Sgt. Thomas Zachary Spitzer, USMC, age 23, was killed in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on June 25, 2014 while on patrol.
Thomas was born February 28, 1991 in Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, California to John and Jean Spitzer. A U.S. Navy family, they transferred to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center on Andros Island, Bahamas. Thomas spent his early childhood playing on white sand beaches with his younger brother, Nicholas. ..
When the family transferred to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, in 1995, Thomas attended grade school at St. Francis of Assissi Catholic School. A popular and excellent student, Thomas was active in soccer, baseball and Cub Scouts.
Following his father's discharge from the U.S. Navy, Thomas and the family moved to New Braunfels, TX in 2001. Thomas attended Comal ISD schools and graduated from Canyon High School in 2009. While in middle school, Thomas was active in football, baseball, soccer and band. In high school, Thomas participated in football, baseball and power-lifting. During his high school years, Thomas worked for Rocking R River Rides and Montana Mike's Steakhouse in New Braunfels in the summer and after school.
After high school, Thomas joined the United States Marine Corps with his close friend, John Farias. Thomas attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA from August to November 2009. Upon graduation, he attended the School of Infantry (SOI) at Camp Pendleton, CA. While at SOI, Thomas was trained as an infantryman and achieved a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of Mortarman.
Upon graduation from SOI, Thomas was assigned to the Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based in Twentynine Palms, CA. Thomas was deployed to the Pacific with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Essex. Thomas was deployed to Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan from March to October 2012 with 1/7 Marines. Upon return to the U.S., Thomas reenlisted and joined the Sniper Platoon of 1/7 Marines. Thomas deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in March 2014 where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in April 2014.
Thomas became engaged to Ms. Casey Neef on New Year's Day, 2014 at the ice cream shop where they first started dating in the 8th grade. Thomas and Casey planned to be married on April 18, 2015.
Thomas will be especially remembered for his integrity, courage, reliability and his cheerful smile in the face of adversity. As his former platoon commander wrote to his parents, ".I personally witnessed Thomas do incredible things. The calmness he brought to a fight eased the stress of those around him, enabling them to fight more efficiently. He also always acted with honor. He did the right things for the right reasons."
Survivors include his parents, John and Jean Spitzer, his younger brother, LCpl Nicholas Spitzer, USMC, and his fiancé, Ms. Casey Neef, all of New Braunfels, TX, grandparents DT & Hazel Spitzer of Clifton TX and Lee & Sharon Bellar of AZ and UT. Thomas also had numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins who adored him.
Visitation will be held for relatives, friends, and well-wishers at Zoeller's Funeral Home, 615 Landa St., New Braunfels, TX from 2:00 pm to 7:00pm on Sunday, July 06, 2014. Funeral services will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 181 S. Santa Clara, New Braunfels, TX at 12:00 pm on Monday, July 07, 2014. Thomas will be transported via motorcade to Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX for interment immediately following services.
The family requests memorial contributions be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Semper Fi Fund (SFF), 825 College Blvd, Ste 102, PMB 609, Oceanside, CA, 92057, which is set up to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.
Thanks to the United States Marine Corps, Hays County Sheriff's Office, the staff at the Fisher House, USO, St. Paul Lutheran Church and Zoeller's Funeral Home, local law enforcement agencies, and the many friends and well-wishers for their help and support.
Published by San Antonio Express-News on Jul. 3, 2014.