Thursday, May 26, 2011

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Hamski

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Hamski, 28, of Ottumwa, Iowa,

SSgt Hamski was assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; died May 26, 2011 in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Tech. Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solesbee was also killed.

SSgt Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001 and briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force.

Grandfather, Ray Hamski says his grandson matured into a “super young man” in the military. “He was kind of a free spirit in high school and he just wasn’t a college man. But he really shaped up in the Air Force. It’s a devastating loss.”

SSgt Hamski's mother, Mary, said her son attended Iowa State for just a semester, but struggled academically. She says the minute her son joined the Air Force, he found his purpose in life. "When he went in he was a kid. He didn't know what he was doing with himself but he grew up. He grew into his manhood."

"I knew from the first time he deployed there was always the possibility that he would not come back. I can't be angry for that," said Mary. "He died an honorable death. How many people can say that? Because of the work my son did, there's a lot of other mothers that aren't doing what I have to do today."

According to his mother, her son loved video games. "To this day, till his dying day he would buy video games and have to sit up all night to conquer the stupid thing. His wife says there are video games still all over apartment. He never grew out of that."

SSgt Hamski had only been married to his wife, Christina, also a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, for less than two years. When his tour of duty was over, the two planned to start a family.

“You can be thankful for all the lives he saved,” said Jennifer Hensley, Hamski’s sister. “We’re just sorry he was gone so soon.”

Best friend, Gabriel Stoffa: "And for Joe's friends and family, I wish we had all had more time with him. I wish we had gotten to say goodbye to Joe in old age as he complained about any of the far-reaching topics he would so gladly bitch about over drinks with friends. He would have made a great crotchety old man; hell, he basically was one, just without the old age".

There will be a Christian wake for SSgt Hamski at 4 p.m. on Friday at Reece Funeral Home. Funeral mass for will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Ottumwa. Burial will be at Ottumwa Cemetery.

SSgt Hamski is survived by his mother, Mary Ellen; his wife, Maria Christina; two sisters, Jennifer and Nicole; brother, Thomas.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Hamski was killed in action on 5/26/11.

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