March 11, 2013

SSG Rex L. Schad, 26 was killed in action on March 11, in Jalrez, Wardak Province, while conducting a patrol brief with Afghanistan National Police. He was assigned to Company A. 3rd Battalion; 69th Armor, 1BCT, Fort Stewart, GA, serving as a Squad Leader on his 2nd deployment to Afghanistan.

He was born on January 29, 1987 at Lemoore Naval Air Station, CA, to Rex and Colleen (Whipple) Schad. Rex is survived by his mother, Colleen A. Whipple, Edmond; his father, Rex J. Schad, Shawnee, OK; brother, Max J. (Miranda), Fort Wainwright, AK; paternal grandparents Joanne and Rex Schad, Fort Myers, FL; maternal grandfather, Harold L. Whipple, Edmond; Aunts Marybeth Duchene, Chicago; Kathleen Abdelaal, Edmond; uncles Bradley Schad, Chicago; Brent Duchene, Chicago; Peter (Sheryl) Whipple, Mt. Grove, MO; and fiance, Ana Sabrina Carmona, Atlanta.

Rex lived in Fort Myers with his grandparents in the 1999-2000 time period. He attended Evangelical Christian School and St. Columbkille church where he was a member of the children's choir. A highlight of his stay in Florida was a tour of Europe with the adult choir. After he returned to Oklahoma, he graduated from Edmond High School and enlisted in the Army in 2006. He was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. During his seven years of Army service, SSG Schad has been awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor; two Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign with Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge and Expert Infantryman Badge.

At his Military funeral in Oklahoma, his platoon leader, 1st Lt. David Swanson, who traveled with the body all the way from Afghanistan, said that Rex was the best squad leader in the Battalion and perhaps in the entire Division!

A note written in a card received by Rex's family best describes his character. "He touched my heart and soul with his laughter and kindness. He's the type that could lift anybody up and make them feel positive. I wish things were different, as everybody does but at the same time I'm so proud of him. It's amazing that such a short life could touch so many people for the better. I've never met a person that didn't absolutely adore Rex. He left an impression on so many hearts. He's truly somebody to look up to."

Rex was also a marathon runner. He ran marathons in Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago with his special aunt Marybeth. He convinced some of his Army peers to run also. Sometimes they ran wearing their Army boots and backpacks. Last fall, he ran in an American Cancer Society marathon just four days before he left for Afghanistan.

A Memorial Mass for Rex will be held at St. Columbkille Church on April 18th, Thursday morning at 11:00 AM.

Published in The News-Press on Apr. 16, 2013