Thieves struck while away in Afghanistan; vets offer help
Gretel C. Kovach
Dec. 28, 2012
Hammond, 34, originally from Peotone, Ill., is serving her second combat tour. Her husband is assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion, recovering from injuries he suffered in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan
(From left) Maj. Shane Goodwin, Regional Command Southwest Comptroller; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Grant Murphy, RC (SW) Financial Management Resource Officer; and Gunnery Sgt. Jamie Hammond, RS (SW) Comptroller chief, sing during a memorial for Master Sgt. Scott Pruitt who was killed in action April 28, in Zaranj, Afghanistan.
It had been a tough year to begin with. Then Gunnery Sgt. Jamie Hammond discovered that just about everything she owned except the desert camouflage on her back was stolen while she was in Afghanistan.
All her other Marine Corps uniforms, including the ones she got at boot camp 13 years ago. Her baby spoon. Fossils collected with her grandfather. The safe filled with tax returns and other important documents. Bedding, snowboard, shoes.
Hammond, a comptroller chief with Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan, had returned for a conference. The day before her flight back to the war zone, she stopped by Cube Smart in Vista on Nov. 30 to drop off some gear.
“When I lifted the door to my storage unit, I was in utter shock, disbelief, panic and rage. All of the items I had acquired during my childhood and adult life were stolen from me,” Hammond recalled in an email. “It is still hard to comprehend the loss.”
When her yearlong tour ends, it will really sink in, “since there is nothing to unpack.”
The thieves pilfered about $25,000 worth of her possessions; insurance will reimburse her for $2,000, Hammond said. They also charged on her cards, passed her checks to an identity theft ring and tried to obtain a fraudulent mortgage.
“They stole her damn underwear!” fumed Neil Kenny, 63, of Staten Island, N.Y., and a Marine veteran of the 1968 siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam.
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