Soldier Honored: Richard Schild
Hometown: Tabor, South Dakota
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Sgt. First Class
Army Sergeant First Class Schild, 40, of Tabor, South Dakota, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery, South Dakota Army National Guard, based in Yankton, South Dakota. While on a routine mission on December 4, 2005 in Baghdad, Iraq, Sergeant Richard Schild was killed in the line of duty by flying shrapnel caused by the detonation of two improvised explosive devices underneath the vehicle in which he was travelling. Brooks escorted Rich’s body home, and while their flight was stopped in Washington, D.C., Brooks got his brother’s call sign tattooed on his right shoulder.
Sergeant Richard Schild was the baby of the family, the youngest of ten children. Just older twin brothers, Brooks and Bruce, engaged Rich in a BB gun fight one day when little Rich was about seven and quickly learned just what kind of a soldier he would become. Brooks had a BB gun, Bruce a Daisy air rifle, and they took shots at Rich, never thinking he would retaliate with his new machinegun BB gun. He opened fire and sprayed his big brothers, plastering the shed they took cover behind, not stopping the barrage as they hid behind their father’s stored storm windows. “He was relentless,” said Brooks, who served with Rich in Iraq.
That attitude served Rich well as a platoon sergeant for a group of “gung ho” soldiers with the South Dakota Army National Guard in Iraq. Even though he was the boss, he loved playing practical jokes and having fun with his men. He was best known among his platoon for the motto, “When you hit an obstacle, build a bridge and get over it.” He was persistent and persuasive. Rich tried several times for he and Brooks to get tattoos when they got home, commemorating their tour of duty in Iraq. Somehow, Brooks held him off.
While serving in Iraq, Rich missed his wife, Kay, and their two children, back in Tabor, SD. They kept in touch via Web cam as much as possible. His daughter sent her father a painted cut-out of a monkey named Flat Stanley. Rich reciprocated by sending back home photographs of the monkey in as many funny situations as was allowable in a military camp half way across the world. Kay tells her children stories of their father daily and tries to keep his memory alive through them.