Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J. A. Schultz

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J. A. Schultz, 19, of Safety Harbor, Fla.

LCpl. Schultz was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 21, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Fallen Marine remembered at Sheriff's Youth Ranches

SAFETY HARBOR - The Bay Area is honoring a Pinellas County Marine killed in combat.
The flag is flying at half-staff at the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches in Safety Harbor. Lance Cpl. Schultz graduated there less than a year ago.

"Nate was one of those kids that wasn't afraid of going against the grain, even at the sake of being unpopular," program director Scott Halbach said. "It was interesting, he wasn't unpopular."

Halbach worked directly with Schultz and helped him achieve his goal, becoming a U.S. Marine. Schultz enlisted in June 2009, shortly after leaving the youth ranch.

At the age of 16, Nate Schultz signed up at the youth ranch, looking to change his life. At the time, he had been making bad decisions and hanging out with the wrong crowd, according to the ranch.

"This was one of those things where we provide structure and he just thrived in the structure," Halbach said.

SAFETY HARBOR — Lance Corp. Nathaniel J.A. Schultz stopped by the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch here just before his June deployment to Afghanistan.

A short time before leaving for Afghanistan in June, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J. A. Schultz stopped by the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch in Safety Harbor with his mother to thank the staff for all it had done for him.

It would be the last time staff members, whose focus is to help young people stay on the right path, would see him.

Nate Schultz died Saturday as a result of a hostile incident while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the Marine Corps said Monday in a statement from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"It's been a hard time here," said Scott Halbach, program director at the youth ranch. "It seems like it was a few weeks ago that he dropped by to express his gratitude to the youth ranch before going to Afghanistan. We got to say goodbye. He was great kid and this is a tragic loss."

Schultz joined the Marine Corps in June 2009. He was an assistant gunner assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward.

Schultz was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in June and was promoted to lance corporal Aug. 1.

His awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

"He was goal-oriented and focused," Halbach said. "Whether that goal was obtaining his driver's license, graduating from high school or going to the Marines, he would do what he could to make sure he reached that goal."

Schultz graduated from Countryside High School in 2009 and worked part time at Sweetbay Supermarket on McMullen-Booth Road.

Schultz came to the youth ranch in August 2007 and left in June 2009, shortly before joining the Marines.

Halbach would not discuss the circumstances under which Schultz came to the youth ranch because of the program's privacy rules. He also would not discuss Schultz's family situation, saying only he was from the Tampa Bay area.

But a 2008 profile of Schultz in a youth ranch magazine said "before coming to the ranch, Nate was hanging out with the wrong crowd and making some poor choices."

"The two best things about the youth ranch," Schultz said in that profile, "it keeps people on the right track and there is always plenty of food."

Schultz went on the say "everybody here helps you … they know who you are and can see what you can become. They help you make better decisions about how to act which has helped me a lot."

Halbach pointed to the youth ranch's mission statement to "prevent delinquency and develop strong, lawful, resilient, and productive citizens who will make a positive contribution to our communities for years to come."

"He totally took advantage of our mission," Halbach said. "Ultimately, it's an opportunity to get life going in a positive direction with the structure we provide.

"I had become very attached to him – even my own kids (ages 10 and 12) looked up to him," Halbach said. "It's been a difficult weekend on our campus. It was a real loss."

Nate Schultz was mature, goal oriented and driven. As a student at Countryside High in Clearwater, he earned "A"s and "B"s and graduated in 2009. At the ranch, where he attended from 2007 to 2009, he worked to stay in shape and attended physical training twice a week. He also worked as a bag boy at a Sweetbay in Safety Harbor.

"He knew what he wanted and he would do whatever he needed to obtain that goal," Halbach said. "He was a high achiever."

"He was very grateful of the opportunity provided to him in his life," Halbach said. "He was proud of his freedom."

"Nate, he thrived."

Lance Cpl. Schultz is survived by his mother Lisa Nakin, three sisters Deanna, 24; Charlotte, 27 and Grace, 21; as well as his many friends and family at the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch where he resided for the past 2 years before entering the Marines.

Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J. A. Schultz was killed in action on 8/21/10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nate was survived by his father Duane Schultz and two sisters Shahna Maggard (Schultz) and Stephanie Schultz.