JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas –
The 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron organized a 2 1/2 mile memorial log carry for fallen Airman Lt. Col. William Schroeder at the Special Warfare Training Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex, April 8.
Opening remarks by Lt. Col. Luke Bates, 350th SWTS commander, set the tone for the march, noting that the only life lost that day was Schroeder’s in sacrifice for his fellow service members.
“The reason nobody has heard of the mass shooting at Building 147 five years ago is that it was prevented by Bill Schroeder,” Bates said.
On April 8, 2016, Maj. William “Bill” Schroeder, serving as the 342nd Training Squadron commander as a special operations weather officer, was killed on JBSA-Medina Annex in what was a murder-suicide. An Airman facing a disciplinary hearing arrived at the office and began shooting. Schroeder’s reaction is credited with saving the life of his first sergeant and potentially many others.
A memorial log created for Schroeder, along with three, 600-pound workout worms, were carried along a path that navigated through areas of the former 342nd Training Squadron. Service members swapped places to carry the log along the entire path.
Afterward, members present assembled around the SWTW flagpole and the Circle of Honor in preparation for a memorial push-up ceremony, which is a tradition amongst the special warfare community to honor fallen members.
“It is interesting today that we are flanked by two members from our formation who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Col. Mason Dula, SWTW commander. "We can keep their memories alive by telling stories … reflecting on tragedy, reflecting on our loss, reflecting on our teammates, smiling and speaking about what made them human, just like the men and women to your left and right.
“If it hasn’t dawned on you by the nature of our business, we’re going to tell stories about someone standing around this circle someday," Dula added. "The things that our nation asks of us say that we will and we should practice those stories now. This was a great event and it’s easy to be proud of this wing on mornings like this.
“This last one is for Lt. Col. William Schroeder…hoo-yah… down up, and… Lt. Col. William Schroeder!!!"
“That is why we do this; why we do what we do,” said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Popovic, SWTW command chief. “As we knock out these memorial pushups, I ask that you remember the children of the fallen. April is the Month of the Military Child, and we also remember Schroeder’s boys.”
Schroeder was the last commander of the 10th Combat Weather Squadron, which was deactivated at Hurlburt Field, Florida, when he relinquished command. As a long-serving member of the Special Tactics community, Schroeder was one of the early advocates of the evolution of the Special Operations Weather community into the Special Reconnaissance career field which the SWTW is establishing at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina.
Schroeder is survived by his wife Abby and their sons.