Marshfield News-Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.)

December 30, 2006; Page 1A
Contact: Crystal Wendt



Friends reflect on Marine's death

By Adam Rodewald


LOYAL — The news of Cpl. 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."




Marine infantry organization


According to the Marine Corps Table of Organization and Equipment, the basic organization of Marine Corps infantry units follows the rule of threes, which places three subordinates under a commander, not counting support elements.


A fire team consists of four Marines: three riflemen and a team leader, typically a lance corporal.


A squad is made up of three fire teams, lead by a corporal or sergeant as squad leader.

A rifle platoon consists of three squads, a Navy corpsman, a platoon sergeant and a platoon commander.


A rifle company consists of three rifle platoons, a weapons platoon, and support staff. There is also a headquarters and service company, consisting of a headquarters platoon, a communications platoon, a service platoon, and the battalion aid station. It is lead by a captain.


A battalion consists of three rifle companies, one weapons company, and one headquarters and Service Company, commanded by a lieutenant colonel.


A regiment consists of three battalions, led by a colonel.


A division, commanded by a major general, comprises of three infantry regiments and an artillery regiment.





Battalion has lost 14 men


Fourteen Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, to which Cpl. Joshua Schmitz belonged, have been killed in Iraq since he was deployed.


Staff Sgt. Gordon G. Solomon, 35, Fairborn, Ohio, Aug. 24.

Cpl. David G. Weimortz, 28, Irmo, S.C., Aug. 26.

Lance Cpl. Donald E. Champlin, 28, Natchitoches, La., Aug. 28.

Lance Cpl. Colin J. Wolfe, 18, Manassas, Va., Aug. 30.

Lance Cpl. Cliff K. Golla, 21, Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 1.

Lance Cpl. Philip A. Johnson, 19, Hartford, Conn., Sept. 3.

Pvt. Ryan E. Miller, 21, Gahanna, Ohio, Sept. 3.

Lance Cpl. Rene Martinez, 20, Miami, Fla., Sept. 24.

Lance Cpl. Eric W. Herzberg, 20, Severna Park, Md., Oct. 21.

Sgt. Luke J. Zimmerman, 24, Luxemburg, Wis., Oct. 27.

Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, 20, Owensville, Ind., Nov. 2.

Cpl. Michael C. Ledsome, 24, Austin, Texas, Nov. 25.

Cpl. Joshua M. Schmitz, 21, Loyal, Wis., Dec. 26.

Lance Cpl. William C. Koprince Jr., 24, Lenoir City, Tenn., Dec. 27


A listing by month of all coalition deaths in Iraq can be found online at



Funeral services scheduled


A public funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loyal High School, 514 West Central St., for Marine Cpl. Joshua Schmitz, who was killed in Iraq on Tuesday.


Visitation will be from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. Wednesday in the school gymnasium.


Funeral services for his family and friends will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 207 N. Division St.


Military honors will be given at graveside at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in St. Anthony's Catholic Cemetery.




Schmitz, 21, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Iraq on Tuesday.


"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.


Staff Sgt. Todd D. Olson, 36, of Loyal died Dec. 27, 2004, in a hospital in Tikrit, Iraq, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.


"(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."


A memorial event will be held at Loyal High School and another service will take place at St. Anthony Church after Schmitz's body arrives in Loyal, Kaiser said. Specific times for the services have not been determined.


"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.


"I just know he was a very good kid. It's a loss to our community," Lindner said. "Just as Todd (Olson) was a loss, he's a major loss also."


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."


Adam Rodewald can be reached at 384-3131 ext. 328 or at


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