Thursday, July 05, 2007

Juan M. Garcia Schill dies 'while conducting combat operations'

Lance Cpl. Juan Manuel Garcia-Schill came home to his native Klamath Falls late last year to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with his maternal family.

"He was here for our big family dinner," recalled stepgrandmother Beverly Schill, who is married to his grandfather, Rick Schill. "He was so pleasant to be around.

"He was the kind of kid who liked to laugh," she added. "He was very funny."

But family and friends say he was serious when it came to his heritage. When he chose the Marine Corps, he was following family tradition, Rick Schill said, noting his grandson's great-grandfather and two uncles had served in the Corps. He enlisted in the military to help pay to go to college to become a teacher, according to his family. He had attended college for a term before joining.

"He called us just before he left for Iraq — I think it was in January," Beverly Schill said. "He just said he was going to Iraq and not to worry."

From the Mail Tribune