Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Richard Herrema graduated from Unity Christian High School. He then enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in January 1999.
He originally served with B Company, 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Brigade, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Herrema later promoted to a squad leader in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, with the same unit. In June 2003, Herrema graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course as an 18D Special Forces Medical Sergeant. He then became an instructor in G Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Herrema deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom and died April 25, 2006, during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq. His parents, Richard and Mary Herrema, and his sisters, Katie Lynn and Janie Lynn Herrema, survived him.
During his service, Herrema received two Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals and two Army Good Conduct Medals. He also received a Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, a Parachutist Badge, an Air Assault Badge, a Special Forces tab and Ranger tabs.
Herrema promoted to sergeant first class and received a Bronze Star Medal for valor, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge, all posthumously.
Following his death, the Rick Herrema Foundation and Rick’s Place recreation center were created. The Rick Herrema Foundation aims to combat the disconnect between military deployment and reintegration services for active duty members and their families. To accomplish this, the foundation helps members build their community and supports relationships. It hosts group activities at Rick’s Place aimed to improve quality of life, reduce stress and strengthen relationships within a community.
We honor his service.
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Writer: John Byrne