Eric Lahammer - Graduate

Jun 16, 2011

Eric Lahammer’s passion is people. He loves to study them, understand them and help them.

He followed his passion, and generations of military men in his family, when he enlisted in the Army and trained to be a human intelligence collector and Arabic linguist. “I’ve always been fascinated by people and how they work, so I decided to go into human intelligence,” he said.

He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina when he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Lahammer worked there for about a year before returning to the U.S. as the end of his enlistment approached. Lahammer was placed under a stop-loss status and was deployed to Kuwait. After a month in Kuwait, he crossed into Iraq at the beginning of the war.

After receiving an honorable discharge, Lahammer began pursuing a psychology degree at the University of South Dakota. During his studies, his life with the Army often came up, “Sometimes I could lend some real world experience to some of the things we were discussing,” he said.

The combination of studying psychology and being a veteran himself uniquely prepared Lahammer for his Wounded Warrior Program fellowship as a veterans’ affairs coordinator in the district office of Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. “I’ve studied quite extensively depression and post traumatic stress disorder, which are some of the serious issues that veterans are facing today,” he said at the time. “I have found that my background makes it easier for constituents to relate to me and open up to me.”

After graduating from the fellowship, Lahammer went to work as a mortgage counselor with Citibank.