Marines Remembered For Dedication,
(January 3, 2011)
|CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (MCN - 12/26/2010) — More than
150 service members bowed their heads in silence and paid
their final respects here, Dec. 26, to two Marines who
dedicated their lives to eliminating the largest threat on
today's battlefield, improvised explosive devices.|
Memorial display of Sgt. Jason T. Smith and Gunnery Sgt. Justin E. Schmalstieg was shown during a memorial service at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Dec. 26,
Sgt. Jason T. Smith, a native of Colorado
Springs, Colo., and Gunnery Sgt. Justin E.
Schmalstieg, a native of Pittsburgh, were killed
in action Nov. 19 and Dec. 15, respectively,
while conducting combat operations in Helmand
Smith, an explosive ordnance disposal
technician, and Schmalsteig, EOD team leader,
were assigned to 1st EOD Company, 1st Marine
Logistics Group (Forward).
“Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when
we need to say goodbye to two of our finest
young Marines,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3
Kelly J. Colton, company commander, 1st EOD
Company, 1st MLG (FWD). “These were two EOD
chose to push themselves to a higher level of technical ability and
skill that most do not. This is dedication to duty and this shows the
great character of the men we remember today.”
Smith enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed recruit
training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in
September 2000. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and 2007.|
Smith served as a motor transportation operator and career
retention specialist before entering the EOD field in June
2008. He reported to Eglin Air Force Base for military
occupational school in February 2009. He then received
orders to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan EOD team
only to report five months later to 1st EOD Company, 7th
Engineer Support Battalion, 1st MLG, in Camp Pendleton,
Calif., as an individual augment for deployment to
Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“There are so many words that could describe Jason, but
‘brother' is how I will always remember him,” said Staff
Sgt. Eric Olson, team leader, 1st EOD, 1st MLG (FWD). “Jason
was an outstanding young EOD technician; he was always
looking for something to learn.”
Schmalstieg enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed
recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
in May 2001. After completion of bulk fuel specialist school
at Fort Lee, Va., in July 2001, Schmalstieg was assigned to
Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 at Marine Corps Air Station
Beaufort, S.C. He deployed to Kuwait from April to June 2003
as an individual augment. In December 2003, Schmalstieg was
assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion in Okinawa,
Japan. While with 9th ESB, he was promoted to the rank of
corporal and accepted into the EOD field.
In September 2004, he reported to Eglin Air Force Base for
EOD school where he was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Upon completion of EOD training, Schmalstieg returned to 9th
ESB as an EOD technician. He later deployed to Iraq in
support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from February to
September 2006. Three months later, Schmalstieg deployed
with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from December 2006
to July 2007.
In September 2008, Schmalstieg was assigned to 1st EOD Company, 7th ESB,
Camp Pendleton, Calif. In February 2009, he deployed in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“Justin was a great friend, an outstanding EOD tech and was the type of
husband to his wife, Ann, that would make any one of us feel inadequate
as a man,” said Staff Sgt. Scott M. Carter, EOD technician. “Justin,
thank you for letting me be a part of your life. I am a more proficient
EOD tech and a better man for having known you.”
The losses of these two great young
Marines pay their final
respects during a memorial service for Sgt.
Jason T. Smith and Gunnery Sgt. Justin E.
Schmalstieg at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan,
Dec. 26, 2010.
men will lay heavy on the hearts of those with 1st EOD Company for many
years to come, said Colton.
“Justin and Jason, thank you for being who you are, thank you for being
heroes,” Colton said. “You will live in our thoughts and prayers and you
will never be forgotten.”
Article and photos by Cpl. Shannon E. McMillan|
1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD)
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