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Old 10-30-2006, 02:38 AM
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Local Marine killed in Iraq

Local Marine killed in Iraq

Zimmerman is area's first war casualty since '04

By Nathan Phelps
October 29, 2006

People who knew Luke Zimmerman say he was a hard worker, an upstanding individual who always had a smile and had long aspired to be part of the U.S. Marine Corps.

On Friday, friends and family got the news the 24-year-old Marine from the town of Green Bay was killed in Iraq.

Zimmerman, a 2000 Luxemburg-Casco graduate, was a close friend of Steve Metzler and his family. He worked for Metzler and his wife, Julie, who own Julie's Café on Main Street in Green Bay, for four years. They'd also taken him on a family vacation and he was a best friend to Scott and Troy Metzler, two of Steve's sons.

"He was a great friend," said Steve Metzler, who lives in Green Bay. "He was always smiling … the life of the party. He was always upbeat. He was a hard worker and he was a dedicated worker … and he was a man of his word.

"He was a lot of fun, he was a dedicated kid. You couldn't have asked for a nicer guy."

The Department of Defense had not yet given public notification of Zimmerman's death Saturday afternoon. That announcement from the military normally takes a day or two after family is told of the death.

But the news had spread among family and friends.

Steve Metzler's family heard the news Friday afternoon; just days after Troy got a phone call from Luke in Iraq.

"Things were going quite well," Metzler said. "They were arresting some insurgents, and they were searching for roadside bombs and insurgents from what he mentioned."

They last saw him in summer when Zimmerman was home on leave and attended one of Metzler's son's pre-wedding activities.

"He couldn't stand up for the wedding because he had to go to Iraq, but he came to the shower and then he had to leave," Metzler said.

Zimmerman's family members declined comment Saturday. American and Marine Corps flags snapped on a staff in front of the town of Green Bay home and a blue star flag — signifying a family member on active duty — hung in the window.

Claire Dombrowski, Zimmerman's mother, wouldn't talk publicly about her son .

A man who came to the door gave a brief statement, "His service was exemplary and that will speak for itself."

Zimmerman is the second Marine from Luxemburg-Casco High School to die in Iraq. In April 2004 Marine Cpl. Jesse Thiry, 23, of Casco was killed in Anbar province.

Thiry and Zimmerman graduated in 2000 and the two men were described as friends who hung out together and followed the same path into the Marines.

For Randy Thiry, Zimmerman's death hurts just as much as it did 2½ years ago when he got the news about his son.

"It's déjà vu," he said shortly after talking to Zimmerman's parents Saturday. "It brings back a lot of memories… It doesn't get any easier. It's just like day one."

Randy Thiry said Zimmerman was an upstanding individual and a "very, very nice kid."

Sue Thiry said she believes the two Marines crossed paths later in life when they were home on leave at the same time and may have crossed paths in the Corps.

Metzler said serving in the Marine Corps was something Zimmerman had worked for since he was in his teens.

"Since eighth grade, he was talking about joining. This is something he always wanted to do," he said. "It's something he had in his heart, and he was going to do it. He believed in it, and when they sent him to Iraq, he did not waiver. He wanted to go fight for his country."

This was Zimmerman's first tour in Iraq, where he had been for the past few months, Metzler said.

Both Zimmerman and Thiry wrestled at Luxemburg-Casco, where wrestling coach Bob Berceau said Zimmerman was a hard worker and was always fun to be around.

"Just a go-getter, he always had a lot of fire in him," he said. "He was just a nice kid to have around … He always had a smile on his face."

Six people from the Green Bay area have died in Iraq since February of 2004.

Through Friday, 2,808 military members and civilian Department of Defense employees have been killed in Iraq since the war started in March 2003, according to the Department of Defense. October has seen 98 American military members killed in Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

But the numbers don't tell the stories of the men and women serving in Iraq and their lives before the military. Zimmerman is remembered as a friend, a son, a teammate and fellow Marine by those he leaves behind.

"He was a family friend, and I knew he was going to be friends with us forever," Steve Metzler said. "It's a big loss for us and big loss for a lot of people. He was a great person."
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:02 AM
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Posted October 31, 2006

Marine Sgt. Zimmerman's death confirmed

L-C graduate killed in combat in Iraq, Defense Dept. says

By Nathan Phelps

The Department of Defense confirmed the death of Sgt. Luke Zimmerman Monday afternoon, three days after he was killed in Iraq.

The two-sentence release said the 24-year-old Luxemburg-Casco High School graduate died Friday "from injuries suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province."

Zimmerman was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Family members remember him as a passionate person and dedicated Marine who was full of laughs.

"Whenever he was home he wanted to be with family," said his aunt, Kay Brosig of Green Bay. "He just wanted to be with us."

Zimmerman was on his second enlistment in the Marines, having served four years before signing on for another four, Brosig said.

She said the last few days have been a mixture of tears and laughs for the family.

"The family gets together, and the stories start coming out," she said Monday night. "That's the biggest relief, you can enjoy his life. He lived it to the fullest. … There was a lot of laughs and a lot of tears, and a lot of laughing and tears at the same time."

Zimmerman's body has been returned to the United States and plans are being worked on for the return to Wisconsin, Capt. Tony Mitchell, a Marine liaison working with family, said Monday afternoon.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced, according to Proko-Wall Funeral Home.

"He was a big part of our life," Brosig said. "He always had his charming ways, a good joke or two, and always full of laughs."
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:07 AM
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Zimmerman, Luke J.
Zimmerman, Luke J. Sgt. Luxemburg. Was killed on Friday, Oct. 27, 2006 in Iraq. Luke was born May 28, 1982 in Green Bay to Wesley Zimmerman and Claire (Denissen) Dombrowski. Luke is survived by his mother Claire (Denissen) and Richard B. Dombrowski Jr. He is further survived by his brother Leonardo C. Zimmerman of Green Bay and his two step-sisters Brooke M. Dombrowski, Green Bay and Toni L. Dombrowski, Little Suamico. Also surviving are maternal grandfather, Alfred Denissen, Green Bay; uncles and aunts, Michael and Rose Denissen, Robert and Christine Belport, Green Bay, Scott and Linda Denissen, Kentucky, Dean and Julie Hoegger, Sturgeon Bay, Kurt and Monica Denissen, Milwaukee, Donald and Katherine Brosig, Green Bay; loving cousins, and step-grandmother, Rosemary Gagnon, Green Bay. Friends may call at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St. on Friday from 3 to 8 p.m. Visitation will continue on Saturday at Robinsonville Presbyterian Church from 9 a.m. until the time of service. Funeral Service 10:30 a.m. at the church with Pastor William Kamke officiating. Fittingly, Sergeant ZIMMERMAN, Luke J., U.S.M.C. will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, marking the last chapter in a noble young man's life. Affirmative, over and out. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy a memorial fund has been established in Luke's name.

Online condolences may be sent to Luke's family at
Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 11/1/2006.
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:31 AM
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Marine given final salute

Mourners honor Zimmerman's ultimate sacrifice

By Paul Srubas
November 5, 2006

CHAMPION — The tiny country church couldn't come close to providing enough space for all those who came to pay final respects to Marine Sgt. Luke Zimmerman on Saturday morning.

Zimmerman, 24, of the town of Green Bay was killed in action in Iraq Oct.27.

An estimated 150 people packed the Robinsonville Presbyterian Church for the funeral, with at least 30 standing in the back of the church. The service was piped outside for the benefit of about 30 uniformed veterans, 35 U.S. Marines and 26 members of the Patriot Guard Riders — the motorcycle group that sets up a perimeter at military funerals to shield mourners from protest groups, should any be present.

There were no protests but a good many tears and even a few chuckles, such as when a relative speaking from the lectern recalled Zimmerman's abortive attempts to play basketball as a boy.

Although basketball didn't work out for the young man, who went on to successful track and wrestling efforts, it was a testimonial to Zimmerman's eagerness to try everything and live life to the fullest, the relative said.

The ceremony opened with a bag-piper piping as the 35 Marines marched slowly into the church, past Zimmerman's coffin and out a side exit to the church. They took up station on the street and waited in the drizzle.

Gov. Jim Doyle was among those attending and had a front-row seat in the church.

Residents of a home nearby stepped out on their patio and watched and listened to the service as it was piped outdoors.

Pastor William Kamke gave a eulogy based on the letter's of Zimmerman's first name, with "L" standing for "loyalty," "U" standing for "unique," "K" for "kindness" and "E" for "energetic."

In acknowledgement of Zimmerman's ultimate sacrifice for his country and fellow Marines, Kamke quoted the Bible verse John 15:13 — "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

A light drizzle was falling as pall bearers brought out Zimmerman's flag-draped coffin, and a Marine Corps honor guard stepped up to ceremoniously fold the flag and present it to Zimmerman's mother, Claire Dombrowski. Another group of Marines fired a 21-gun salute in Zimmerman's honor, and a uniformed soldier played taps on a horn.

Zimmerman was the 66th Wisconsin resident to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. He will be buried Wednesday in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
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