Senior Enlisted Leader Retires After 30 Years Training Soldiers
SPRINGFIELD, IL (10/18/2018) (readMedia)-- Command Sgt. Maj. Shane E. Lammers, senior enlisted leader of 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment in Marion, Illinois, retired after 30 years of military service on Sept. 30.
After graduating high school in Arcola, Illinois, in 1988, Lammers joined the Illinois Army National Guard (ILARNG) for the educational benefits. He decided to stay for more personal reasons.
"I enlisted as a means to afford college," Lammers said. "I ended up staying because of the loyalty and duty that develops with your fellow Soldiers."
These relationships have always been important to Lammers.
"My favorite part of military life is the camaraderie, the family," he said. "Just like with any family, you experience every emotion: joy, sorrow, excitement, anger, love, hate, frustration, happiness, etc. You experience the happiness when a Soldier succeeds in any way, but also feel the disappointment when a Soldier makes a poor decision."
Eventually, Lammers decided to travel the path of a senior enlisted non-commissioned officer.
"I was blessed to be around Soldiers and leaders throughout my career that pushed me to be the best Soldier that I could be," he said. "It was the desire to live up to their expectations that created the path for my advancement."
Lt. Col. Clayton Kuetemeyer, currently the ILARNG director of Planning and Operations, served with Lammers when both were young enlisted Soldiers in the 2-130th. Eventually, both men returned to lead the same unit and Lammers was able to put his wisdom and experience to work.
"We were both extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to return to the Blackhawk Battalion years later and serve again at the command team level," said Kuetemeyer, a Chatham resident.
"One of the things he reinforced with me was 'don't assume the standard; take the time to check the reference so you know the standard.'"
On the civilian side, Lammers became a police officer in 1997 at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and still works there today.
Among other military career highlights, Lammers served as the first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team during its historic mobilization to Afghanistan 2008-2009. He also served as a member and later the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Pre-mobilization Training Assistance and Evaluation team. With that team, he helped train thousands of Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers as they prepared for mobilization and deployment. It was through this and other assignments where he mentored other future leaders and dispensed invaluable advice.
"Strive to become the leader that you always wanted to have in charge of you and your Soldiers," he said. "Always strive to understand and support all the facets of a Soldier's life, which in the long term, will produce a stronger more resilient Soldier, team member and leader. The military is ever changing and as NCOs we have to adapt with it to ensure that we are doing the best that we can, to prepare our Soldiers and future leaders for the path they will travel after our journey ends."
When it comes to leadership, Lammers is something of an expert, said Keutemeyer.
"He absolutely exemplifies the phrase 'No one is more professional than I' from the NCO creed," said Kuetemeyer. "He leads by example, holds people accountable, upholds the standard, and takes care of Soldiers as his personal mission."
In the end, however, Lammers feels the same way he did when he enlisted 30 years ago-it all comes down to the Soldiers.
"The military gives experiences that you can never get anywhere else, takes you places you would never have gone, gives you the opportunity to work with people and nations that you never imagined, and to be part of things that others only dream of," he said, "but it is the Soldiers that make it a family, that make it enjoyable. When I think back on every opportunity that the military gave me, every experience I had, the memories always move to the Soldiers and individuals that were there with me, sharing the good and bad."