Volume 3, Number 27 - October 2, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Local hero injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Prayers and well wishes went out from all corners of the county last weekend as word was received that U.S. Army Captain James "Jamie" Schmidt had been injured while serving his country in Iraq.
Jamie lives in Pinedale with his wife Jessica and their two small children. He works for the Sublette County Sheriff's Department, where his dad, Henry, is second in command.
Jamie and another U.S. soldier were victims of an explosive blast in Tikrit, Iraq, last Thursday night.
"They were in a building," Jamie's mother, Linda, said. "One of the soldiers opened a box, which created the blast."
Quietly and tearfully, she added, "He died."
The U.S. Defense Department confirmed that Jamie's fallen comrade was Robert Lucero, 34, of Casper. According to federal officials, "they were struck by an improvised explosive devise."
The case is under investigation.
Jamie was badly burned in the explosion but is expected to recover.
"Jamie has burns on his face, and his hands, and his legs," Linda said. "He had shrapnel in his legs."
Jamie was flown to Germany for treatment, and was being transferred to Texas Monday.
"This morning he left Germany and he will be at the Fort Sam Houston Hospital (where they have a burn unit)," Linda said. "That's where we are going today."
Linda said the family got to speak very briefly with Jamie after he was injured. She explained that when the blast occurred, he inhaled, burning his mouth and lungs, so he was speaking through a breathing apparatus.
"He's tired, he's extremely upset and he's hurting," Linda said, noting that he had become good friends with Lucero.
Linda acknowledged the wonderful support of the community, with the innumerable calls the family received over the weekend. When asked if there was anything the family needed, she responded, "just prayers."
As Jamie wrote in a letter home just a few months ago: "We are subject to small groups of terrorist-type attacks and hunting down an enemy that can't always be seen. Like the President said, 'The threat and the danger is not over' and our soldiers are fighting valiantly."
Jamie continued: "I hope that what we have done here is remembered as a great gift from the American people. It was certainly bought and paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of the American soldiers. May they take hold of this new freedom and use it for the benefit of all their people."
And may God bless the American soldiers and their comrades.
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