The news of Joshua M. Schmitz”s death was a painful blow to Joe Anderson, his 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.”
Schmitz, 21, of Spencer, Wis., was killed Dec. 26 in Anbar province. A 2003 high school graduate, he was assigned to Camp Lejeune and was on his second tour.
Schmitz played drums in a band that performed at an annual fair in Marshfield and at weddings. He was also a drummer in his high school band and sometimes helped a friend work as a disc jockey.
He also was a linebacker on the high school football team. Schmitz was a happy-go-lucky guy who seemed to bounce back and keep working no matter what obstacles came his way, said Chris Lindner, his former football coach.
Kristie Schmitz said her cousin loved the Marines. “He was just a great person. That pretty much sums it up,” she said. “He really deserved to live a long life. It”s sad he didn”t get to do that.”
He also is survived by his parents, Kelly and Mark.
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.
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.
21, of Spencer, Wis.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Dec. 26 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed was Lance Cpl. William C. Koprince Jr.