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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By Army Sgt. Jazz Burney

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Thunder Soldiers Honor Two Fallen Comrades In Faryab
(April 13, 2011)

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A memorial stand of Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess and Staff Sgt. Michael Lammerts was on display during a memorial ceremony at Camp Griffin, Afghanistan, April 9, 2011. The soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties in Maymana District April 4, 2011.
A memorial stand of Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess and Staff Sgt. Michael Lammerts was on display during a memorial ceremony at Camp Griffin, Afghanistan, April 9, 2011. The soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties in Maymana District April 4, 2011.
CAMP GRIFFIN, Afghanistan (4/10/2011)

Leaders and soldiers with 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team honored the lives of Staff Sgt. Michael Lammerts and Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess during a memorial ceremony here April 9.

The soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties in Maymana District April 4.

For many soldiers with 4th Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, Lammerts and Burgess were not only two outstanding leaders, they were two dear friends.

“Before I knew Sergeant Burgess as a soldier, I knew him as a friend who helped instill in me the values and work ethic to be the best American soldier I could be, and also a great father to my child,” said Pfc. Jared Weeks, a Chattanooga, Tenn., native, now a dismounted squad automatic weapon gunner with 4th Platoon.

“I will always remember the times we shared as we worked together, and even though you may be gone, you will never be forgotten,” said Sgt. David Salazar, a Harlingen, Texas native, now a squad leader with 4th Platoon.

What seemed to be a routine key leader
engagement with Afghan forces in Maymana District, quickly turned into a cowardly act of violence that claimed the lives of the two squad leaders.

“The soldiers were escorting our combat advisers on April 4th, to meet with Afghan Border Police leaders at their headquarters. While pulling security, a rouge police officer opened fire on Lammerts and Burgess while they weren't looking,” said Capt. James Collado, a New Providence, N.J., native, now the HHB commander.

Collado added the loss of any service member is tragic, but the loss of two excellent non-commissioned officers in a single day is even harder to fathom.

The ceremony began with the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” followed by personal remarks from leaders and friends of the fallen.
Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, pay their tributes to their two fallen comrades, Staff Sgt. Michael Lammerts and Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess, during a memorial ceremony at Camp Griffin, Afghanistan, April 9. The soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties in Maymana District April 4, 2011.
Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, pay their tributes to their two fallen comrades, Staff Sgt. Michael Lammerts and Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess, during a memorial ceremony at Camp Griffin, Afghanistan, April 9, 2011. The soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties in Maymana District April 4, 2011.
“The questions of why and how this could happen still linger and will perhaps forever, I am not sure there can ever be a good answer for such a tragic loss of life,” said Lt. Col. John O'Grady, the 1-84 Field Artillery Battalion commander. “I take comfort in the legacy these soldiers leave behind and will live my life in such a manner to honor these two warriors.”

The memorial included a four-minute video that chronicled military memories of Lammerts and Burgess through pictures. At Lammerts' request just a few weeks prior to his death, his comrades used a song written by Tim McGraw, “If You're Reading This,” as the tribute song in the video presentation.
“The song was chosen at Lammerts' request to his platoon sergeant. He wanted this song to be played if something happened to him. I think this is the perfect sendoff in honoring these two stellar NCOs,” said 1st Sgt. Joe Winstead, a Summerdale, Ala., native, now the HHB first sergeant.

Burgess, a Fort Lewis, Wash., native, was born Oct. 10, 1978 and began his military career Oct. 10, 2002. He deployed once in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Lammerts, a Tonawanda, N.Y., native, was born Jan. 4, 1985 and enlisted Jan. 6, 2005. He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He leaves behind his wife, daughter and son.

With one month into the deployment, this is the first combat loss for the Bayonet Brigade. However, soldiers with 4th Platoon are ready to continue their mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Article and photos by Army Sgt. Jazz Burney
170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
Copyright 2011

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