Gerald Lambert Jr
October 11, 2006
|Security firm worker killed in Iraq
A man who had served in the Gulf War and felt compelled to go to Iraq dies in an explosion outside Tikrit on Wednesday.
By JONATHAN ABEL
Published October 13, 2006
SHADY HILLS - He was 46, and his days as a U.S. Army Ranger were behind him. But Gerald Lambert Jr. missed the action.
In February, the bail bondsman, bounty hunter, and father of five signed up with SOC-SMG, a private security firm that operates in Iraq.
"(He) always wanted to be an ... action hero," said his brother Tom Lambert. "He felt that was his calling."
He was due home in a few months, but on Wednesday morning, a bomb went off.
Lambert was riding in a convoy somewhere outside Tikrit when one of the trucks was hit by an explosion. He ran from his truck to the one that had been hit and pulled two men to safety before he was killed in a second explosion, a statement from his company said.
Family and friends gathered Thursday at the Lamberts' gray stucco house just south of County Line Road with his old black pickup still in the driveway.
His father, Gerald Lambert Sr., nursed a beer as he reminisced about his son.
"I tried talking him out of it," he said. "I told him he had already served his country in the Persian Gulf War. He said, 'No, Pop. It's something I got to do.' "
In February, the 5-foot-7 man with a powerful build, went to Iraq by way of SOC-SMG's headquarters in Nevada.
He was guarding large caches of seized weapons that the military hadn't had time to destroy.
"I do not agree with his decision, but I support him 100 percent," Lambert Sr. said. "I didn't get to tell him that, and that will eat away at me for the rest of my life."
As a boy, Lambert rode bicycles off the roof of his parents' house in South Tampa. Sometimes he would land his bicycle in the pool.
At age 10, he started lifting weights. His mother, Joyce Lambert, said her son always wanted to join the armed forces.
He served five years in the 82nd Airborne, and left to work security for the Department of Energy, guarding plutonium storage facilities in Colorado.
He returned to Pasco County to work as a bounty hunter, bail bondsman and private investigator.
That's how Lisa first met him, 11 years ago to the day he died. She hired him as a private investigator.
"He listened to people," she said. "He gave people breaks even as a bail bondsman if they gave their word."
They had been married eight years.
Gerald Lambert is survived by his children Tony , 25, Aireal , 15, Steven , 20, Paul , 17, and Nichole, 16. Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but he will be buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.
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