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Haslam Honors 3 TN Veterans Killed in Action

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; May 23, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam joined Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Major General Terry “Max” Haston of the Tennessee Military Department to pay tribute to three Tennesseans killed in action, including a soldier previously missing in action for 62 years.

Sergeant Jacob M. Schwallie of Clarksville, was fatally injured by a roadside bomb on May 7, 2012 in the Ghazi Province, Afghanistan. Schwallie graduated from Rossview High School in 2007 and enlisted in the United States Army in 2008.

Private First Class Glenn Shely Schoenmann reportedly died as a Prisoner of War (POW) on December 29, 1950. The Grundy County native was involved in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 28, 1950 when he went missing. The United States Army Soldier was 20-years old when he was killed. Navy veteran Raymond Schoenmann accepted the state’s memorial presentation on behalf of his older brother.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Michael Ward of Oak Ridge was fatally wounded when his patrol was struck by a car bomb on April 6, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Ward was serving with Troop “A”, 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Georgia when he was killed. Joyce Ward accepted the state’s memorial presentation on behalf of her son.

For the first time in the state’s history, Governor Haslam declared May 24, 2013 as Gold Star Family Day. Previously, the state has observed Gold Star Mothers’ Day and Gold Star Wives’ Day, but fathers, siblings and grandparents have also suffered the loss of a service member killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Gold Star Dad and Gold Star Mom Wayne and Brenda Gearheart accepted the first proclamation presentation from Haslam during the Governor’s Memorial Day Ceremony. Their son, United States Marine Lance Corporal Benjamin Gearheart was killed in a training accident at Camp Pendleton, California on August 27, 1997. Gearheart served three years in the Marine Corps to include a deployment to Kuwait. He was 22-years old.

“This occasion is set aside to remember the young men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” Haslam said. “The State of Tennessee also pauses to remember the surviving family members on this Memorial Day weekend as they continue to cope with the loss of their loved one.”

“It is a privilege and honor to recognize these brave heroes who will live on in our memories,” Grinder said. “Gold Star family members are all around us and they need our support because their sacrifices are also a valuable thread in the fabric that ties our state and country together.”

“Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who died serving in the Armed Forces,” Maj. Gen. Haston said. “We honor these men and women today, but we remember their sacrifice every day.”

This year is also the first time the state has presented the “Honor and Remember Flag” to surviving family members. The flag is a combination of memorial symbolism to include a large red section which represents blood spilled by service members in America’s military throughout history. The blue star represents active service in military conflicts from the American Revolution to present day. The white border around the gold star recognizes the purity of sacrifice. The gold star reflects the value of life that was given. The folded flag signifies the final tribute to an individual life that a family sacrificed and gave to the nation. The flame is an eternal reminder of the spirit that has departed this life yet burns on in the memory of all who knew and loved the fallen hero.

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Korean War Soldier’s Remains Returned to TN After 62 Years

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; January 4, 2012:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder solemnly announce the body of Private First Class Glenn Schoenmann will finally be laid to rest after 62 years.

Schoenmann was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in the United States Army when he was involved in the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on November 28, 1950. The Grundy County native reportedly died as a Prisoner of War on December 29, 1950. Family members say Schoenmann’s remains were recovered in 2004, but the identification process was finalized in December, 2012.

Schoenmann was born in Palmer, Tennessee, but grew up in Tracy City where he attended James Shook School and worked on the Werner Farm with his family. Schoenmann was 20-years old when he was killed.

“The Schoenmann family has waited 62 years to give Glenn a proper burial, and we join them in remembering his service and sacrifice,” Haslam said. “As a state we mourn the loss of PFC Schoenmann, but we are grateful for his return to his home and family.”

“PFC Schoenmann’s courage and bravery to serve his country will be recognized and remembered by his fellow Tennesseans,” Grinder said. “The closure for the Schoenmann family is continued proof we should never give up until all of our missing in action and prisoner of war service members have been brought home.”

The body of PFC Schoenmann will arrive at the Nashville International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, January 10, 2013. Visitation will be Friday, January 11 from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (CST) at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer. Visitation will resume at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday January 12 at Grundy County High School in Coalmont. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. at Grundy County High School with the burial to follow at the Brown’s Chapel Cemetery in Palmer. In case of inclement weather, all services will be held at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer.

Schoenmann is survived by his sister Edna Kilgore of Monteagle, Tennessee, brothers Ernest Schoenmann of Creave Coure, Illinois, Raymond Schoenmann of Tracy City, Tennessee and Carl Schoenmann of Winchester, Tennessee.

“It just means a lot that he will be buried in the same cemetery with our mother, father and grandparents,” Raymond Schoenmann said. “It’s finally uniting the family back together.”

 

PFC Glenn Schoenmann killed in 1950