CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Armed Forces Day is a day the Marines of India Company won’t forget.
Bagpipes playing Amazing Grace began the memorial service held here May 21 for Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt, 21, a Fairfield, Conn., native. May 11 he succumbed to his wounds sustained in a rocket propelled grenade attack January 30 at Observation Post 2 in the city of Al Karmah.
“He did what his peers did not do, he left his home and became a United States Marine,” Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Stephen M. Neary said as he spoke about Schmidt’s character.
The Marines of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment honored their fallen brother and friend as Neary, the Battalion Chaplain, Navy Lt. Robert E Bradshaw, and Marines from his company took a moment to speak on behalf of their fallen brother-in-arms.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Psalm 23:4.
The Marines in formation read aloud Psalm 23 honoring their fallen brother and emphasizing that they will remain strong and continue their operations.
The Kevlar Helmet, dog tags, rifle and boots were placed together in front of the formation as roll call was read and his name was called for the third time with no response.
To his fellow Marines and friends, Schmidt was known as a strong willed and very confident person. He would never give up when he was trying to get something done.
“He had so much fight and confidence in him, he would never quit anything…ever,” Cpl. Luke Wichman, Schmidt’s section leader said.
The passing of Schmidt left an empty hole that will not be replaced within the platoon.
Schmidt wanted to learn as much as he could about the world around him. He was one of the Marines who learned his job well and strived to know others jobs as well.
“He was eager to learn about other jobs of his fellow Marines from anyone who was willing to teach him,” Lance Cpl. Thomas W. Potts, Schmidt’s team leader explained.
“His thirst for knowledge was evident even when he came in tired after patrols,” explained his company commander, Capt. Mark Liston.
The entire battalion will always remember the service and sacrifice Schmidt gave to his country.
“Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt believed that being a Marine was not just a job…he will live on forever as a Marine of 3/8 as long as there is a 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines,” Neary said.