Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II, 23, of Fredericksburg, Va.

Sgt. Lamar was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 12, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marine was serving his third combat tour
WASHINGTON - A Marine soldier from Fredericksburg, Va. died Wednesday while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, said the Department of Defense.

Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II, 23, was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

He served two tours in Iraq and was serving in Afghanistan for his third combat tour. He was recently promoted meritoriously to sergeant and had been meritoriously promoted to all ranks in the Corps.

A Marine sniper who grew up in Stafford County and played sports at Stafford High School was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.

A family friend who asked not to be identified said Lamar's relatives were doing remarkably well under the circumstances. He mentioned Lamar's wife, Stephanie; daughter, Madison, 2; parents, Donald and Coleen, who live in Stafford; and other family members.

As for Lamar, the friend said, "He really was a remarkable kid. When he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, he'd drive up here to help with the wrestling team. The kids all idolized him."

And he said Donald Lamar loved the military.

"He was a Marine's Marine, a big, strapping kid--tough, a great sense of humor and a natural leader."

Donald James Lamar was born in New York; his family moved to Stafford when he was an infant.

A Fredericksburg Marine who played football and coached wrestling at Stafford High School has been killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department and family friends.

"He was a bright young man, a fun-loving young man and a good athlete," said David Ripley, a principal intern at the high school.

"He was an exceptional leader on the football team, very well-rounded and liked by so many people because he just had a charismatic personality," Ripley added.

Sgt. Donald J. Lamar never really left Fredericksburg.

His presence was felt after he graduated from Stafford Senior High School and went on to enlist in the Marine Corps.

“I think of him almost like a son,” said former wrestling coach Richard Hall, choking back tears. “I’m going to miss him.”

Lamar would often return to his old school and coach other wrestlers. He was also quick to share the ins and outs of military life with Stafford students.

Sheri Pierce, who taught sociology, recalled how he talked to one of her classes about the transition from civilian life to military life and back again. Now, she sees students and other staffers at the school struggle with the loss.

“We’re wondering why it’s the good ones that go," she said.

Her husband Roger, who coached football at Stafford when Lamar was there, said the news of his death hit him like a “punch in the gut.”

He remembered how happy Lamar was with his life in the corps.

Friends said his family was still too upset to speak publicly about him.

Sgt. Lamar's awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal, according to the release

He graduated in 2004 and joined the Marines, serving two tours in Iraq and most recently a tour in Afghanistan.

"He had just been meritoriously promoted to sergeant," the family friend said. Lamar was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

In a Free Lance-Star story March 2009, Lamar was mentioned along with other area Marines who had just returned from duty in Iraq. He said he was looking forward to spending time with his wife, daughter and family.

Marine Sgt. Donald J. Lamar II was killed in action on 5/12/10.

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