A memorial was held Thursday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in mid-July.
Staff Sgt. Carl Eric Hammar died July 14, when his patrol unit was attacked by enemies with rocket-powered grenades and small arms fire.
Hammar was transferred to JBER from Fort Bragg last September. He became an infantry squad leader with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
A friend and fellow Blackfoot Company soldier of Hammar’s, Staff Sgt. Nick Tabaczka, remembered him as being passionate about educating other troops, even during deployment.
“From square one, even though we were on pre-deployment and there’s certain things that are slowed down right before you leave, he was still insisting a lot of things from his soldiers a lot of the time,” Tabaczka said. “And basically set the tone for once we got to Afghanistan. Once we got there, he had nightly meetings with his guys, and it was less of a meeting and more of a class. And sometimes he would just come up on the fly about what he wanted to talk about that night, but he was just trying to keep those guys thinking at all times. So I always liked that about him.”
Hammar spent the early years of his life in Sweden and graduated high school in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. The Infantryman spoke nearly four different languages and hoped to learn more, according to Tabaczka. Since joining the Army in 2006, Hammar served as an automatic rifleman, machine gunner and radio telephone operator. He served for two deployments in Iraq before Afghanistan.
Tabaczka and Hammar hit it off as friends early and Tabaczka said his fellow squad leader pushed him to become a better leader.
“One of the things I’ve been dealing with is, I never got to say goodbye to him,” Tabaczka said. “But the way the chaplain worded it today was spot on -- because there was always that inherent and assumed love between people in the same platoon and the things you’ve been through together… It didn’t matter if I told him, because he knew. And I knew.”