Marine Cpl. Brett L. Lundstrom, 22, of Stafford, Va.
Cpl Lundstrom was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Jan. 7 by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations near Fallujah, Iraq.
Friends and family remember Marine Cpl. Brett Lee Lundstrom as cheerful, generous, dedicated.
By PAMELA GOULD
Brooke Point High School graduate Brett Lee Lundstrom was remembered yesterday as an outgoing and kind young man excited to be following in his father's footsteps as a Marine.
Lundstrom visited the Stafford County school in uniform shortly after completing boot camp and was pleased with the path he'd chosen, said U.S. history teacher and senior class co-sponsor Tom Coen.
"I do remember he made a point of coming by my room and saying how proud he was to be in the Corps and how much it meant to him," Coen said yesterday afternoon. "He was very proud to keep going on the tradition."
Lundstrom, a 22-year-old corporal, was one of three Marines killed Saturday by small-arms fire near Fallujah, Iraq, the Defense Department announced yesterday. Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Brown, 22 of Newport News, and Lance Cpl. Jeriad P. Jacobs, 19, of Clayton, N.C., also died in the attacks.
In all, five Marines deployed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., died in enemy assaults in Iraq that day, bringing to 633 the number of Marines killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to Capt. Jay Delarosa of Marine Corps headquarters.
Lundstrom graduated from Brooke Point in 2001. He continued to consider North Stafford home and returned often to visit his parents, according to a paternal aunt, Mary Munoz of Denver.
Maj. Ed Lundstrom retired from the Marine Corps last year and currently lives in Detroit. Doyla Carol Underbaggage Lundstrom returned to the family's roots in Black Hawk, S.D., after she and Brett's father divorced last year.
The Lundstroms' younger son, Eddy Lundstrom, graduated from Brooke Point in 2003 and is serving in Iraq with the Army. The private first class returned home for his brother's funeral, Munoz said.
Brett Lundstrom, like his mother, was a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. His father is a member of the Rosebud Sioux, Munoz said.
Ed Lundstrom told the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota he felt his own career and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks affected his son's decision to become a Marine.
"After 9/11, he saw a need and felt that he could make a difference," Lundstrom told the paper.
Lundstrom described his son as generous and cheerful. Doyla Lundstrom added that he was "an avid sports fan who loved hanging out with friends."
"Brett loved people, and people loved Brett," she told the Journal. "He was always joking and smiling. He lit up a room when he walked in."
The family plans a two-day wake for Lundstrom this weekend on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Kyle, S.D. Visitation will be held in Denver Tuesday with services and burial with military honors Wednesday, Munoz said.
Lundstrom had planned to move to Denver once he left the Marines because he had family and friends there, Munoz said.
He was a rifleman who enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2003 and joined his unit six months later, according to Cpl. Mike Escobar, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Lundstrom deployed to Iraq in September, his family said. He served with E Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, as part of Regimental Combat Team-8, 2nd Marine Division.
Lundstrom also served in Afghanistan during the nation's war on terror. He was awarded two Navy Achievement Medals, an Iraqi Campaign Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Medal, Escobar said.
Lundstrom was the second Brooke Point graduate to die in Iraq. Army 2nd Lt. Jeff Graham, 24, a 1998 graduate, was killed by a bomb Feb. 19, 2004, about 50 miles west of Baghdad as he led his platoon on foot patrol.
At Brooke Point, Lundstrom took part in Future Business Leaders of America his first three years. In his senior year, he ran on the cross-country team.
Coen described Lundstrom as kind-hearted, extremely bright and always pleasant--"one of those students you really enjoy teaching because they're just such a quality person."
Coen paused several times yesterday to regain his composure as he spoke of Lundstrom. He said his former student, like several others who have served in Afghanistan, told him they understood they were risking their lives but felt their service was important because of what they saw at stake.
"A lot of people aren't willing to make the tough choices in life," Coen finally said, "and obviously these young people are."
Marine Cpl. Brett L. Lundstrom was killed in action 01/07/06.
Photo credit - Heyoka Magazine