Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army Sgt. Michael R. Weidemann.
Fallen: October 31, 2006
Sergeant Michael R. Weidemann of Newport, RI was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany. He became a hero on Oct. 31, 2006 in Asad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Light Medium Tactical Vehicle in Hit, Iraq.
Born in Canada on August 17, 1983, Sergeant Michael R. Weidemann moved to Middletown, RI with his family when he was 7. In 2001, he graduated from Rogers High School, where he attended the Newport Area Career and Technical Center and participated in the automotive program. He was also an honor student and an active member of the Junior Recruiting Officer Training Candidate program.
His participation in the program had the biggest impact on him. The program completely turned his life around, giving him some direction. One month after graduating from high school, Sergeant Weidemann pursued his interests by enlisting in the Army as an auto mechanic and joined the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
Those who knew Sergeant Weidemann remember his optimistic personality, his loyalty, his hard work and willingness to fix everything. Most importantly, he had a positive impact on all who knew him. He loved the Army and wanted to make it a career.
After serving one tour in Iraq, Sergeant Weidemann was nearing the end of his second tour when he became a fallen hero at the age of 23 in Asad, Iraq from injuries sustained after an improvised explosive devise detonated near his Light Medium Tactical Vehicle in Hit, Iraq.
When Sergeant Weidemann’s Nation called him to duty to preserve freedom, liberty and security, he answered without hesitation. We will remember him as a patriot who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Sergeant Weidemann is survived by his grandmother, Gertrude K.C. Miller; his sister, Catharine E. Weidemann; and his brothers, Richard L. Weidemann and Edward R. and Benjamin J. Berriault.
Lt. Col. Raoul Achambault drove from Newport to Providence this morning thinking of one person: Sgt. Michael R. Weidemann, who was killed Tuesday in Iraq. He was 23.
Archambault, who works in the Junior ROTC program at Providence’s Hope High School, ran the program at Rogers High School in 2001, when Weidemann graduated.
“The thing I remember most clearly about Michael is that he was a nice kid and he was nice to other kids,” Archambault said. “That is not always the case. He went through the same challenges that all kids face. It can be a tough time of life for kids. And they can very mean to each other. He was always nice to other kids, and I think they looked up to him in a lot of ways.
He was a very active participant in our events and in any community service project we did.”
Weidemann was killed while on patrol when his armored military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the city of Hit in the area of the Anbar province west of Baghdad, according to the Rhode
Island National Guard.
Weidemann is the 11th Rhode Islander killed in Iraq since 2003. Funeral arrangements this morning were incomplete.
Weidemann was an honors student who attended the Newport Area Career and Technical Center, housed at Rogers, where he specialized in automotive technology. But his uncle, Ambrose Miller of South Kingstown, said it was the JROTC program that had the biggest impact on his nephew.
“That school and that program completely turned his life around,” Miller said this morning. “It really gave him some direction. He loved the Army and wanted to make a career of it. It’s a sad situation, of course. But he ended up doing exactly what he wanted to do. And how many young people can say that?”
Miller said Weidemann’s father lives out of state. His mother, Susanna Weidemann, died in 1999 at the age of 39, he said. She was a Navy veteran, Miller said, but her experience had little influence on her son’s military decision.
“It was the school and the ROTC that had the biggest impact,” Miller said. “That’s what did it.”
Weidemann is the second oldest of five children and also is survived by a grandmother.
Victoria Johnson, retired Rogers High School principal, had yet to hear the news of Weidemann’s death until this morning. She remembered him vividly.
“He was such a nice young man, so friendly,” she said. “I used to talk to him in the cafeteria and he was always so likeable. He’s one you remember.”
Johnson recalled Weidemann telling her he planned to enlist in the Army after graduation. “He wasn’t going on to college and was very excited about joining the Army,” Johnson said. “I think he saw it as a good opportunity. This is such sad news.”
Sheri Martins graduated from Rogers in 2003, two years after Weidemann, but said she knew him early on in high school. “He was a total sweetheart,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face. If you needed someone to talk to, he was always there for you, just a sweetheart.”
Weidemann was a member of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Brigade, based in Germany.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., an Army veteran, issued a statement about Weidemann’s death. “This is a moment to reflect on the courage and dedication of one brave American who has given all for his country,” he said.
- Newport Daily News
- Run for The Fallen Rhode Island
- Military Times – HONOR THE FALLEN