Groton, Conn., in October 1988, graduating from Basic Enlisted Submarine School that December.

Over the course of his career, he served aboard the USS Trepang, USS Hartford, the USS Miami and the PCU Missouri. He has served as a high priority material expeditor for the Submarine Force; leading storekeeper; he was assigned to the Fleet Integrated Logistic Overhaul detachment in Groton, Conn., in 2000, the only enlisted staff member; he made chief petty officer in September 2006; storekeeper division leading chief petty officer; and logistics specialist division leading chief petty officer.

Mollohan wore the enlisted submarine warfare insignia, expert pistol, Navy Artic Service Ribbon, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (5), GWOT Service Medal, GWOT Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal (6), Navy E Ribbon (3), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7) and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Anderson introduced the resolution to name the bridge after Andrew, who was a student of his at Williamstown High School. The Mollohan family raised cattle on a farm near Anderson’s farm.

“He was a very diligent young man who always worked very hard,” Anderson said. “I am sure he carried that work ethic forward with him into the Navy.

“This young man served this country for most of his life. We want to honor his dedicated service,” Anderson said.

Thomas has been upfront about his son’s death, saying that Andrew died by his own hand.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among servicemen in the military today, Thomas said. This includes personnel returning from combat and those facing the added stresses of doing their daily jobs. He has seen the effects in his own life as well as through work he has done with Patriot Guard and Wounded Warriors.

Thomas hopes his son will be remembered for his service to the Navy.

In working in supply, Andrew was regularly saving a lot of money, Thomas said. He would trade other ships for supplies rather than using the budgetary allotment to purchase things new.

“He really loved the Navy,” Thomas said.

People who had served with Mollohan will be speaking at the bridge dedication.