SPENCER, WI, USA U.S. Marine Corps CPL, L CO, 3D BN, 2D MAR, 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC AL JAZEERA, IRAQ 12/26/2006
The news of Corporal Joshua Schmitz’s death left all who knew him shaken.
“I’m kind of in a stunned silence right now,” said Joe Anderson. He was Schmitz’s high school choral director. “As a teacher, it’s kind of hard to see a student, someone you talk to, pass away before you do. It’s always a hard thing to swallow no matter what the circumstances.”
On Dec. 26, 2006, at the age of 21, Josh died from injuries he sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Josh was a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
“That’s two of our citizens killed over there in two years, and that’s hard to take,” said Chris Lindner, football coach at Loyal High School.
Joshua “Josh” Mark Schmitz was born on Jan. 16, 1985, in Marshfield, to Mark and Kelly (nee Gilles) Schmitz. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on Sept. 15, 2003. He graduated from basic training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2003. He was then stationed at Camp Lejeune, N. C., where he served with Lima Company until he began his first tour in Iraq on Feb. 15, 2005.
Joshua Schmitz gave the ultimate sacrifice for the right reasons. I hope we can all benefit from that,” said the Rev. Roman Kaiser of St. Anthony Church in Loyal. Kaiser was Schmitz’s priest for 15 years.
Schmitz had an overwhelming positive attitude and a contagious will to help others, Kaiser said.
“If there was an opportunity to help, he was the first one there,” he said. “(Christian) faith is a matter of not just believing, but it is manifested in actions… That’s what made him great. His faith was alive.”
“I want to make sure people understand that he was very proud of what he was doing,” said Lindner. “He was very happy where he was at and proud to serve his country.” Schmitz was a happy-go-lucky guy who seemed to bounce back and keep working no matter what obstacles came his way, Lindner said.
Kaiser said, “We need to pray for each other and our country a lot. That’s very important for all of us, and I think (Schmitz) would say the same.”
Friends said Schmitz was the one person others couldn’t be mad at, just because of his smile. He was a leader. He let his Christian faith shine through action, and he truly cared for others.
“We all know what a wonderful son he was, a wonderful brother and a great friend,” said Lindner.