United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz made his final pass down the highways of St. Louis in a military Hummer in the early afternoon of September 16, 2021. LCpl Schmitz was escorted by dozens of St. Charles, St. Louis, and Missouri Highway Patrol Officers in addition to untold hundreds of Patriot Guard motorcycle riders. Just after 1:30 p.m. CST, Missouri State Troopers began the roughly 30-mile motorcade from Baue Funeral Home, where Schmitz’s service was held, to his final resting place at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Schmitz Returns Home
Schmitz’s remains originally arrived at the Lambert International Airport on Wednesday, September 8, to a hero’s welcome. Many thousands of grateful patriots, friends, and family lined the streets, hands on their hearts and flags in their hands, to show their support for the Schmitz family.
Signs thanking and honoring Schmitz were posted throughout the streets while dozens of first responder vehicles lined the roads, bridges, and overpasses along the motorcade route.
Schmitz, a 20-year-old St. Charles, Missouri native, was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, along with 12 of his fellow U.S. servicemembers. Schmitz had been providing security near a gate that led to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul when an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated himself killing hundreds and injuring many more.
All 13 U.S. troops who perished were awarded the Purple Heart for their sacrifice.
Withdrawal From Afghanistan
LCpl Schmitz and his fellow Marines and were in Afghanistan to support President Biden’s objective to pull out all U.S. military troops from the war-torn country by August 31. President Biden’s decision to withdraw troops in the heat of summer, which, in Afghanistan is the heat of the fighting season, has drawn a lot of criticism from pundits and combat veterans alike. Many believe the U.S. should have waited until the winter season, the time when the Taliban and local Afghans hunker down to survive the brutal Afghan winter.
There has also been significant criticism of the Biden administration regarding the immense amount of U.S. weapons, vehicles, and aircraft that was left in-country.
President Biden has commented that he believes the withdrawal couldn’t have gone more smoothly, yet I doubt families like LCpl Schmitz’s family would agree.
Schmitz was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, California.
According to LCpl Schmitz’s father, Mark Schmitz, LCpl Schmitz’s unit had been stationed in Jordan when they received orders to report to Kabul to support the withdrawal.
Mark Schmitz said to USA Today of his son’s deployment to Afghanistan, “As his parents, of course, we were terrified.” He continued:
“I don’t have words for how upset we are. He was probably one of the coolest, unique individuals I ever met. I’m very honored that I could call him my son.”
Schmitz Will Always Be Remembered
Schmitz was a Class of 2019 graduate of Fort Zumwalt High School in Wentzille, Missouri. Fort Zumwalt High School’s graduating class of 2022 has already decided to honor LCpl Schmitz by selling T-shirts in his honor.
According to an article published by KMOV, a St Louis news outlet, the Fort Zumwalt High School seniors designed the honorary T-shirt, which sports Schmitz’s name and rank on the front. On the back it reads, “Once a bulldog, always a bulldog” followed by the Marine Corps slogan “Semper Fi.” The class decided that 100 percent of the T-shirt proceeds will go towards a military memorial fund to help other servicemembers’ families in the future.
In his short time in the Marine Corps, Schmitz made a significant impact on those around him. His father said to KMOV about Jared’s determination to join the Marines, “This was something he always wanted to do, and I [have] never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be.”
Those Who Gave All on August 26, 2021
The 13 American service members killed in the August 26 bombing were:
Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, USMC | Laredo, TX
Sgt. Nicole Gee, USMC | Roseville, CA
Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, USMC | Salt Lake City, UT
Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, US Army | Knoxville, TN
Cpl. Hunter Lopez, USMC | Indio, CA
Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, USMC | Bondurant, WY
Cpl. Dylan Merola, USMC | Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, USMC | Norco, CA
Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, USMC | Omaha, NE
Sgt. Johanny Rosario, USMC | Lawrence, MA
Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, USMC | Logansport, IN
Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, USMC | Wentzville, MO
Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, US Navy | Berlin Heights, OH
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