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Old 01-12-2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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Marine from South Dakota killed in Iraq

Marine from South Dakota killed in Iraq

By Ryan Woodard, Journal Staff Writer
An Oglala Sioux Tribe member and South Dakota native whose mother is a resident of Black Hawk was killed last weekend while serving in Iraq. He is remembered by his parents as a dedicated Marine who was “always in a good mood.”

Cpl. Brett Lee Lundstrom, 22, died Saturday while serving with the United States Marine Corps in Fallujah, Iraq.

His mother, Doyla (Underbaggage) Lundstrom, said that being a Marine was a lifelong ambition for her son.

“He’s always said he was going to be a Marine since he was little,” she said.

Brett’s father, Ed Lundstrom of Detroit was a career Marine officer for 20 years before recently retiring. As a result of Ed’s job, the Lundstroms traveled for most of Brett’s life. Doyla Lundstrom said Brett was a Marine “brat,” which is part of what inspired him to join when he was older. He appreciated many aspects of the Marines, she said.

“He was a Marine. He joined the Marines to do Marine Corps things, as he called them,” she said. “He was an infantryman, so I knew he had a very dangerous job, but that’s what he wanted to do.”

Ed Lundstrom said that he believed the fact that he was a Marine probably contributed to his son’s decision to join. However, he said that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, had a big impact on his son.

“After 9/11, he saw a need and felt that he could make a difference,” he said.

Brett enlisted in the Marines in January 2003, and he proved a lot to his father during his time in the service.

“People wonder if this generation has what it takes. If they want to see that this generation is as great as the other ones, take a look at a guy like Brett and the guys he was serving with,” he said. “They believed in the mission and never had a bad thing to say.”

Brett was born in Vermillion. During his family’s travels, he attended high school in Virginia and spent a lot of time in the Washington, D.C., area.

As a result, the Washington Capitals were his favorite hockey team, his mother said. She described him as “an avid sports fan who loved hanging out with friends.”

“Brett loved people, and people loved Brett,” she said. “He was always joking and smiling. … He lit up a room when he walked in.”

When asked what the one thing Ed remembered about his son was, he responded, “His smile.”

“He was always in a good mood. He was willing to give you the shirt off his back. He was always more concerned about everyone else than he was about himself,” he said.

Doyla Lundstrom is from Kyle on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Ed Lundstrom is from St. Francis on Rosebud Indian Reservation. Doyla moved to Black Hawk in July after she and Ed divorced.

Brett was deployed to Iraq in September, Doyla said. She said Brett wasn’t due to come home until next December, although she and Ed heard from him often.

“He called every chance he got. Every time he wasn’t patrolling, he was calling home and talking to me and his father,” she said.

Brett’s brother, Eddy, is in the Army and also serving in Iraq. He came home Tuesday for the funeral. As for whether he will go back to Iraq, his mother said that she and his dad would prefer that he doesn’t go back, but they are leaving the decision up to him and are supporting him.

She said Eddy believes in his mission, much like his brother did. That makes things somewhat easier for her when thinking of Brett, she explained.

“My comfort is knowing he died doing what he believed in,” she said.

Contact Ryan Woodard at 394-8412 or [email protected] xt
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