Thursday, January 05, 2012

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz, 34, of Traverse City, Mich.

TSgt Schwartz was assigned to 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; died Jan. 5, 2012 in Shir Gazay, Helmand province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell and Airman 1st Class Matthew R. Seidler.

‘A mentor to everybody’

Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz was on his sixth deployment downrange when he was killed, leaving behind three young daughters.

He and his wife, Jenny, were high school sweethearts. They dated throughout school and got married right after he joined the Air Force.

“He joined the Air Force because he loved his country,” Jenny Schwartz said. “He just thought it was the right thing to do. He felt a lot of pride. He wanted to do a job that was meaningful and it definitely made him happy.”

Her husband was charismatic and full of live, she said. Above all, she remembers his smile.

“He just was very loving,” she said.

Matthew’s brother Luke said Matthew would put his airmen before himself, even if it meant placing himself in danger.

“The biggest thing to me, I’ve just heard countless, countless, countless times, was he would sacrifice his own life for his guys,” Luke Schwartz said. “He would take the risk versus having one of his airmen take that risk.”

Matthew Schwartz epitomized what it meant to be an airman, said Tech. Sgt. David Csizmar, who served with Schwartz at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.
“He was a great leader,” Csizmar said. “He was a mentor to everybody, even those who he was lower ranking than.”

Csizmar also recalled one moment that showed just how unflappable Matthew Schwartz was. After an airman jokingly volunteered him to sing the national anthem at an event, Schwartz was called on during formation to sing “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen.

“Without a hitch, Matt just got out of formation, walked up front in front of the entire squadron, snapped to attention, and sang ‘Fat Bottomed Girls,’ and he did a pretty good job,” Csizmar said.

Sgt. Schwartz, who was on his sixth deployment, was an explosive ordnance disposal specialist deployed in October, was due home in March.

He was a 1996 graduate of Traverse City Central High School with 12 years in the Air Force. Those at Traverse City Central were "saddened by his death" and "proud that he was a Trojan," principal Rick Vandermolen said. Sgt Schwartz's name is to be engraved on a bench in a memorial garden at the school.

Brother-in-law, Jeff O'Brien, said Schwartz knew the dangers involved in serving, but accepted them as "just part of the job.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer and three daughters, ages 11, 8, and 6.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew S. Schwartz was killed in action on 01/05/12.

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