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Military service a tradition for local family

By Staff | Sep 21, 2009

Two members of a local family are both serving their country in the military. They are Spc. Richard Schmidt II and Pfc. Matthew Schmidt.
Richard just turned 21.
“He signed up with the National Guard as soon as he turned 18,” said mom Sandy Schmidt. “He’s wanted to be an Army man since he was 3 or 4 when he got his first set of toy Army men. He’s always watched every Army movie — combat movie, history of wars — the whole nine yards.”
She said some young men have trouble with basic training, but “Richie” always knew what was expected of him and what he’d learn there.
“He said it was like the best summer camp he ever went to,” mom said.
Richard went to Fort Sill, which is located in Oklahoma. He finished basic training in August 2008 and then went on to Fort Bliss, Texas, and finished there.
“He got home right before Christmas last year,” she said. “Now he is 265th Air Defense and he’s a qualified Ranger. He did Ranger work and now is a 13th Sierra.”
She said she and her husband Richard are very proud of him both of
the boys.
“Ritchie is on a point system, and he had so many points he is now on vacation here in North Fort Myers, but spending time visiting friends and family all over,” she said.
Matthew started his basic training in July of last year. His is a combat engineer with the First Battalion in Fort Stewart, in Georgia.
“He is going to Iraq,” she said. “He will be deployed Dec. 22.” She admits she worries about that but is proud of his choice.
“Especially with the economy the way it is, it will look good on a resume for both of them for the rest of their lives,” she said.
Richie has been back several times, and brother Matthew has been able to be home at the same time occasionally to visit with his brother and the family.
Matthew had applied to several colleges in the 12th grade — he originally wanted to be a movie director. After applying he didn’t hear back from his colleges of choice, and decided to join the Army.
Shortly after enlisting, Sandy said he got an acceptance letter from one of the schools.
“It was hard telling him on the phone he had been accepted,” she said.
Both men have large dogs at home. Richie has an American bulldog that weighs about 150 pounds and Matthew a bull mastiff that weighs 120 pounds.
“What kids don’t think of a lot of the time is their pets,” she said. “They miss them as much as parents do. They go through a depression when they leave, you can tell. Every time someone comes in the driveway they run up to see who it is.”