« Message From Warlord Six | Main | "Captain Courage" - Royal Marine Captain Jim Bonney - Someone You Should Know »

Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day

Posted By Blackfive • [May 26, 2004]

Memorial Day is like any other day when you're in an Army at War.

On Memorial Day, May 26th, 2003 at approximately 7:00AM, Major Mathew E. Schram was leading a resupply convoy in Western Iraq near the Syrian border. Major Schram was the Support Operations Officer for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (out of Ft. Carson, Colorado). He had responsibility for organizing the logistical arm of the regiment - ensuring that the Cavalrymen never ran out of food, fuel or ammo.

Normally, Major Schram would not only accompany 2 or 3 convoys per week as his responsibilities kept him at the main resupply point. However, due to the problems with attacks on supply convoys (i.e. Jessica Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company ambush), he decided to lead this one. He also decided that there was a side benefit to the ride - he would be able to talk with the field commanders and troops that he supported. Major Schram wanted to make sure that his "customers" were happy. Anyone who knew Mat Schram knew that he was obsessive-compulsive about making sure "his soldiers" were taken care of...that's why he was one of the top logistical officers in the US Army.

Major Schram's convoy consisted of eight vehicles - one 5,000 gallon water tanker, two 3,000 gallon water trucks, one water pump truck, two 5,000 gallon fuel tankers, one truck with MREs and bottled water, and Major Schram's command Humvee (bumper numbers: S&T 323, 344, 350, 237, 210, 204, 219, and HQ12).

The convoy was headed North from Al Asad Airbase - Foward Operating Base (FOB) Webster (grid coordinate KC 640 430) along Route 12 to FOB Jenna (KC 360 748). After delivering supplies at Jenna, the convoy would continue on to Al Qaim - FOB Tiger (GT 146 911) which had the 1/3 Armored Cavalry.

At 7:15AM, vicinity KC 6514 6181, Major Schram's convoy approached a ravine where the bridge crossing the ravine had been destroyed. The convoy had to go down the embankment, into the ravine, and back up the other side to get back onto the highway.

Once the lead vehicle started up the far bank of the ravine, the convoy came under intense fire from Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), machine guns, and small arms fire. It was an ambush. Fifteen Iraqi insurgents had been waiting by the ravine.

An RPG hit the lead tanker vehicle, disabling it in the kill zone. It was a perfect ambush set up. If the insurgents could knock out the first and last vehicles, then the entire convoy would be stuck in the kill zone. Bullets flew from insurgents on both sides of the ravine. The insurgent grenadiers were trying to concentrate fire on the last American vehicle to bottle Major Schram's convoy in the ravine. The attackers would then be able to kill the Americans at will.

Major Schram ordered and his driver, Specialist Chris Van Dyke, had worked out plans in case of an attack - the Major manned the radios and would shoot, the Specialist would drive and work the maps - Specialist Van Dyke accelerated from their position in the convoy into the insurgents' positions. Major Schram sent a message to Headquarters for help and began returning fire out of the Humvee. The Iraqi grenadiers recognized the threat and shifted their fire from the rear truck to Schram's Humvee, HQ-12.

Multiple grenades exploded at the front and rear of HQ-12. Specialist Van Dyke was blown out of the vehicle. Once he stopped rolling on the ground, he got up and ran back to HQ-12. He got back in and drove the Humvee out of the Kill Zone.

When he turned to get orders from Major Schram, Van Dyke realized that his Major had been killed. Even though he wore body armor, two 7.62 rounds a light anti-tank missle had struck the Major gone through his armpit (where there is no body armor coverage) and struck his heart, killing him instantly.  Two 7.62 rounds also struck the Major after he had been killed.

The Iraqi insurgents had fled after they fired their grenades at HQ-12 which was heading for them at full throttle.

Immediately, from a nearby FOB, two Apache helicopter gunships were launched along with a MedEvac helicopter. A Quick Reaction Force from FOB Webster was on the scene in less than ten minutes. Aside from the death of Mathew Schram, the convoy suffered only two wounded. Specialist Van Dyke was wounded in his hand and was able to continue his mission. One other soldier in the lead vehicle suffered a broken femur from the initial grenade attack.

The MedEvac brought Major Schram's body and the injured soldier back to the hospital at FOB Webster. The military conducted a funeral for Major Schram in Iraq. Two hundred soldiers were present. Everyone that knew Mat loved him.

mat_schram_funeral_in_iraq

The military said it would take ten days to get Mat Schram's body to his family in Wisconsin. It took less than a few days. Also, in a few days after the ambush, the Army had rounded up all of the attackers and put them in prison.

I was at my desk at work on Tuesday, June 3rd. The phone rang. I looked at the caller ID to see that it was a call from Ft. Leavenworth. I picked it up.

It was John, a friend of mine and Mat Schram's. We had all served together years ago and had stayed in touch. He told me to sit down. I did. He told me that Mat had been killed in Iraq.

After composing myself, we finished our conversation and I promised to see John's wife, Patti, at the funeral. John had to be at Special Operations Command and couldn't make it.

I shut the door to my office, sat back down at my desk and wept for a long time.

At the funeral, Mat's family displayed his last letters and emails that he sent. All were strong, positive messages (sooo very Schrambo-like). Here's an example of the kinds of things that Mat told his family (from the Green Bay Gazette):

Phil Schram of Hartland said his brother had visited Wisconsin over Christmas. The family knew then war was likely. Mathew Schram had been involved in the first Persian Gulf War and, later, in Somalia.

“He was anxious to get over there and get to work. He loved the military. He loved the structure. He loved serving under George W. (Bush),” Phil Schram said.

The one part that I left out of this post is that Major Schram's convoy was followed by a car with a major weekly magazine reporter in it. Once the action began, the reporter and his driver turned and got the hell out of there. If it wasn't for Mat's charge up into the ambushers, they never would have made it out of there alive.

The weekly magazine never ran a story about my good friend, Mat.

It took a few weeks for me to decide what to do.

I had been reading Stephen Den Beste, Bill Whittle, Frank J.'s IMAO, and Misha for awhile at that point.

I started Blackfive and decided to write about Mat and other Americans like him - people that the media would never tell you about.

It's Mat Schram's blog as much as it is mine.

So, today, on the anniversary of the sacrifice of my friend, please take a moment to pray for the families who have lost their loved ones in our fight against terror. Mat would have liked that.

One last note, there is a way to contribute to help Mat's fellow Officers attend graduate school. Some of Mat's family and friends got together to create:

The Major Mathew Earl Schram ALMC-LEDC/FT Endowed Fellowship

The fellowship, for Florida Institute of Technology's School of Extended Graduate Studies ' (SEGS) Ft. Lee, Va. center, will support U.S. military officers enrolled in the SEGS Logistics Executive Development Course (LEDC)-Florida Tech (FT) cooperative graduate degree program. The program is at the Army Logistics Management College at Fort Lee. Major Mathew Schram graduated from this school in 2001. This is the first fellowship established for a Florida Tech SEGS center.

The endowment will support one or more annual fellowships for military officers. The first fellowship will be awarded for the fall 2004 semester. To make a contribution to the fellowship, call the Florida Tech Office of Development at (321) 674-8962.

Update 08-09-07:  Specialist Chris Van Dyke contacted me on August 9, 2007, and informed me that some of the content was incorrect.  I put this together from Army and other accounts (mostly from the incident report by the 3rd ACR).  Changes will be noted by striking out the original content.  Thanks to Chris for his service and for letting me know more my friend.  The changes were made immediately upon receipt and acknowledgement of Chris's email.


 PermalinkComments (45)TrackBack (37) Subscribe to BlackFive   

Comments

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfadb53ef00d83456a94169e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day :

» Memorial Day from Outside the Beltway
Blackfive: “Memorial Day is like any other day when you’re in an Army at War.”... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 6:22:16 AM

» Why Blackfive Blogs from fredschoeneman.com
Newsweek radicalizes a blogger: "The one part that I left out of this post is that Major Schram's convoy was followed by a car with a Newsweek reporter in it. Once the action began, the reporter and his driver turned... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 6:52:56 AM

» Why Blackfive Blogs from fredschoeneman.com
Newsweek radicalizes a blogger: "The one part that I left out of this post is that Major Schram's convoy was followed by a car with a Newsweek reporter in it. Once the action began, the reporter and his driver turned... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 6:54:52 AM

» HOW TO DO MEMORIAL DAY from Bad Example
I just want to say that NOBODY remembers a fallen soldier like Matty O'Blackfive. Oh, and fuck you, Newsweek.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 7:11:45 AM

» Iraq Death Toll from Outside the Beltway
New York Daily News -- Terrible Tally: 800 U.S. Deaths In Iraq War America is about to pass - or may already have passed -... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 7:22:42 AM

» Iraq Death Toll from Outside the Beltway
New York Daily News -- Terrible Tally: 800 U.S. Deaths In Iraq War America is about to pass - or may already have passed -... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 7:28:42 AM

» On Memorial Day from Wizbang
Via Blackfive:Memorial Day is like any other day when you're in an Army at War.Go read his tribute to his fallen friend Mathew Schram.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 10:25:28 AM

» As We Approach Memorial Day from Technicalities
Blackfive gives us yet another reason to take some time this year and remember those who have given their lives for our country. Major Mathew Schram deserved a place on the cover of Newsweek magazine. It was his heroic efforts [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 10:37:51 AM

» BLACKFIVE: Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day from Right Side Redux
Fantastic story on Black Five.... do not miss it. [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 10:54:54 AM

» Now this is a reason to have a Blog. from The Beagle Express
Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day Memorial Day is like any other day when you're in an Army at War. This is a very terrific testament to those that serve, and a great testament to those that have gone before. I... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 6:06:34 PM

» "Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day" from Mamamontezz's Mental Rumpus Room
Matt has written this far more powerfully than I ever could. If you read no other post on any other blog today, please make sure it is this one. No sacrifice should go unrecognized, no life uncelebrated, no loss unmourned.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2004 9:18:27 AM

» "Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day" from Mamamontezz's Mental Rumpus Room
Matt has written this far more powerfully than I ever could. If you read no other post on any other blog today, please make sure it is this one. No sacrifice should go unrecognized, no life uncelebrated, no loss unmourned.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2004 9:18:38 AM

» Memorial Day from Emigre With Digital Cluebat
BlackFive shows the true meaning of Memorial Day. If you read nothing else, this is the one to read. We should feel gratefull that there are people like Maj.Schram that are willing to put themselves on the front line when... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2004 7:47:01 PM

» From Around the Blogosphere: Some of My Favorite Posts from the Last Week from The Big Picture
A round-up of a few of the blog posts that I found the most interesting. *A moving story of heroism and courage* on the part of our soldiers in Iraq, that saved the life of a Newsweek reporter. Yet Newseek never printed the story about what happene... [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2004 11:51:37 AM

» Memorial Day from IMAO
I wanted to write a long a speech today, but I always feel a bit pompous when I try to... [Read More]

Tracked on May 31, 2004 12:00:45 PM

» Do you only acknowledge Memorial Day from Random Nuclear Strikes
As the unofficial start of summer?  Well, go read this and see if you feel differently afterwards.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 31, 2004 4:04:51 PM

» The Blackfive Interview, Part Two from Jennifer's History and Stuff
Matt has answered your questions! What did you do with Mr. Green's body? What? OMG, I thought you knew…Mr. Green is really Al Franken and he’s been busy lately. Where does "Blackfive" come from? It was one of my callsigns.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 7, 2005 5:10:16 PM

» A Sledgehammer Wielded With Love from Easongate
So the responses here from LaShawn, Chester, and Bill to Jim Geraghty's post have been comprehensive. So far, my job here at EasonGate has been to alert veterans groups to EasonGate and the petition. It is an emotional issue for... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 10, 2005 3:34:57 PM

» A Sledgehammer Wielded With Love from Easongate
So the responses here from LaShawn, Chester, and Bill to Jim Geraghty's post have been comprehensive. So far, my job here at EasonGate has been to alert veterans groups to EasonGate and the petition. It is an emotional issue for... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 10, 2005 3:36:20 PM

» A Sledgehammer Wielded With Love from Easongate
So the responses here from LaShawn, Chester, and Bill to Jim Geraghty's post have been comprehensive. So far, my job here at EasonGate has been to alert veterans groups to EasonGate and the petition. It is an emotional issue for... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 10, 2005 3:37:19 PM

» Newsweek Cowardice from whatsakyer?
Why Matt (BlackFive) hasn't read Newsweek since May 26th, 2003I shut the door to my office, sat back down at my desk and wept for a long time.blockquote> If you only read one whatsakyer post a day (or a lifetime)--let... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 9:17:56 AM

» Newsweek Cowardice from whatsakyer?
Why Matt (BlackFive) hasn't read Newsweek since May 26th, 2003I shut the door to my office, sat back down at my desk and wept for a long time. If you only read one whatsakyer post a day (or a lifetime)--let... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 9:19:37 AM

» Michael Isikoff and Newsweek from fredschoeneman.com
Can fuck off. They don't like the military and they don't like what it's trying to do in Iraq and as far as I'm concerned, they wouldn't know Ernie Pyle if he came up and peed into their birkenstocks. The... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 2:30:28 PM

» Respect for Duty, Honor, & Country from Gribbit's Word
I was redirected from Michelle Malkin's blog to a blog called BlackFive. I was captivated by the reasons why the writer of BlackFive founded his blog. He had a friend who he had served with in the Army, killed in an attack on his convoy delivering su... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 7:51:26 PM

» When you think of Newsweek.... from Media Lies
....think of Major Mathew Schram. Major Schram was killed in an ambush May 26th, 2003 in Iraq. He ordered his driver to turn his Humvee straight into the tee... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 8:53:52 PM

» Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day from Homeland Security Blog Area
Great post from Blackfive via Michell Malkin re another reason not to read NEWSWEEK. A MUST READ!... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 9:11:29 PM

» Greater Love Hath no Man... from Obviously Right
Due honor to Major Schram and the rest of those sacrificing to protect America and spread democracy. Our hearts and prayers are with you. [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 9:52:40 PM

» Thank you, Newsweek from E u p h o r i c R e a l i t y
...for inspiring people like Blackfive to do what you will not. Through your shoddy reporting, people like Matt stepped up to fill the void; and they tell us about the truth; the bravery, the valor, and the heroes that make up the large bulk of our fo... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 1:03:24 PM

» Why One Military Man Doesn't Trust the Media from The Cliffs of Insanity
Is it possible that the valorious deeds of our servicemen and women shame the media? Does reporting upon acts of courage, selflessness, bravery, and heroism make them uncomfortable because it forces one to view his own actions in a different light? [Read More]

Tracked on May 19, 2005 8:08:42 PM

» Why One Military Man Doesn't Trust the Media from The Cliffs of Insanity
Is it possible that the valorious deeds of our servicemen and women shame the media? Does reporting upon acts of courage, selflessness, bravery, and heroism make them uncomfortable because it forces one to view his own actions in a different light? [Read More]

Tracked on May 19, 2005 8:09:04 PM

» Memorial Day Link from Right Hand of God
I'm sure this won't be the only link we post for Memorial Day, but it's a good one to start on. Blackfive, while a common link among bloggers, isn't yet a daily read for me, but it's getting there. I haven't read much on his site, but I'm pointing... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2005 3:46:36 PM

» Mat Schram from CrosSwords
This post is a year old, but deserves a replay. An RPG hit the lead tanker vehicle, disabling it in the kill zone. It was a perfect ambush set up. If the insurgents could knock out the first and last vehicles, then the entire convoy would be stuck in... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2005 7:12:54 PM

» Interview with Matt, Military Blogger Blackfive from Winds of Change.NET
(JP, HOST) The appeal to milblog for me while on deployment to Afghanistan during OEF V, was to breakup the boredom in between missions. I wanted to share stories about my experience with family, friends,... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 27, 2005 11:33:15 PM

» Milbloggers With Attitude from Beltway Blogroll
Bloggers can be a critical bunch. When they don't like what they see or hear in the world around them, they let everyone within click range of their piece of the Web know it. And when they get together at... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 25, 2006 6:28:16 AM

» Milbloggers With Attitude from Beltway Blogroll
Bloggers can be a critical bunch. When they don't like what they see or hear in the world around them, they let everyone within click range of their piece of the Web know it. And when they get together at... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 25, 2006 6:30:56 AM

» They Have Names from Op For
CJ Grisham has just launched a new blog that is bursting with promise. They Have Names On May 29th, two journalists were killed and one severely injured by an IED in Iraq. Every media outlet in the country seemed to... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 20, 2006 9:28:59 PM

» OPSEC & Weblogs from War On Terror News
Operations Security is a briefing the Troops get annually. Most that have been in the Military for more than 2 years can probably quote the salient points before they walk in. The points are rather simple: 1) The enemy can... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 14, 2009 12:23:03 PM