Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Joseph J Hamski

Ottumwa, Iowa

May 26, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
28 Air Force SSgt

52nd Civil Engineer Squadron

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

 Killed in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device

From Ottumwa Courier ottumwacourier.com 06/02/11:

Staff Sgt. Joseph Hamski, 28, Ottumwa
Ottumwa Courier
OTTUMWA — Air Force Staff Sergeant Joseph John Hamski, 28, of Ottumwa, was killed in action May 26, 2011, near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

He was born April 30, 1983, in Milwaukee, Wis., to John Ray and Mary Ellen Ehlert Hamski. He married Staff Sergeant Maria Christina Magdaleno on Jan. 2, 2009, while stationed at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

He graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001, where he played the trumpet in the band. He briefly attended Iowa State University and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January of 2003. He was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and at the time of his death was serving his fourth tour of duty overseas.

He was a member of St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa.

Surviving are his wife, Christina, currently stationed in Germany; his mother and stepfather, Mary Ellen and Joe Winston of Ottumwa; grandparents, Clyde and Rosina Ehlert of West Bend, Wis., Ray and Irene Hamski of Duluth, Minn.; two sisters, Jennifer Marie (Carl) Hensley of Shakopee, Minn., and Nicole (Josh) Friedman of Blakesburg; his brother, Thomas Martin (Trish) Hamski of Nevada; two stepsisters, Lisa Marie (Bill) Rohlf of West Des Moines and Trazon McMullen of Houston, Texas; two stepbrothers, Jo-Jo (Stacey) Winston of Hong Kong, China, and Chad (fiancee Cindy Bergfeld) Winston of West Des Moines; along with numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, John Hamski.

Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary of the Visitation with Father Bernie Weir presiding. Burial will be in Ottumwa Cemetery with full military honors conducted by the Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Reece Funeral Home. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at the funeral home with the family present from 5-8 p.m. Friday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the EOD Memorial Scholarship Fund at EOD Memorial Foundation, 1611 Myrtlewood Lane, Niceville, Fla. 32578 or Fisher House Foundation Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Ste. 420 Rockville, Md. 20850, fisherhouse.org.

From Des Moines Register desmoinesregister.com 2011

Iowa airman killed in Afghanistan
By Daniel P. Finney
The Des Moines Register

An Ottumwa native was killed in Afghanistan Thursday while serving in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Defence announced Friday night.

Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Hamski, 28, died when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

A second airman, Tech Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solebee, 32, of Citrus Heights, Calif, also died in the attack, officials said.

The incident occurred in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province.

Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001. He briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force, said his grandfather, Ray Hamski, 83, of Duluth, Minn.

“He really found himself in the Air Force — he just blossomed into a super young man,” Ray Hamski said. “He was kind of a free spirit in high school and he just wasn’t a college man. But he really shaped up in the Air Force. It’s a devastating loss.”

Hamski was assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, at the time of his death.

He previously served at Elgin Air Force Base, Cannon Air Force Base and Kusan Air Base. Hamski worked as an explosives and demolitions engineer and trained others how to detect and deactivate bombs.

“You can be thankful for all the lives he saved,” said Jennifer Hensley, Hamski’s sister. “We just sorry he was gone so soon.”

Hamski was the 82nd person with ties to Iowa to have died in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere from combat, illness or accident since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Hamski is survived by his wife, Air Force Staff Sgt. Maria Christina Hamski, Spangdahlem, Germany; mother, Mary Ellen Winston, a sixth-grade teacher in Ottumwa; sisters Jennifer Hensley of Shakopee, Minn., and Nicole Friedman of Blakesburg; and his brother Thomas Hamski of Nevada.

Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001 and briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force.

He is survived by his wife, Air Force Staff Sgt. Maria Christina Hamski, his mother, two sisters and a brother.

From WHO TV 13 whotv.com 05/30/11:

KILLED IN ACTION: An Ottumwa mom is mourning the loss of her Air Force son
Sgt. Joseph Hamski died in Afghanistan Thursday in an IED explosion
Staff Writer
6:34 p.m. CDT, May 30, 2011

Five Iowa service members have died in action this year. One of them, Staff Sergeant James Justice was buried at Arlington earlier this month.

The most recent Iowan killed is Air Force Staff Sergeant Joseph Hamski of Ottumwa. Sergeant Hamski died last Thursday in Afghanistan from injuries 
"I knew from the first time he deployed there was always the possibility that he would not come back. I can't be angry for that," says Sgt. Hamski's mom Mary Winston.

Mary knows how to put things in perspective. The Ottumwa mom is spending Memorial Day remembering the good times with her son, Staff Sergeant Joseph Hamski.

"To this day, till his dying day he would buy video games and have to sit up all night to conquer the stupid thing. His wife says there are video games still all over apartment. He never grew out of that."

Joe died just four days ago in Afghanistan in an IED explosion, the very devices her son was trained to disarm. The 28 year-old was an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician, finishing up his fourth tour of duty.

"When he went in he was a kid. He didn't know what he was doing with himself but he grew up. He grew into his manhood."

Joe attended Iowa State for just a semester, but struggled academically. Mary says the minute her son joined the Air Force, he found his purpose in life. However, Joe, was very modest about his talents.

"He hated being the center of attention. This would make him nuts! He hated attention for himself. He would do anything for anyone else; at Christmas he loved giving gifts but he didn't want any for himself."

Joe had a bright future planned. He had only been married to his wife, Christina, also a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, for less than two years. When his tour of duty was over, the two planned to start a family.

"He died an honorable death. How many people can say that?"

This memorial day, Mary mourns the loss of what could have been. Mary carries on, knowing her son died a hero.

"Because of the work my son did there's a lot of other mothers that aren't doing what I have to do today."

Mary flew back from Delaware this morning, however, Sgt. Hamski's body is still in Dover. Funeral arrangements are pending until he returns back to Iowa. Sgt. Hamski will be buried in Ottumwa.

Hundreds turn out for funeral

The Associated Press

OTTUMWA, Iowa — Hundreds of people lined the streets outside an Ottumwa church on June 4 to show their support for an airman killed last month in Afghanistan.

The mourners and well-wishers — many of them holding American flags — crowded the intersection where St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church is located.

Inside, family members of Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Hamski attended a funeral Mass for the 28-year-old Ottumwa man, The Ottumwa Courier reported.

Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001 and briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force.

“Joe was a good kid in school,” said Debbie Carnahan Coleman, who stood between the church and City Hall, holding a flag. “He never got into any trouble.”

Coleman, a teacher’s aide back then, said Hamski was always respectful in how he dealt with others and deserves that same respect. Plus, she said as an airman he “made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Hamski was killed May 26 when enemy forces attacked and a bomb exploded. The attack happened in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province. Tech. Sgt. Kristoffer Solesbee of Citrus Heights, Calif., also was killed.

The crowd began lining the streets nearly two hours before Hamski’s funeral. After the service ended, the well-wishers quietly watched the funeral procession. Some saluted the hearse carrying Hamski’s remains as it drove past them en route to Ottumwa Cemetery, where he was to be buried.

“We’re here to say ‘Thank you,’ to show the family we appreciate their sacrifice, and the sacrifice [made] by their loved one,” said another supporter, Janice Bailey.

Hamski is survived by his wife, Air�Force Staff Sgt. Maria Christina Hamski, his mother, two sisters and a brother.

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