Monday, April 04, 2011

Army Sgt. Michael S. Lammerts

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Michael S. Lammerts, 26, of Tonawanda, N.Y.

Sgt Lammerts was assigned to 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Baumholder, German; died April 4, 2011 of wounds sustained from small-arms fire in Faryab province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Sgt. Scott H. Burgess.

Tonawanda News

He was a soldier, and he was loved very much.

That’s how loved ones are remembering Sgt. Michael S. Lammerts, 26, a City of Tonawanda native who was killed this week while serving with the Army in Afghanistan.

“I just want everybody to know what a sweet, lovable, caring person Michael was,” his mother, Kendra Speck, said Tuesday. “He believed in what he was fighting for.”

Lammerts and another soldier died Monday of wounds suffered from small arms fire in Faryab province, Afghanistan, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Tuesday evening.

“The incident is under investigation,” states a release from military officials. It’s unclear whether the incident occurred Sunday or Monday.

Also killed was Sgt. Scott H. Burgess, 32, of Franklin, Texas. Lammerts and Burgess were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team stationed in Baumholder, Germany.

A Tonawanda High School graduate, Lammerts had been stationed in Germany before embarking upon his third deployment, just over a month ago. His first two assignments were in Iraq.

Family members said Lammerts volunteered to leave early for his deployment to Afghanistan, leaving a few weeks before his regular unit.

“They were looking for people to volunteer for some type of special mission,” Speck said. “Michael was devoted to the military. That was his life.”

Lammerts’ family was notified of his death Monday afternoon, when military officials visited the Amherst duplex Michael and his wife, Melissa, rented. “She called me and said it was an emergency and I had to leave work right away,” Speck recalls.

Speck called her son on Sunday for their weekly “gripe session,” as they called it, but when he didn’t answer, she feared something was wrong.

Family met with an Army liaison Tuesday morning, but additional details on his death weren’t released by the Defense Department until later in the day.

Lammerts grew up in the City of Tonawanda. He briefly attended Niagara Falls High School but graduated from Tonawanda, where he played football and, as a child, baseball.

He and Melissa, of North Tonawanda, met through a mutual friend in high school. They have two children, Savannah, 3, and Michael, one and a half.

Lammerts is also survived by his parents; a brother, Christopher, 28; sister, Heather, 23; and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Speck said Michael was a typical kid growing up, “full of piss and vinegar.”

“He could smile at you and you’d forget why you were mad at him,” she said.

Lammerts was inspired to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his mother said. “I was kind of in shock. Like any parent, I tried to talk him out of it, but when he told me why he did it, I understood,” she said.

Speck said her son had a close bond with the men in his unit — “his guys,” he would call them.

“Michael was military through and through,” Speck said. “He was going to do his 20 (years) and retire, if not a little bit longer.”

In addition to fishing, Lammerts was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. His Facebook profile photo shows him wearing DeSean Jackson’s No. 10 jersey.

“If somebody new got drafted, he’d have to buy that jersey. The Eagles could do no wrong,” Michael’s mother said. “There was just something about that team that he really loved.”

When he was back in town for a short time in the fall, Michael and Christopher drove to Philadelphia for the Eagles-New York Giants Sunday night game Nov. 21. The Eagles won, 27-17.

Lammerts played football both during his school days and with his unit in Ft. Campbell, Ky., his mother said.

As they continue to come to grips with their loss, relatives said they’ll remember Lammerts as a caring son, father, brother and friend.

“Michael was very much loved, very much respected, and very much a hero,” said his aunt, Kim Kott. “He has done so much good. He’s going to be greatly missed.”

Army Sgt. Michael S. Lammerts was killed in action on 4/4/11.

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