PETERSBURG, VA, U.S.A U.S. ARMY SSG, 767TH ORD CO(EOD), 192 ORD BN,52ND ORD GP,20TH SUPPORT CMD(CBRNE),FORT BRAGG, NC 09/01/2012, BATUR VILLAGE, AFGHANISTAN
Jonathan P. Schmidt was born on May 4th 1984 at Baptist Hospital in Miami Florida. Even at a young age Jonathan showed a love for the military choosing to build forts, and regularly play with small army men and G.I. Joes. Overall Jonathan had a passion for adventure with hobbies like camping, fishing, swimming, and of course his love of motorcycles. Jonathan was also incredibly talented in the arts receiving great joy from cooking and baking, as well as a proficiency for multiple instruments like the guitar, saxophone, and drums, eventually playing for the Thomas Dale High School Marching Band of Chester Virginia. Jonathan also chose to further his career in high school by choosing to join the ROTC program there, as well as entering early enlistment for the United States Army. After school Jonathan left for Fort Benning GA to complete Army Boot Camp, followed by Fort Bragg in order to complete language school, becoming fluent in Arabic.
Many of Jon’s friends, and fellow soldiers, that I was able to meet after he had been killed continually explained to me how powerful of a friend he was, as well as a proficient supervisor, and talented as a mentor to them all. Overall Jon was “One Hell of a Leader” as said by one of his fellow soldiers, he was able to teach others while still remaining a friend, while still having the tenacity to make sure everything was accomplished correctly, and as his comrade explains “taught [him] things that [he’ll] never forget”. Jon “was one heck of a guy” constantly referred to as a person that you not only wanted to spend time with, but that you wanted close to you on the battlefield. Jon’s job, and passion, as a service member was to be a protector for not only his friends, but also the innocent civilians that surrounded him overseas, and the family and country he had here at home.
The loss of a loved one no matter how it’s interpreted is always a loss; there are times when we’re happy for those that have joined our heavenly Father, and equally there are times where we find ourselves angry, sad, and lost. This is also the same for when we lost Jon, who is his mother’s only child.
Firstly we’re sad because of what has happened, and because we miss him immensely, but then comforted and filled with joy knowing that he’s safe and looking over us from above with The Lord.
However on our own we’re frustrated, and sometimes we don’t know where to turn, and ask questions like “why him?” “why did this happen before he was supposed to come home?” “Just why?”, and that’s because we’re angered from the situation combined with the depression that builds from a shocking loss like this, something we could have never expected to happen. People tell us that Jon died a hero, and he has been an enormous source of pride and honor for us, but that can never defer from the fact that we would rather have him here with us now.
SSG Schmidt enlisted in the United States Army as a Psychological Operations Specialist. He Graduated Airborne School in January 2004 and was awarded his MOS in November 2004. His first duty assignment was with Bravo Company, 8th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) on Ft. Bragg, NC, from June 2004 thru September 2006. This included a 20 month deployment to Iraq.
In 2006 SSG Schmidt volunteered to become an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Technician. He graduated from EOD School at Eglin Air Force Base, FL in March 2008 and was assigned to the 737th Ordinance Company on Ft. Bragg, NC. He became a certified EOD team leader in May 2009 and led multiple responses as an EOD Team Leader in support of Homeland Defense. SSG Schmidt also led EOD teams on 6 VIP missions and supported a 30-day rotation at the White House.
While assigned to the 767th Ordnance Company, SSG Schmidt played a key role in the company’s support to the 82nd Airborne Divisions Global Response Force (GRF). He assisted in establishing the units load plans, packing lists, and HAZMAT inspections required for the GRF 18- and 96-hour loadouts. This allowed the unit to complete two Joint Operational Access Exercises (JOAXs) and multiple GRF rehearsals, ensuring the 767 was ready to deploy.
In 2011, SSG Schmidt was selected to deploy to Afghanistan in support of 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). His Leadership was critical in the integration of EOD teams with Special Forces Operational Detachments, especially his assistance in developing training for Afghan Commando Units. He led his 3 man team through a 4-month pre-deployment cycle and deployed with ODA 1111 in January 2012. He was instrumental in the 737ths pre-deployment training at GATOR and JRTC.