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State of INFOCOM, February 2010
Sunday, 14 February 2010 16:00
With the passing of my brother Michael, INFOCOM will have the flags outside of the Data Warfare Center lowered to half-mast for the next month. Instead of my regular State of INFOCOM report I wish to say a few words about my brother, Michael Niemeyer.  I hope that everyone can understand this. Rest assured that next month I'll be back to my regularly scheduled report.

27 years ago when Michael entered my life it was one of the happiest moments in my life. I was a big brother and it was my responsibility to look after and teach Michael all that I knew. Granted I was still young myself, but that didn't matter as a big brother I had to look out for my little brother. However two short years later the world seemed to fall apart as he was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

For some time it looked as though the disease would be held at bay or even that he might out grow it. Alas the disease slowly progressed and when he was in high school it forced him to be bed ridden for most of his junior and senior years. But he fought and persevered and made it through those difficult years, even being able to attend his high school graduation. It was during those same years that he decided that he wanted to become a US Marine if he ever got well enough to do so.

However soon after, the years of steroid treatments began to take their toll as his eyesight began to fade. While for many people this would have stopped them, Michael kept on fighting. He learned to live with his new disability.

Then a new diagnosis, Psoriatic Arthritis, a more severe and debilitating form of arthritis. But Michael still fought on. But slowly and surely the disease took its toll on his body. He endured countless surgeries and days of pain, but even throughout it all his mind and intellect where as sharp as ever. He could converse with you on almost any subject; he had a sharp wit as he would always love to get a word in edgewise or take something you said that was totally innocuous and turn it around on you. He could find the humor, light and dark, in almost any situation. He would have made a fine stand-up comic.

He even joined STARFLEET. He didn't care about rank, title, or position. What he liked about STARFLEET was that people would accept him for who he was and they would not care if he had a physical handicap. For a while he participated when he could. He even ended up joining the SFMC, at least that way he could still be a marine. He thought it was cool to be on the chapter and loved it when I presented him with his Honor Challenge coin for winning Unit of the Year for 2009.

Then late last year he took gravely ill. In all the years of fighting, this was the first time where it looked as though he would not make it. While it was indeed touch and go for a while, he pulled through, a little worse for wear, but alive nevertheless. He had fought and won what was up to that point the greatest battle of his life.

Then of February 12, 2010 while undergoing a routine blood transfusion he went into respiratory distress. The doctors were able to stabilize him enough to eventually medivac him to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. On February 13, 2010 surrounded by those that loved and cared for him for so many years, he finally succumbed to pneumonia. To the very end he fought with the tenacity of a US Marine. He would have made any Devil Dog proud.

So it was on that day I not only lost my younger and only brother, but my best friend as well. You see both he and I were military brats. We moved around quite a bit and so making and leaving friends fast was something we both learned to do at an early age. But throughout all the moves big and small, my brother was right there with me. He was my best friend. Sure there were broken bones, bruises, and name calling, but it didn't matter because in the end we were brothers and we loved each other.

I am grateful for the 27 years that I had him in my life. I am a far better person for having had him as my brother for I learned quite a lot from him. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him and the world will be a little smaller place with his passing. For Michael who has passed beyond the mortal veil to that undiscovered country which we all must pass someday all I can say is fair winds and following seas and I have been and always shall be your friend.

--
MGN Sean "Cerberus" Niemeyer, SFMC
COINFOCOM