INDIANAPOLIS, IN, USA U.S. Army CPL, TROOP A, 5TH SQUADRON, 1ST CAV, 1ST SBCT, 25TH ID, FORT WAINWRIGHT, AK BALAD, IRAQ 02/23/2009
Private First Class Zachary R. Nordmeyer, who died Monday in a firefight with insurgents in Iraq, was remembered as a quiet person with the makings of a leader. A graduate of Ben Davis High School, Nordmeyer, 21, was killed while patrolling on foot near the town of Balad, about 70 miles north of Baghdad. He and other soldiers came under attack from small-arms fire.He was the second graduate of the Ben Davis High School JROTC program to be killed in combat in Iraq.
“He was a very goal-oriented young man,” recalled Ben Davis Principal Joel McKinney, “and wanted to be in the armed forces and wanted to develop his leadership skills.”
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Thompson, a retired Marine who runs Ben Davis’ JROTC program, taught Nordmeyer for three years and recalled his student’s transformation from follower to leader.
“There’s quiet leadership, and he was pretty strong at that early,” Thompson said. “But by his senior year, he kind of came out of his shell. He wasn’t afraid to encourage younger students to develop as cadets and do their best.”
Nordmeyer joined the Army in July 2007, two months out of high school, and was sent to Iraq in September for a 12-month tour.
At his funeral, Nordmeyer was remembered for his intense devotion to those closest to him. The chaplain said that when Nordmeyer’s former fiancée broke up with him in high school, Nordmeyer showered her with poetry, flowers and cards until she came back to him.
“Zach was such a good person. Zach loved me more than anything, and he would have given the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it,” said Nordmeyer’s fiancée, Christina Purdy.
He is survived by his father, Michael.