Louis Edward Niedermeier
Private First Class, United States Army
June 02, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private First Class Louis E. Niedermeier, 20, of Largo, Florida, died June 1, 2005, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit was conducting combat operations and he came under enemy small arms fire. Niedermeier was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.
For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
In spring 1984, Ed and Denise Niedermeier took the train from New Brunswick to New York City, at a time when Denise was pregnant with the couple's only child.
Ed recalled taking a horse-and-buggy ride in Central Park, visiting the Empire State building, doing what tourists typically do. Denise recalled walking by the World Trade Center. "I almost got hit with this yellow cab," she said.
That June 19 she gave birth at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to Louis Niedermeier, who, at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, was "Beautiful, perfect, healthy. Even my birth would be easy with this child," said Denise, who would recall how her son grew up with manners that impressed family and friends.
On June 1, Private First Classs Louis Niedermeier was killed in Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit came under enemy fire. If there is any comfort at all in the circumstances of his death, said his mother, it was that he did not suffer. "His buddy e-mailed me. He was with him when it happened and said he was killed instantly. He didn't even know it happened."
Niedermeier, who never visited the World Trade Center outside the womb, made a decision to join the military on September 11, 2001. "He said, "How dare they come over here and do that?' He wanted to kick some butt," his mother recalled.
Although she supported his decision, she would not sign permission while he was still 17. She urged him to wait until his 18th birthday, so he could make an adult choice and sign up on his own. He enjoyed most aspects of the military and hoped to someday pilot helicopters, according to his parents.
His body will remain at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware until June 16, when it will be taken to Arlington National Cemetery for burial the next day with military honors.
"Both of us agree he should be buried with great honors. It was his brothers-in-arms he died with. It's only fitting he go to Arlington," said his father.
Although Ed and Denise are divorced — she has remarried and is now known as Denise Hoy — they maintained a close relationship, linked by their only son. "We shared a lot with Lou," said Ed Niedermeier.
"We did anything for him, but never let him play one against another," said Hoy.
Hoy, whose maiden name was Cassidy, was raised in Elizabeth, and graduated from Sayreville High School in 1983.
Ed Niedermeier, whose family lived in apartments in New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Sayreville and South Amboy, attended Middlesex High School, leaving school at 16 to work.
"We were not a rich family. We lived in apartments we could afford," said Ed Niedermeier, who eventually obtained a high school diploma.
The couple met in South Amboy at Ed Niedermeier's mother's home. "I saw (Denise) in the backyard. I knew she was the only one," he said.
When their son was born they lived on Suydam Street in New Brunswick. They moved briefly to Florida, returned to the Winding Woods apartments in Sayreville in time to allow Lou to attend kindergarten there, before moving permanently to Florida in 1990.
The most enduring link Lou had to New Jersey was his passion for the Giants. "We bought him a Lawrence Taylor football uniform, and he used to run around the house in that thing," said his mother.
After receiving the news of her son's death, Hoy had to make a difficult phone call to the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Australia, where Niedermeier's fiancee, Sarah Hatley, was serving. "She was just ripped apart," said Hoy, who had last spoken to her son 10 days before his death.
The day before Niedermeier died, he called
his father. As usual they could not talk about military operations. He
thanked his father for the snacks he'd been sending to Iraq. They talked
about the Suzuki GSX-R 750 motorcycle Niedermeier bought when he was on
leave, and a Honda motorcycle he had recently ordered. "He asked me how
I was holding up," said his father. "At least I got to say, "I love you.'
Young Florida Soldier Was 'One of the Good Kids'
Army Private Killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom Buried With Honors at Arlington
By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, June 18, 2005
On June 1, Private First Class Louis Edward Niedermeier was in combat in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, when his unit came under fire. Niedermeier was hit by a sniper's bullet and killed.
He was two weeks shy of his 21st birthday.
Yesterday, more than 80 mourners gathered to bid the young soldier farewell at Arlington National Cemetery.
"Thank you for remembering him as he really was," his father, Edward Niedermeier, holding the folded U.S. flag presented to him, told those who had gathered graveside. "My son was a hero."
Louis Niedermeier, who lived in Largo, Florida, was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal and was posthumously promoted to specialist. He had died, as his relatives emphasized during the service, fulfilling his dream of serving his country.
Niedermeier was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and moved to Florida's Gulf Coast area at age 5. He attended Clearwater High School before transferring to Pinellas Park High School as a junior. He graduated in 2003 and enlisted in the Army. After training, he was stationed in South Korea. He was deployed to Iraq a year ago.
Yesterday's graveside ceremony was preceded by a memorial at Fort Myer's Old Post Chapel. Photographs of Niedermeier on display showed him as a tot in a red sweater and bow tie, as an adolescent in a tuxedo and as a soldier in fatigues holding a weapon.
His uncle, Army Sergeant First Class Charles Welsh, stood in uniform behind the coffin and shared his favorite memories from over the years, from childhood birthday parties to motorcycle rides side by side.
"He was not my nephew," Welsh said. "He was my brother-in-arms."
Niedermeier's passions, in addition to his fiancee, Sarah Hatley, were his car, a blue Camaro for which he once took home a trophy at a car show, and his dream motorcycle, also blue. He purchased another motorcycle while in Iraq, a red one he found on eBay -- which he never got to ride.
Hatley, who serves in the Navy aboard the USS Fitzgerald, learned of her fiance's death while docked halfway around the globe. The high school sweethearts had known each other since 2000 and been engaged since 2003. According to her sister Irene Wheaton of St. Petersburg, Florida, Hatley and Niedermeier planned to marry this year, once the couple figured out when they could both come home on leave.
"Louis was a great man who wanted to fight for our country and stand up for what he believed in," Wheaton wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post. "Louis was a great friend to everyone that he met. He never had anything bad to say about anyone."
Teachers at Pinellas Park High, from which Niedermeier and Hatley graduated in 2003, still remember the "cute couple" that used to study together in the library.
"He was just one of the good kids," said Ginger Brengle, a librarian at the school who was used to seeing the studious Niedermeier poring over his textbooks in a quiet corner. "You could tell he was raised well."
Karl Meinecke, Niedermeier's drama teacher, said the young man stood out because of his politeness and maturity. "He was a little bit on the shy side, but quick with a smile," said Meinecke, who remembered Niedermeier's diligence as he worked on scenes and improvisation in the introductory class. To lose him at such an age, he said, "brings the war in Iraq to your front door."
Niedermeier, who is also survived by his mother, Denise Hoy, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Carson, Colo. He is the 144th person killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.
Posted: 11 June 2005 Updated: 19 June 2005 Updated: 1 September 2005 Updated: 8 September 2005 Updated: 4 March 2006 Updated: 12 June 2007 Updated: 15 June 2008