ROCHESTER, NY, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, B CO, DET, 2D AABN, (1STBN, 2DMAR, 24TH MEU, 1ST MARDIV), CAMP LEJEUNE, NC ISKANDERIYAH, IRAQ 10/15/2004
Children growing up in Greece, New York, will know about the legacy of Marine Lance Corporal Brian K. Schramm whenever they visit their local post office. On Saturday August 29, 2009, Congressman Christopher John Lee dedicated the post office to the 22-year old local hero who was killed October 15, 2004, by enemy action in Babil province, Iraq. When they attend Greece Olympia High School, they can compete for a scholarship awarded each year in his name. The school presents the Brian Schramm Service Above Self Memorial Scholarship to a student who demonstrates a solid work ethic, community spirit, and college potential.
English teacher Donna Murano established the scholarship in Schramm’s memory. “I thought this would be a positive way to remember Brian,” Murano said. “This is something that would’ve pleased him. This is exactly who he was. He placed others’ needs before his own.”
“He was the most genuine person you’d ever meet in your entire life,” said friend Jon Zodarecky, who graduated from high school with Brian in 2001 and later enlisted in the Army. Marine Lance Corporal Nathan Clarke, who had been Brian’s friend since kindergarten and spent a summer with him as a high school exchange student in Germany, was granted a highly unusual 10-day leave from deployment in Djibouti to attend the funeral of his best friend. “Nathan still can’t get over Brian being gone,” his father said. “He wondered, ‘Why me, what have I done to deserve this?’ Where he is in Africa is not a hotbed and they’re thinking all the time about their brother Marines in Iraq getting hammered and taking casualties.”
Lance Corporal Schramm was on his second tour in Iraq, assigned to Company B, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He died from shrapnel wounds suffered during a major offensive to quell insurgents in Babil province. He was serving his second tour of duty in the country.
Keith Schramm said his son decided as a youngster that he wanted to become a Marine. “It was a lifelong dream,” he said. “He’s my hero. He knew so clearly what he wanted to do and he did it.” Mr. Schramm had hoped his son’s second tour would not stretch out extensively. “They told him a year,” he said. “We were hoping he’d come home sooner. But not this way.”
Brian’s father and his mother, Maryellen Schramm, worked with two other Gold Star families who had lost sons in the Army, to help create the Army Strong Community Center in Rochester, N.Y. On September 12, 2009, Army Reserve Chief Lieutenant General Jack C. Stultz honored the sacrifices of all three men at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first community-based center of its kind. It is resourced and staffed to deliver military families the information, services and support they would have to drive to a major military base to find.