A Tribute to Joseph W. Schultz, HΔ `97
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Posted by: Teri Forsythe
Please read the following tribute to my Pledge Brother Joseph W. Schultz, HΔ `97. He was killed May 29, 2011 leading a Special Forces group in Northern Afghanistan. I will miss him.
Thank You Joe
By Andrew Pridgen, HΔ `97
My friend Joseph W. Schultz was a complicated man and like most complicated individuals, tough to figure out. Friend to many, but one who befriended with walls and only time and trust removed them. Violation of the latter would result in a rebuild and augmentation.
He laughed with determination, his mouth wide and his eyes closed to the point of squeezing out tears. His cackle would last an inappropriately long time.
He cared deeply for his mother and his grandmother, they raised him; his uncle, cousins and his best friend growing up, Jim, were his sanctuary and his home.
A few years after joining the military he added about a half-dozen others to that small inner circle.
The night before his wedding one year ago last weekend, they sat up in his hotel room till 4 a.m. telling war stories. These weren't accounts fit for a grainy miniseries or a self-serious novella, rather, anecdotes, quips and mostly off-color humor at expense of the guy next to you. Joe thrived with this kind of friendship. Come at him sharp and true with strong wit and a big handshake or don't bother coming at all.
Though those closest to him numbered few, Joe had a Network. High school friends, college friends, military friends and, after more than a half-decade in politics, first in California's state capital then the nation's, a large professional circle.
What some called DC Burnout happened during 2000. He made haste for a break in Israel, returning to his mother's home in Port Angeles, Washington from the Middle East shortly after 9/11 and vowing to work his ass off to become a Marine. He was rejected (bad shoulder). So he trained some more, this time for the Army. Joe never disclosed the number of days he visited the local recruiter before the guy capitulated, but considering the dotted line signed and the friendship to ensue, Joe's persistence and personality won out.
Joe could've done his four years with the military and returned to politics and, in fact, the question he fielded most from the Network during truncated visits back to DC, SF or his native Sacramento was when would he return to civilian life.
His answer would always be some version of "Never." Pithy words from the articulate man in specs and tight-cropped hair who could discuss the world politic over a languid lunch and then hop in his signature red Toyota truck and swing at golf balls over a six pack readying for the evening.
Joe was a good, if not purposeful communicator. I received one call from him after he spent a particularly long stint training in the field. He'd been jumping out of airplanes and marching untold miles while being starved to death and frostbitten. He was at a mall near his home debating whether to get a burrito or a hamburger or nothing at all. "I see all these people around me and they don't seem real. They just have no idea," he said.
He then got up and left.
I guess that's what I'll take from Joe. He knew what "It" was. He had the idea. His work ethic as effortless as it was tireless and he used all of his talent — which was measurable — to get there. He never wasted a breath on a cause he didn't deem worthy and because of this, I value the moment I spent with him immeasurably ...Not because he's gone, but because I always have.
Joe had a way of letting you know his time was precious, without saying anything.
Capt. Joseph W. Schultz was killed May 29, 2011 leading a Special Forces group in Northern Afghanistan. His memorial service will be Saturday, June 11 in Port Angeles, Washington.
An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Capt. Joseph W. Schultz, of Port Angeles, Ill., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Tuesday, May 31, 2011. According to the Department of Defense, Schultz, died during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez) AP