NC soldier recovering from bomb blast in Afghanistan

By COREY FRIEDMAN | The Wilson (N.C.) Daily Times | Published: November 3, 2012

A U.S. Army sergeant from Wilson says he’s recovering after a roadside bomb blast pitched his armored vehicle airborne in Afghanistan late last month.

Sgt. William Lamm of the 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment was injured when an improvised explosive device detonated as his Stryker armored vehicle returned from a southern Afghan village Oct. 23, he said Friday.

“The only thing I remember was my platoon leader mentioning something about seeing a guy he said he had seen in a different area,” Lamm said. “The next thing I remember, I woke up on the ground.”

Lamm said the five soldiers in the armored vehicle escaped with broken bones, cuts and scrapes. He suffered a broken humerus, which caused nerve damage to his right hand, a traumatic brain injury and cuts to his face and legs.

“We all lived,” he said. “None of us got hurt extremely bad.”

Lamm received the Purple Heart and the Army Combat Action Badge, he said.

Military officials couldn’t confirm details of the IED attack in time for this story. The Army’s public affairs office referred questions to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which did not immediately return messages.

Shock and disbelief

Lamm grew up in Wilson and graduated from Hunt High School in 2005. His mother, Vicki Brkic, said she learned of Lamm’s injury through a phone call last week. She described her reaction as one of “shock and disbelief.”

“It’s absolutely horrible to know that they’ve been injured, and you don’t exactly know where they’re at, what their condition is,” Brkic said. “You get bits and pieces for a few days.”

Lamm’s mother was frightened, but now she feels fortunate.

“We’re very lucky,” she said, “because there’s a lot of people not coming home.”

Brkic said she can’t bear to watch news reports of American troops fighting in Afghanistan.

“I would not be able to function if I had to watch the news every day,” she said. “That’s all I would do is worry about him. I have to put him in God’s hands. As much as I worry about him, this is what he signed up for. It’s his job and his responsibility, and I’m very proud of him.”

After the attack, Lamm said he was hospitalized overnight at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Officials transferred him to the Bagram Airfield, he said, and he also received treatment in Germany and Texas before returning to his duty station.

Lamm is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Wash. He is recuperating at his home on the base with his wife, Beth, and his children, 3-year-old Ryleigh and 1-year-old Ryder.

“I’m comfortable,” he said Friday, four days after returning home. “I’m sitting on my couch watching basketball. I’m glad to be home and just kind of hanging out.”

The explosion brought Lamm face to face with mortality and made him reflect on the importance of family.

“It makes you appreciate things a lot more — things you might have taken for granted earlier in life,” he said. “Just going on deployment and coming back, you learn to focus on the little things that make you happy.”

Best job in the world

Lamm works as a unit supply soldier, but he said he was filling in for a chaplain’s assistant on the day of the explosion. Five members of his platoon were returning from distributing surveys in an Afghan village to determine residents’ needs, he said.

“We’re still over there doing our jobs,” he said. “We’re trying to help the Afghan people fend for themselves.”

The roadside bomb blast came during the seventh month of a 9-month deployment, Lamm said. This was his second tour in Afghanistan.

Lamm was in the firefighter training program at Wilson Community College before enlisting in the Army.

“I wanted to see the world, and it seemed like the best way,” he said. “I enjoy every part of being a soldier. This is the best job in the world.”

Lamm is thankful for the outpouring of support his family’s received. Friends set up a charitable fund, Love for the Lamms, through the State Employees Credit Union.

Donations to the fund will help the Lamms pay for day care and transportation when William Lamm has doctor appointments and help the family make ends meet during his recovery.

“I would just like to say thank you to everyone who helped out,” Lamm said.

Contributions to the Love for the Lamms Fund can be made at any State Employees Credit Union branch.

“The community has been absolutely wonderful with all the support and prayers,” Brkic said. “There are just so many agencies and so many people. Everyone has reached out to see what they can do.”

Brkic said her daughter-in-law and grandchildren recently visited her in Wilson while her son was deployed. She’s planning to visit her son at his Washington home in about two weeks.

“I’m going to give him a big kiss,” she said. “I haven’t seen him since last April.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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