Pearl City grad was soldier, award-winning cook


POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Staff Sgt. Randy S. Agno of Pearl City was described as an “;awesome friend”; by a fellow soldier who served with him overseas.

Agno, 29, died Friday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington from injuries suffered in a non-combat-related incident at Forward Operating Base Olsen in Samarra, Iraq, the Pentagon said.

He was assigned to the 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks.

“;At this time the incident is still under investigation,”; said Army spokeswoman Stefanie Gardin. “;Our hearts go out to the family.”;

Agno was married and leaves two children, ages 5 and 3.

His wife, mother, father and younger brother had flown to Washington, D.C., to be near him, a relative said.

“;I never would have wanted a better battle buddy than him,”; said Sgt. Adam Gendreau, who served with Agno at Schofield and in the Middle East.

“;We miss him already,”; Gendreau said yesterday in a telephone interview from Virginia.

Gendreau's wife, Mei, said Agno took it upon himself to make her and her husband feel comfortable and part of his family.

“;He was like a brother to us,”; she said. “;He always had my husband's back.”;

Agno graduated from Pearl City High in 1997 and joined the Army in 1998, serving as a cook.

In 2006, while a corporal, he represented Team Hawaii and was named the Junior Army Chef of the Year at the U.S. Army's 31st Culinary Arts Competition at Fort Lee, Va.

Agno served two deployments in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

“;He was a really good worker,”; recalled Mei Gendreau.

Agno earned numerous awards throughout his Army career, including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with arrowhead, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Of the 11 deaths of soldiers with Hawaii ties in the Middle East this year, eight have been from noncombat causes.

Star-Bulletin reporter Gregg K. Kakesako contributed to this story.