Capt. Bill Hamann (right) administers the oath of re-enlistment to his younger brother, Sgt. Mike Hamann, on March 20 at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. U.S. Army photo
Sgt. Mike Hamann
Capt. Bill Hamann
Sgt. Mike Hamann
Capt. Bill Hamann
By Pfc. Brian D. Jesness
1/34 Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait, April 27, 2006 — U.S. Army Sgt. Mike Hamann of Alexandria, Va., was determined to be the first soldier of the 1/34 Brigade Combat Team to re-enlist while overseas during the unit’s deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. And with the help of his brother, Capt. Bill Hamann, he was.
Bill Hamann of the Brigade Combat Team headquarters, swore in Mike Hamann of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion for his six-year re-enlistment on March 20 just one day after their arrival at the camp.
Days later, 20 more Minnesota Guard soldiers of the unit re-enlisted. Of those, 18 chose the six-year re-enlistment option, the longest available.
Spc. Jacob Riggs of Princeton, Minn., among those 18, said he re-enlisted “to do my part for my country and family.”
The subcontractor said he will use his bonus of $15,000 to build a house.
Sgt. 1st Class Dave Heil of Rosemount, who also re-enlisted for six years, said he is going to use his bonus to build fencing for his three dogs and build a gazebo and hot tub.
Cpl. Allison Garrett of Alexandria, Minn., said re-enlisting for another six years is a great opportunity for female soldiers. “Because the military needs higher ranking females to play a role,” she said.
She said she intends to use her bonus to help fund her marriage ceremony and build a house.
Sgt. 1st Class Kent Lande of Forest Lake, Minn., said his three-year re-enlistment means he is building on his 20 years in the Guard. He is in his 19th year of service.
Like these soldiers, the Hamann family also values military service.
“Our great grandpa was in the civil war in the 3rd Minnesota Regiment and served at Vicksburg, Miss,” said Bill. “Our dad was in World War II as a merchant Marine. In fact he was in the English Channel as part of a supply line that fed the Normandy invasion. Our oldest brother was in the Air Force in Thailand during Vietnam.”
The Hamann brothers grew up in a large family of eight children in Northfield, Minn., and have combined to spend more than 35 years of service in the military.
Bill began his military career in the active Army in 1984. A few years later while stationed in Germany, he advised Mike about enlisting.
“I told him not to go in the Army, not to go enlisted, and not to go to Germany,” said Bill.
Mike disobeyed all of his brother’s advice. After enlisting in the active Army in 1986 and after a couple months of initial training he surprised his brother by showing up in Bill’s barracks for his first duty station in Germany.
“He walks into my room and the section chief says ‘Is this your brother?’ said Bill. “I remembered him as a scrawny little punching bag. He walks into the room and he is six-feet tall, broad shouldered and he’s got this big old tattoo. ‘I think he’s my brother.’ I said. I barely recognized him.”
Both brothers later joined the Minnesota Army National Guard after completing their active service. Bill has served more than 17 years in the Guard and works as a medical device development engineer.
Mike has served more than eight years in the Guard. He works as a civilian contractor for the Army Materiel Command in Virginia but still drills in Minnesota. “I don’t want to leave the unit,” he said. “I enjoy it.”
While deployed, Bill is serving as the BCT’s resource manager in the comptroller section. He said this position challenges him because the 1/34 BCT is the first National Guard BCT to have a resource manager on staff. There are no examples to follow so he is learning as he goes.
Mike is serving with the BSB’s S6 communications shop. He did not have to deploy, but he volunteered to take the place of a recently married fellow soldier in his unit.
When asked what their goals are for their future in the guard they replied. “I don’t have any plans to retire at this point,” Bill said. “We’ll see how this mobilization goes.
“I figure I have about 12 years left,” Mike said.
Other Minnesota Guard soldiers who re-enlisted March 25 are: Sgt. Arthur Wiegele, Staff Sgt. Eric Emery, Spc. Kyle Lindemer, Spc. Tamara Heibel, Spc. Nathan Wendland, Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood, Spc. Kevin Budke, Sgt. Scott Peer, Spc. Wendell Robinson, Spc. Thomas Stevens, Staff Sgt. Nathan Carlsrud, Sgt. Daniel Johnson, Spc. Dustin Vollmer, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Seelen, Staff Sgt. Matthew Hordyk and Sgt. Steven Guptill.