Lawyer returns from serving in Afghanistan, Iraq

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Augusta's reluctant hero is back.

Shawn Hammond stands with Afghan children in this photo taken in August 2006. The Augusta attorney spent a year in Afghanistan after being called up by the Army 12 years after he last served.  Special
Special
Shawn Hammond stands with Afghan children in this photo taken in August 2006. The Augusta attorney spent a year in Afghanistan after being called up by the Army 12 years after he last served.

After a year in Afghanistan and four more months in Iraq, 1st Lt. Shawn Hammond, an Augusta attorney, is home again.

"Look at this - this is the one I'm most proud of," he said of the combat infantryman's badge on his chest. "Doug (Flanagan) and I are the only two lawyers in Augusta who have this."

It is the only medal a soldier is allowed to wear when not in full dress uniform, he explained.

In January 2006, the Army re-activated Lt. Hammond over his protests that he was overweight, a single parent of three and in private practice. The Army didn't care that 12 years had passed since he had served. He had military combat experience.

By April 2006 he was "MoHammond," the man in charge of training a 52-man unit of the Afghan National Army. He led more than 50 combat missions throughout Afghanistan, his colonel wrote in support of awarding Lt. Hammond a Bronze Star.

His friends and acquaintances back in Augusta held their breath when Lt. Hammond e-mailed details of the December attack on Camp Joyce on the Pakistan border. Taliban forces rained mortar and machine-gun fire from the mountain ridge above the camp. They rejoiced in learning of his safe return after assisting in the capture of the Taliban warlord Said Mir.

"It was cool guy stuff, but I'm a dad now," Lt. Hammond said in his dining room in Columbia County.

When not in combat, Lt. Hammond stopped massive amounts of fraud and waste of supplies in Kandak; helped soldiers with legal troubles from home; and donated time and gathered supplies for Afghan schools, hospitals and villages.

"Training, helping soldiers, then patrols," Lt. Hammond said. It made for full days, he said.

As a year passed, he and his family began to think about life after his service. But not yet, the Army said. There was a surge in Iraq, and Lt. Hammond got new orders.

He made it home this month after more than a year away. Now he starts over from scratch with a new law practice, he said.

He has 90 days to decide whether he wants to stay in the Reserves. If he does, he can keep the health insurance for another five years. That's important with three children, Lt. Hammond said.

After being a divorce lawyer for 10 years, exchanging gunfire with the Taliban didn't seem that bad, he joked.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

SHAWN HAMMOND

AGE: 40

FAMILY: Father of three

OCCUPATION: Augusta attorney who had to spend about $1,000 to buy his own combat gear

Comments (95) Add comment
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/24/07 - 06:18 am
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KPC, your argument that

KPC, your argument that getting a college deferment in the 1960s was "draft dodging" is specious just like your false claim that random chemical arms shells found in Iraq somehow justifies Bush's & Cheney's WMD claims & the US war Iraq. If you want to classify everyone who went to college in the 1960s as "draft dodgers" because they got a college deferment, then you might as well classify every military age person today who is working and making money instead of volunteering to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq as "draft dodgers". In your mind they are shirking their responsibility to fight in these unnecessary and unwinnable neocolonial wars. They may be smarter than you, better educated than you, and richer than you, but by God they are shirking their responsibility to fight for their country regardless of the circumstances. KPC, you just don't make no sense, dude. People who opposed the Vietnam war and continue to oppose stupid imperial wars are not hypocrits like Dick Cheney who got his college deferments but now is profiting from war and urging others to fight another useless war which is just as stupid as Vietnam which Cheney and the chickenhawks did not fight in themselves.

emerald
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emerald 07/24/07 - 06:44 am
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Lt. Hammond, thank you for

Lt. Hammond, thank you for your service to our country. I thank God that you made it home safely. Those of you on this thread talking about the right or wrong of it should be ashamed.

yankeedude
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yankeedude 07/24/07 - 09:59 am
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1LT Hammond...thanks for the

1LT Hammond...thanks for the service. I'm also an Attorney in Augusta and I'm currently on my second combat tour. My first was in Iraq in 2005, now I'm in Afghanistan. As a Major in the Military Police Corps, I have several soldiers under my command. While most of you debat theoretical right and wrong, I send soldiers through Taliban filled neighborhoods to ensure roads are being built. We just reviewed security at a school where the principal makes only $80 per month, and Taliban forces would love to destroy it. I ensure protection for the folks making this country better, and I see progress daily. In theory, it doesn't matter what you think. We are soldiers with a mission that we will complete. You can support soldiers without endorsing the war, but by constantly questioning why we are fighting, you do little to honor those who currently serve and those who paid the ultimate price. If you support us, thank you. If you don't, shut up.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/24/07 - 10:32 am
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Yankeedude, Another lawyer

Yankeedude, Another lawyer doing his duty in Afghanistan. Milton Bearden is a former CIA agent. He says Afghanistan has not been pacified by a foreign occupation force in the last 2,500 years of recorded history. Pakistani tribesmen who inhabit the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border & who identify with their Afghan brothers have never been conquered. They defeated Alexander the Great. I am all for modernization & women's rights, but you will not be successful in imposing those western values on Afghanistan or on Pakistan. Iraq is even more important to Arabs because it is at the heart of the Arab & Muslim worlds. Afghans are not Arabs. You think you are helping by building roads & schools, but the Taliban has regained strength in the last 5 years 8 months since United States toppled them because the life of the ordinary Afghan has not improved & because US-puppet Hamid Karzai's govt is weak & corrupt. The Taliban is strong where it has never been popular before. We will NOT shut up. More Afghan civilians are killed by US & NATO airstrikes than by the Taliban. The US/NATO effort in Afghanistan is failing. The Russians warned us Afghans know how to fight & how to die.

Eric
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Eric 07/24/07 - 11:42 am
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Yankeedude, thank you sir for

Yankeedude, thank you sir for your service too. My hat is off to you and your men and all of our troops over there. I think you can see by the responce by most of the people posting here that we are behind you 110%. There are a few misguided individuals that will use any form of communication to project their own agenda in any situation. Rather than a simple "welcome back" or "good job," these people want to hide behind a screen name in a forum and spew their own beliefs rather than have the guts to try to do something about it. I have championed this person, Cain, to go to Washington and try to do something about what he believes in; but, it is obvious he is to "YELLOW" to even answer the question I posed to him. Much less try to change anything. He would rather come in here and try to belittle you folks and spew what the liberal media feeds them every night. Good luck to you and I hope you and all your troops make it home safely. OOH RAH!

Son of God
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Son of God 07/24/07 - 06:31 pm
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hello attorney hammond, god

hello attorney hammond,
god is good all the time! all the time god is good! my son has also returned home from iraq and has been to kuwait and other countries. he is currently in the national guard reserves and is a "dynamic' automechanic. god has also given our family grace and mercy. god bring my son home and his wife just gave birth to a baby boy. he was born with an anuerism in his aorta. god gave that baby a miracle and the anuerism disappeared in three days just like the "son of god" was in the earth for three days! continue to do the work of the lord and your testimony will compel others to come on the ship and work for jesus;especially other attorneys. god did not bring you this far to leave you. always remember that god sees all of us as his rainbows of love with different colors and one faith. god does not see race, gender, or sex. you already have your name written in the lambs book of life because of your love for "all" of god's people. may your children and family members continue to be blessed and walk in the blessings of god. you should run for judge, why not? we need some sons of god in the house to compell others to come. i know that you hear from god clearly!!!!

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