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Isle Marine dies after being hit by explosives in Afghanistan


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POSTED: Sunday, July 12, 2009

A 22-year-old Kaneohe Marine died Friday from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on June 22.

Cpl. Matthew Lembke, of Tuatalin Ore., was a sniper with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment which is deployed to Now Zad in southern Afghanistan, according to The Oregonian.

Lembke, also known as “;Lumpe,”; was scheduled to be discharged this fall, the newspaper reported.

He was on patrol just past midnight when a bomb blew off both his legs and caused internal injuries. He was flown to a medical center in Germany and then transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where he died Friday.

Doctors performed surgery every other day on Lembke, who was sedated most of the time, according to The Oregonian. On Monday, he blinked his eyes and squeezed the hands of his family members, the paper reported.

According to an earlier Oregonian article, Lembke knew he wanted to join the military since middle school and enlisted when he was 18. “;He never changed course,”; his mother, Claudia, told the paper.

Friends wrote dedications on Lembke's MySpace page, which displayed an American flag in the background. On the page, he wrote that he was planning on returning home for good and attending school. Among the messages friends left included:

» “;LUMP i'm gonna miss you a whole hell of a lot but bro you will never be forgotten in my life or my sons! i'll make sure to tell him all about you and i'll tell him you say hi! i just wish it wasnt true”;

» “;Lumpe - Thank you for every you have been to all of your friends, and ill be bring that case of beer with me when its my time. RIP”;

» “;RIP BROTHER I WILL ALWAYS MISS YA”;

Friends also made a Facebook group and YouTube video in his honor.

Lembke is survived by his mother, Claudia; father, Dale; and sister, Carolyn. Services are pending.