Bethesda, Day 3, continued

by dale

Got up at 6:00 Thought I would sneak over early this morning to see Matt - Carolyn was already here. He's getting ready for a long surgery this morning.

More Bethesda, Day 3

by carolyn

Can't sleep tonight... trying to go see my lil bro, but they won't let me in for another half hour.

Celebrity Meeting

by carolyn

Just met Stevie Nicks (from Fleetwood Mac)... that was kind of strange... she makes her rounds here at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals. She was very sweet.

Bethesda Update, 3rd Day

by dale

This is a message from Mike Dowling who is Matt's Team Leader in Afghanistan. We were so excited to hear from them. We've been going crazy trying to get to those guys to find out how they are. Thx


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "mg dowling"
To: claudia
Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 6:51:50 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re:

Thank you for getting back to me so soon and thanks for the updates. The last we heard was that Matt had arrived in Bethesda. The information is getting to us very slow, and the website will help us out a ton. I hope you dont mind that I contacted you. I got your email address form Matt's friend Boone. There was one other Marine that was hurt when Matt was, but he had only minor injuries and will be returning here to us in the next day or so. I'm not sure if Matt had emailed any pictures to you yet, but I have attached the most recent ones we have. I know he was saying that his Dad would really like the first one. If there is any thing at all that we can help you with, please dont hesitate to ask. I'm from Connecticut, which is only a short drive down to Maryland, and my parents have asked if there is anything at all they can do for you, to please let us know. If its alright with you, I'd like to give my Mom your email address so that she can contact you directly. Matt and all of you are in our thoughts and prayers.


--- On Tue, 6/30/09, claudia wrote:

From: claudia
Subject: Re:
To: "Michael Dowling"
Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 8:05 PM

Hi Mike,

We appreciate hearing from you and want all of you to know that Matt is being well cared for and we believe he is in the best possible place for his recovery and rehab. We are just beginning to understand the heroic effort it took to get him out of Now Zad, onto the hospital in Afghanistan and then to Landstuhl, Germany, and finally here to Bethesda. We were flown to Germany and arrived there last Friday to be with him then we were all flown to Maryland on Sunday. His dad accompanied him on the military flight from Germany to Maryland and his sister and I flew commercial. Although Matt has a long road to recovery we have already witnessed some incredible progress in his healing. He is a strong kid and we know he will fight to get his health back. This is his new mission. He has people praying for him and sending him well wishes from coast to coast and we have been overwhelmed with the love and support sent our way.

I just want you to know that when Matt was home predeployment, he had nothing but great things to say about you and the other 3 guys in your team and had such a high regard for all of you. He loved what he was doing and he loves the Marine Corp.

I'm not sure if you can tell us or not but were there any other casualties from this blast? Information has been slow to come.

We know this has been hard on you guys as well and we are praying for your safety and success in Afghanistan. Please keep in touch. We have family and friends in several states so a friend has set up a website to keep everyone updated on Matt's condition. You can log on to for daily updates.

Take care,

Claudia, Dale & Carolyn

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Dowling"
To: claudia
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 7:30:15 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern

Mr. and Mrs. Lembke,

My name is Mike and I'm Matt's team leader over in Afghanistan. I cant even begin to tell you how sorry I am about what happened to Matt, and I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. Just know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Since he came to the sniper platoon about 9 months ago we've become good friends, but I've known him since his first deployment, when he and I were in Echo company together in Haditha, Iraq, and having him in our team has been an absolute privilege. Matt is one of the strongest guys I know in every way, and if anyone has the will to fight through this, its him. Our team is very close, and having Matt get hurt has been very hard on us all. If there is anything at all that any of us can do for you or your family, please don't hesitate to ask.


Mike Dowling

Bethesda Update, 2nd Day

by claudia

We have heard from so many people through the site and are so touched by how far reaching this news has spread. Matt is in good hands here and we are being well taken care of, too. Dale, Carolyn and I have also talked about how nice it was to reconnect with family and friends in Michigan a couple of weeks ago and how much it helps to know all the people who are concerned for Matt and praying for him. We are taking a little break in the waiting room right now because the nurses needed to run some tests and we should be able to see him again around 4:00. We are seeing little signs of improvement and plan to post a full update later today.

From Carolyn:

They are giving Matt little "sedation vacations" today. About every four hours or so they will continue to take him off sedation (although he's still on some pain meds) for about 10-15 minutes to see what kind of response they can get. Although he's opened his eyes before, today he seemed to really be aware of us, and would try to look at us, follow us, squeeze hands, and use his eyes to communicate. It was uplifting to see him moving around so much after seeing him completely out of it for so long, but heartbreaking at the same time to see him so uncomfortable.

Matt's friend Casey found an article today about Matt and his fellow Marines; His friends are working on getting it into the Tualatin Times on Thur. and the Oregonian on Mon. possibly.

Just want to take a second to say how AMAZING everyone here has been; the doctors have been very caring and great at communicating, the Marines have basically led us from door to door - getting us everything we could possibly need inbetween, and we have met so many people affiliated with different support groups that have really reached out to us. Matt is clearly in very good hands, and in a difficult situation we really couldn't ask for a better group of people.

From Carolyn:

Tomorrow Matt goes in for more surgery, its mostly prevention and cleanup for now. The doctors told us to expect him to go in every 48 hours for a little while. While he's in the O.R. we are going to be meeting with another family; they're son is basically in the same situation as Matt and he is a Marine as well who is actually in the same Company as Matt. I guess he has similar injuries, but about 2 weeks "ahead" of where Matt is. It will be nice to connect with another family going through a similar experience and hopefully inspiring as well.

From Carolyn:

The outpouring of love, good thoughts, and prayers have been absolutely amazing. We have never doubted the support that we've had from our friends, family and loved ones, but to feel everyone's genorosity in this way is incredible. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, because I know that we would not have made it this far without love, support and prayer. When we first got into Germany we were told that Matt's chances were not good and that people with his kind of injuries did not go further than where he was... But since then we've made it farther than most and I believe that he is stronger than the average 'Joe', and Matt continues to amaze and surprise me :)

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