Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jason A. Schumann dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'

If you mentioned Jason Schumann's name around the halls of Hawley High School, they might not know for sure who you were talking about. Everyone there knew him as "Tuba."

"He's the kind of kid you just liked being around," recalled Mike Martin, principal of the school. "He was hardworking, dedicated and good in the classroom. He had a good outlook on life. That's why people liked being around 'Tuba' Schumann."

On Tuesday, the Defense Department announced that Sgt. Jason A. Schumann, 23, died Saturday near Diwaniyah, Iraq, about 80 miles south of Baghdad.

He is the 52nd Minnesota service member to die in Iraq and the 10th this year.

He leaves behind a widow, Laura Schumann, and a son, Joe.

Schumann was a cavalry scout and was killed when a roadside bomb blew up near the vehicle he was in, the military said. He was in the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and was stationed at Fort Polk, La.

Hawley, a town of about 1,900, is 200 miles northwest of St. Paul. Schumann grew up there and enlisted in the Army before he graduated from Hawley High School in 2002.

His principal, Martin - himself a 10-year veteran of the Minnesota Army National Guard - said the enlistment surprised many because they didn't see Schumann as the Army type.

"We didn't see him as an aggressive type at all," he said. "But knowing what we know about him, we know he provided good leadership in the Army."

Music was Schumann's passion; at least that's what he's remembered for at the school. A man of slight frame - public records list him at 5 feet 7 inches and 130 pounds - he lugged around the tuba in the marching band.
"He loved band," Martin said. "When people around school hear the name Jason, they look a little bit puzzled because everyone called him 'Tuba.' "

Martin said one anecdote about Schumann underscores his attitude.

"His senior year, he decided he wanted to be the school mascot," the principal said. "We're the Golden Nuggets. Our logo is a pick ax and a chunk of gold, and it's hard to dress up like that.

"He put together a miner's hat and a foam pick ax," Martin said. "He had a lot of fun with it. He just said, 'Hey, I want to be the mascot.' It just kind of exemplifies the kind of kid he was. He had a zest for life."

He said Schumann hadn't had much opportunity to come back to the school since joining the Army, but a couple of months ago, he sent an e-mail to the school's band director, Keith Wander.
"He sent him a wonderful e-mail. He said, 'I should've said thanks sooner,' " Martin said.

From the Pioneer Press