US MARINE CORPS

BRETT L LUNDSTROM

Jun 12th, 1983 - Jan 7th, 2006

Biography


A U.S. Marine from South Dakota, Brett Lee Lundstrom touched many people throughout his lifetime. He was a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe. He served in both Afghanistan and Iraq but spent the majority of his service fighting for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was killed in Iraq after a sniper opened fire unexpectedly on his company. He was 22 years old when he died.


Brett Lee Lundstrom was born in Vermillion, South Dakota on June 12, 1983 to his father Ed Lundstrom, and mother, Doyla Carol (Underbaggage) Lundstrom. His parents were attending the University of South Dakota at the time of his birth. The couple later had a second son named Ed Lundstrom. Both Brett’s mother and father were of American Indian descent. His mother, Doyla Lundstom, was from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwestern part of Southhttp://Dakota.His father was from St. Francis, part of the Rosebud Indian Reservation to the East of the Pine Ridge Reservation. At his birth, Brett became an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.


When Brett was two years old, his father graduated from college and went into active duty in the Marine Corps. As a result, Brett and his brother “grew up in the marine corps” as their mother explained. Due to his father’s service, the Lundstrom family moved around a lot as Brett was growing up. Brett attended many different schools throughout his childhood. His high school years were spent in Virginia. He attended Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge Virginia when he was a freshman. The family later moved to Stafford, Virginia, where Brett attended Brooke Point High School. During his time there, he ran on the track team and was a part of the Business Leaders of America. He loved going to sporting events with friends, especially when it was to see his favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals. Growing up, he also loved to read. Brett graduated in June of 2001.


In the fall, Brett began college at the County College of Morris in Morris, New Jersey. There he joined a Platoon Leaders Class, offered through the Marine Corps. Through this class, Brett would be able to graduate college and go into the Marine Corps as an officer, like his father had done. The Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC) was similar to the Reserves Officers Training Corps (ROTC), but geared specifically for Marines. The PLC is a rigorous program in which students are trained in military tasks and tested for their ability to handle the physically demanding work of being a Marine. 


While Brett was a freshman in the program, the family was stationed about thirty-five miles west of New York City, when the Twin Towers went down in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Brett’s mom, Doyla, explained that after the towers went down, Brett started trying to convince her to let him enlist in the Marine Corps right away. Doyla, not ready for her son to enter the Marines just yet, said she was able to talk him out of it for about three more semesters but, “he was adamant that he wanted to join the Marine Corps." 


In January of 2003, when the family moved back to the home they had built in Stafford, Brett enlisted in the Marine Corps. Both the 9/11 attacks, and his father’s commitment to the Marines, motivated Brett in this decision. Joining the Marines was always part of Brett’s plan. Doyla said that Brett and his younger brother would often play Marines as children, remembering they would dress up in their dads’ uniform and pretend to be in the military. Their mom explained that she knew they would both eventually join the military, and she was ultimately really proud of Brett when he did. The tradition of military service runs deep in the Lundstrom family. Brett’s maternal grandfather, and all of his brothers served in Korea. Brett’s father, Ed Lundstrom, was a career Marine, meaning that he served in the Marines throughout his life, and up until retirement. (At least twenty years is needed in the Armed Forces before one can retire.) Brett’s brother enlisted in the Army after high school as well, following in the family footsteps.


Brett was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He completed Boot Camp training in Parris Island, South Carolina. His company first spent some time in Afghanistan. They were later sent to Iraq, where Brett spent the majority of his service, fighting for Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Brett made a lot of friends in the Marines, and his mom remembered that he really enjoyed that part of serving. The company also spent some time stationed in Okinawa, Japan which Brett enjoyed. Brett’s military occupation code, or MOS, was infantry. Brett’s specific job as an infantryman was to carry what is known as the “SAW.” This is the squad automatic weapon, a large automatic weapon that weighs 18 pounds. His mom said that carrying the bulky SAW was Brett’s least favorite part of serving. Brett called his mom as often as he could while he was overseas.


 In Iraq, Brett’s company was stationed in a town called Fallujah. The company was there to patrol the streets. On January 7, 2006, Brett was leading up the rear of his platoon, carrying the SAW, when a sniper opened fire on him and his company. Brett was killed in the attack along with two other men, Lance Cpl. Jeriad P. Jacobs and Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Brown. Brett had served three years, and was due to come home in April of 2006, with only a year of service to go. During his time in the service, he was awarded a Purple Heart, two Navy Achievement Medals, an Iraq Campaign Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the National Defense Medal. Brett had achieved the rank of corporal.


The mark Brett left, and the amount of people he touched in his life, is clear. In 2015, a support group for military families donated a ten-passenger van to the Oglala Sioux tribe in Brett’s name. The van helped veterans living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with transportation to events and appointments. The Brett Lundstrom Scholarship for the Performing Arts was also created in his honor by a theater teacher at his old high school who was a friend of the Lundstrom family. She produces a play in his memory every year and all of the proceeds go towards the scholarship. In 2016, 19 students had received scholarships in Lundstrom’s name, each worth up to $800. In Kyle, South Dakota at the Lakota Prairie Ranch Resort, a conference room was named the Brett Lundstrom Room, where a large plaque is kept, honoring Brett’s legacy.


 Brett is remembered in his obituary as “charismatic, with a kind and generous soul; always humorous with a smile that lit up any room or place he entered.” Brett’s mom admires his dedication to his country. She said he was always very outgoing, and made friends with everyone, remembering that he “was just a really good kid.” He was honest, loyal, and “loved his mama.” Brett was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery after a traditional two-night Native American wake on his mother’s home reservation in South Dakota where the family visited often while Brett was growing up. Doyla remembered that every time the family went back to visit Brett and his brother “were like little celebrities.” This love for Brett and the Lundstrom family was evident at his wake where the community gathered to celebrate his life. Brett then had a Catholic funeral in Denver, where he had a lot of family ties and had planned on living after his service. From family visits to Denver while growing up, Brett came to really enjoy Denver, and his mom thought that it felt right that he be buried at Fort Logan. Brett’s bravery and sacrifice for his country, and the impact he had on the lives of his friends and families, will forever be honored. Doyla remembers her son lovingly, saying, “He was my angel… he was my real-life angel.”

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Deb published tribute .

Thank you for your service and sacrifice. God bless you and your family. Rest in peace!

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Robin published tribute .

Thank you so much for your service. Rest In Peace. Being a mother of a child who was hit by an IED in Afghanistan receiving severe injuries, my heart breaks for your life never lived and your family.

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Msg Holder published tribute .

RIP Brother.

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Tom Rybold published tribute .

Thank you for your everlasting Service to our country being the US Navy for 23 years was critically injured in auto crash but luckily i survied after 6 month of rehab

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Tom Livingston published tribute .

Thank you for your service Brett. RIP!

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William Mahoney published tribute .

Rest in Peace Marine until we meet again 🙏🙏

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Betty Ebert published tribute .

A True American Hero!!!

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Kevin Corey published tribute .

Thank you for your sacrifice of life and consciousness.

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