Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Soldier with local ties killed in Iraq

SPC Peter Schmidt and an Iraqi child. Schmidt died Nov. 13 in Iraq. Courtesy photo.



LAKE COUNTY – A soldier with ties to Humboldt and Lake counties was killed last week in Iraq.

“We lost a hero,” Ginny Craven of Operation Tango Mike said in a statement released Monday on the death of SPC Peter W. Schmidt, 30, of Eureka.

Schmidt, who was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was killed in action Nov. 13 in Mikhisa, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated during dismounted combat operations.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash., and had been deployed since April, according to Craven.

Craven founded Operation Tango Mike, a local group that sends troops overseas care packages. She said Schmidt's cousin, Valerie Donelson of Kelseyville, told her about him, and he became a recipient of the group's care packages.

Schmidt's death has been taken hard by the Operation Tango Mike volunteer family, who are also grieving, as they have lost one of their own, said Craven.

A graduate of Arcata High School, Schmidt is being remembered as a creative, athletic and kind man, who signed up for the military during wartime because he wanted to make a difference, Craven reported.

Schmidt wrote frequent and informative letters, describing daily life, rewards and disappointments in a war zone, Craven reported. He marveled at the Iraqis’ determination and often shared candy and other prized items with Iraqi children.

He enlisted in 2004, knowing the likelihood of being deployed to Iraq, Craven reported. The prospect did not deter him; in fact, he wanted to go to Iraq to contribute and to make a difference in the lives of the Iraqi people.

Another example of Schmidt’s giving nature was his Web page, according to Craven. Schmidt shared photos, giving folks a glimpse of everyday life in a war zone. He expressed his frustrations, but continued giving of himself. Not only did he post pictures of military equipment, but he shared pictures of himself interacting with Iraqis.

“He was indeed making a difference,” said Craven.

Schmidt is survived by his parents, Mike and Marianne Schmidt of San Jose; siblings, Andrew, Amy and Daniel; grandfather, Bill Schmidt and aunt, Diane Sigola, both of Cloverdale; and cousin, Valerie Donelson of Kelseyville.


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