Sunday, December 31, 2006

Army Cpl. Jonathan E. Schiller

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Jonathan E. Schiller, 20, of Ottumwa, Iowa

Cpl. Schiller was assigned to the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Dec. 31 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while on a combat patrol. Also killed was Spc. Richard A. Smith.

OTTUMWA, Iowa -- An Ottumwa soldier was laid to rest on Monday.

Cpl. Jonathan Schiller, 20, died on New Year's Eve when a bomb exploded near his Humvee.

Mourners gathered at Ottumwa High School to say goodbye to Schiller. Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention outside Ottumwa High School holding American flags in Schiller's honor.

"We came out to show our respect for the fallen and the families and the communities in which they live," said Ken Dieken of the Patriot Guard Riders.

Several hundred people gathered inside the packed auditorium at 10 a.m.

Schiller was a 2004 graduate of Ottumwa High School. He joined the Army in March 2005.

"Jon was full of life, full of spirit, full of love and full of laughter," said the Rev. Paul Smith.

Schiller was remembered as someone who liked to laugh and loved to serve his country.

Friends said that in high school, Schiller was involved in video production and that he enjoyed playing basketball.

Sgt. Stanley Struthers read notes from Schiller's fellow soldiers.

"This is one from Spc. Bargus: Truth be told, Schiller wondered why were here. … We all asked it at one time. We would debate for hours. My reasons were different from his. We were here to watch each others' backs. We have plans after Army life. No matter how bad the situation became, he always made me laugh," Struthers said.

Second Lt. John Paluska fought in Iraq and was injured. He also attended the services.

"He loved what he did and he loved to make people smile and Jon had that natural charismatic charm about him," he said.

The funeral procession traveled to Monroe where Schiller was buried. More attendees turned out to show their respect.

"The young man was fighting for my country; for my family's freedom," said Laura Frana, who attended the service.

His family said Schiller died doing what he loved: serving his country and fighting for freedom.

"I liked what his Dad said, 'The army made my son into a man,'" Smith said.

Schiller was awarded several awards including the bronze star and Purple Heart.

After the funeral, Schiller was buried in Monroe with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Jonathan E. Schiller was killed in action on 12/31/06.

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