News: Friends, family remember fallen EOD technician
Story by Lance Cpl. Jerrick J. Griffin
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- More than 200 family members, friends and fellow Marines gathered at the base chapel here to honor the life and service of a fallen explosive ordnance disposal technician, Jan. 24.
Gunnery Sgt. Justin E. Schmalstieg, a 28-year-old Pittsburgh native, made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Helmand province, Afghanistan, with 1st EOD Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was killed in action, Dec. 15, 2010, during combat operations in support of Regional Command (Southwest).
Schmalstieg, also known as “Smalls,” was remembered by his fellow Marines for his superior leadership skills.
“He was an outstanding leader,” said Capt. James Shelstad, company commander of 1st EOD Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st MLG. “He knew what to do and how to handle situations appropriately.”
Schmalstieg went to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, and graduated in May 2001. After graduating from military occupation specialty school, he received the bulk fuel specialist MOS. In August 2001, he reported for duty with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.
A few years later, Schmalstieg lateral moved into the EOD community. He received orders to 1st EOD Company in September 2008. In September 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan as an EOD team leader with 4th Platoon, 1st EOD Company.
Schmalsteig was posthumously promoted to his current rank and is survived by his wife, mother, father and younger brother.
“We have lost a very good Marine and friend,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Dubbs, commanding officer of 7th ESB, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “Gunny Schmalstieg, you will be missed.”