30 Aug 2006:
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 833-06
August 30, 2006
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Matthew E. Schneider, 23, of Gorham, N.H., died on Aug. 28, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, from a non-combat related cause. Schneider was assigned to the 141st Signal Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Wiesbaden, Germany.
The incident is under investigation.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
'Great kid' dies in Iraq of apparent heart attack
By DAVID HENCH, Staff Writer
Copyright © 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
Andrew Schneider's last conversation with his son came just five hours before Spc. Matthew E. Schneider was found dead in his bunk in Iraq, the victim of an apparent heart attack.
The 23-year-old soldier called his father in Kittery to wish him a happy birthday, and to thank him again for his support through the years.
"He was a great kid, the son that every mother and father would want to have - super-respectful and very appreciative of everything that had been done for him," Andrew Schneider said Wednesday.
"He knew where he was going and how he was going to get there," he said of his son, who had re-enlisted in the Army to train as a systems administrator.
Schneider, who grew up in Gorham, N.H., died Monday in Ramadi, Iraq. He was a member of Alpha Company, 141st Signal Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
His death is tragic and perplexing. Military officials say he died of an apparent heart attack, but Andrew Schneider said his son was in top shape and steered clear of drugs.
"I spoke to him about five hours before he died and he complained of nothing," Andrew Schneider said. "This was a kid cranking out 100 pushups and he was proud of the miles he could run."
The 6-foot, 175-pound soldier passed his physical training tests with ease and was given a clean bill of health when he entered the Army two years ago. Lately he had been working days and would go to the gym afterward. He would have typically done so after speaking with his father Monday.
His friends found him unresponsive in his bunk at 9 p.m. and he was rushed to a medical facility but could not be saved.
The military is planning an autopsy and investigation into the death, which has delayed funeral arrangements, his father said.
Matthew Schneider lived for most of his life in Gorham, N.H., graduating from Gorham High School in 2001. His mother is in Vermont, his sister in Virginia.
Schneider was passionate about computers, and before reporting for duty in the Army, worked at his father's Internet company in Salt Lake City.
"He was at a turning point in his life - 'What should I do" Where am I going to go"' - one of those young men who had trouble figuring out what he wanted to do after high school," his father said. The Army was an ideal fit.
"He was super happy with his education and super happy to serve in the armed forces," his father said. "He loved the Army and he had an absolute conviction the people of Iraq appreciated the coalition being there," his father said. "He was frustrated at times the U.S. didn't report the good things happening in Iraq."
Matthew Schneider told his father that running a communications station was the best job in the Army, with military guards keeping the station secure. The worst part was the exposure to snipers during guard duty and distinguishing between friend and foe while on patrol, his father said.
Life in a war zone was anxious enough that when Matthew Schneider visited his father for a week on Badger's Island in Kittery this summer, he wanted to do nothing.
"He said, 'I don't have to worry about somebody shooting at me. I don't have to worry about if the enemy is out there. I'm safe.'"
Andrew Schneider said he has spoken to Gov. John Baldacci twice since his son's death, and the governor is helping arrange a burial in Arlington National Cemetery, though it could be up to three weeks.
Baldacci and the state's congressional delegation expressed condolences about Schneider's death.
Staff Writer David Hench can be reached at 791-6327 or at:
Gorham soldier dies
Schneider recalled as a computer whiz
By Joelle Farrell Monitor staff
August 31. 2006 8:00AM
A Gorham soldier who was born with a heart condition died in Iraq on Monday, apparently from a heart attack. Spc. Matthew E. Schneider, 23, was found lying on his bunk in Ar Ramadi at about 9 p.m. Iraq time, said his father, Andrew Schneider. He was unresponsive and could not be revived.
The Army is investigating the cause of Schneider's death, but his parents say initial lab tests reveal Schneider had a heart attack. Army officials would not confirm the cause of Schneider's death yesterday.
Schneider was born with a heart defect called idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, said his mother, Cynthia Tardiff. The condition causes heart muscle fibers to grow abnormally, which can thicken the heart muscle and limit its pumping ability.
Schneider was not expected to live through his infant years, Tardiff said. But when Schneider was 2, his symptoms seemed to disappear and tests on his heart, like electrocardiograms, came back normal, she said.
Last Sunday, Tardiff received an e-mail from her son, who had been in Iraq for six months with the 141st Signal Battalion of the of the 1st Armored Division, a unit based in Wiesbaden, Germany. Schneider, who loved running and working out at the gym, told her that he was going to stop running for a little while. He had been caught in a sandstorm while he was running a few days earlier, he told her, and he was having trouble breathing.
About six hours before he died, Schneider called his father after finishing a run, Tardiff said. In a message Schneider left on his father's answering machine early Monday morning, he said he was going to take a shower and wished his father a happy birthday. "I love you, and I miss you," he said in the message. "I think about you all the time."
Andrew Schneider said his son had been cleared for military service and had not shown symptoms of heart trouble since he was 6 months old. He said he didn't want to speculate whether the condition caused his son's death.
Schneider, who attended Gorham Middle/High School, was a technology guru, which suited him well for his work in the 141st Signal Battalion, a support unit that manages communication, including electronic and telephone communication.
As a teenager, Schneider knew enough about computers to play pranks on his classmates; they'd find their disc drives opening and closing when they hadn't touched any buttons, their computers flicking on and off, said Jackie Corrigan, who taught business and technology classes at Gorham Middle/High School.
"He had a bit of a mischievous side," said Corrigan, who retired in January. "He was devilish in that way, but never destructive."
Schneider's love of computers started early, and during his four years of high school, he took every class Corrigan offered. He helped teachers and other students with their computers, and Corrigan sometimes sent him to help local businesses that were having computer problems, said Andrew Schneider.
"He was just tremendous," said William Kaczenski, assistant principal at Gorham High.
During his senior year, Schneider was one of two students who earned college credit in a computer technology course Corrigan introduced. After he graduated in 2001, Schneider attended New Hampshire Community Technical College in Nashua on a scholarship, his father said.
But Schneider didn't feel focused; he said he hadn't found his purpose, Tardiff said. Schneider decided to join the military in October of 2004.
In the Army, Schneider shed unwanted extra pounds he'd had since high school, his father said. He felt fit and proud to be in the Army. He was energized to map out his future, and he planed to re-enlist and become an information technology specialist, Andrew Schneider said.
Schneider was not involved in combat in Iraq; he helped provide frontline soldiers with communication support. In his spare time, Schneider set up a wireless network that linked 80 of his fellow soldiers with high-speed internet access, Andrew Schneider said.
Schneider told his mother that soldiers "feel bad" that Americans at home think the war in Iraq is "a waste of time and people." Schneider said it made him feel good to help the Iraqis, Tardiff said.
In May, Tardiff heard footsteps in the garage of her home in Lunenburg, Vt. When she stood to see who was coming, she saw her son in his uniform; he'd come home on leave and wanted to surprise her.
"He was so self-confident," she said. "He was a man."
She added, "He treated me so nicely on that visit. I'm glad I had that."
Schneider is survived by an older sister, Sarah Gray, 27, of Fairfax, Va., and three stepbrothers: David Guenette, 38, of San Francisco, Matthew Guenette, 34, of Madison, Wis., and Martin Guenette, 30, of Providence, R.I.
Schneider will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but the service had not been scheduled as of last night.
25 Aug 2006
We Have access to 220v and 110v. Currently we are living in Tents we have porter johns and running whater for showers if it lasts. The generator dies everyday about 2 to 3 times per day so it gets very hot. On the average day it is about 110-125. It would be very nice if we could get some snacks. We miss the most basic of snacks, like wheatthins, chex mix, beef jerky. Animal Crackers,Candy is also nice but no chocolate because it is a big ball of goo when it gets here. I really miss Sour Patch Kids and Gummy worms,and any computer magazines, video game magazine. But anything you could spare we would appreciate. You would be supporting a squad of solders and we aprreciate you. We look forward to the mail everyday and carepackages would be nice. We currenly have a laundry service that has a 3 day turnaround, and we have no access to microwaves but you can put the food on the hummvee in tin foil to get the same effect. Thankyou for your kindness..