Elkhart Lake, WI, USA
United States Navy
Seaman Apprentice, USS MONTEREY (CG-61), Norfolk, VA
01/28/2004, Norfolk, VA, USA
From the first moment I held my son in my arms, I knew that God had given us someone very special. The velvety softness of newborn baby hair against my cheek, the tiny, perfect facial features that resembled three generations of “George’s” before him, and the promise of dreams yet to be fulfilled brought indescribable joy to this new mother.
George Christopher Schultz was the fourth George Schultz in successive generations… and although he lived only 20 years, 7 months, and 22 days, he left a wonderful legacy.
From a young age, George was filled with an enormous amount of compassion, especially toward other kids who were bullied because of disabilities, the kids that were considered “nerdy” or too smart to be cool. He never cared what people thought of him. He treated everyone with friendship and respect. George could sense when someone was hurting on the inside and would often just sit beside them quietly and be ready to give them one of his wonderful, big bear hugs!
After graduating from high school, George wanted to do something important with his life, something honorable that would make us proud of him. He considered college and technical school, but eventually decided to follow his dad’s footsteps and join the Navy.
George was in the Navy for 1 year, and he said his time in service was the best time of his life. He would tell us about his training and the new things he was learning, about his shipmates and friends. He was excited to be assigned to his first ship, and to him every job was serious business. He was especially proud when he received his certification as helmsman.
He served proudly and was well liked aboard the guided missile cruiser USS MONTEREY (homeport Norfolk, Virginia). She and her crew were preparing for deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He was a young man of strong character. He had a tremendous sense of duty, sense of courage, sense of honor, and a fun-loving adventurous spirit. He was a man of few words but of great listening. There were great things underneath the quiet surface. He was young, very enthusiastic and ambitious. His work ethic and loyalty and friendship to his shipmates garnered respect from everyone with whom he worked. He wanted to do the very best he could at all times.
Although his boundless imagination had taken him on many childhood adventures, his Navy adventure would be brief. On the evening of January 26, 2004, as he was leaving the ship to get some dinner on base, and as he was walking along the pier, there was an accident. He received severe burns over 80% of his body and was rushed to the local hospital’s burn unit. George died 48 hours later, on January 28, 2004. He was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 68, Site 4948. In a moment of tragedy he was gone but the influence of his life on his family and shipmates will carry on, and he will never be forgotten.
Our son loved to laugh, he loved God, he loved his family, and he loved serving in the Navy. We only wish we could have seen where his career would have taken him. We wish for the wife and children he never had. But most of all, we are grateful that God is taking care of him for us until we’re together again.
Thank you, Michael, for the beautiful portrait of our son and for letting us share some memories of him with the Fallen Heroes Project and with you today.
CDR (Ret.) & Mrs. George W. Schultz, US Navy Proud parents of Seaman Apprentice George C. Schultz, US Navy