Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Matthew T. Zeimer killed in ambush

HELENA, Mont. - Military authorities on Monday identified a soldier from Montana as one of two killed Feb. 2 in Ramadi, Iraq.

The Department of Defense said Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18, of Glendive, Mont., died of injuries he received in a firefight with enemy forces.

Zeimer was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

The department identified the second soldier killed as Spc. Alan E. McPeek, 20, of Tucson, Ariz. He was assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany.

No additional details on the deaths were immediately available late Monday.

Zeimer was a 2006 graduate of Dawson County High School, where he participated in choir and the Jobs for Montana Students Club.

Serving in the military was his dream, government teacher Patsy Ferco said.

"He worked hard join the military and took the military aptitude tests three or four times to get in because it was so important to him," Ferco told KXGN-AM. "He wanted to be a military man."

Zeimer came home for Christmas and received extra time off to help recruiters at his school, she said.

Ferco added that Zeimer was "gung-ho" about serving in Iraq.

"He said to me, 'That's what I've trained for _ this is the mission,'" she said.

Principal Bruce Clausen said he learned of Zeimer's death Sunday night and offered counseling to students on Monday. He described Zeimer as a polite young man who enjoyed working in the school's vocational education program.

Clausen also said Zeimer was passionate about joining the military and was proud to serve his country.

"He didn't baulk about the opportunity to go to Iraq," Clausen told The Billings Gazette. "He was red, white and blue from the inside out and wanted to do whatever he could to provide service to his country _ and that was verbatim."

Clausen said Zeimer is survived by his parents, Ned and Janet Seymour of Glendive, and four siblings, including a twin sister, Tonya Zeimer, also of Glendive.

Zeimer's body is expected to be returned to Glendive in the next week to 10 days. Funeral services are pending.

According to military records, Zeimer is the 15th Montanan to die in Iraq.

From the Independent Record