Warren AFB building to carry dead sergeant's name

Aug 11, 2013 McClatchy Newspapers

CHEYENNE -- Building 336 was Tech. Sgt. Matthew Schwartz's home away from home for several years.

It was in this facility at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base where he honed his skills as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, rose to the position as a team leader and shared laughs with his fellow airmen.

Schwartz was killed Jan. 5, 2012, in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.

But he still has a presence in the 1909-built building where the base's 13 EOD technicians store their equipment, train and work.

Friday, leaders at the base formally dedicated it as the "TSgt Matthew Schwartz Explosive Ordnance Facility."

Senior Airman Adam Hickman, who worked with Schwartz for three years, said he and his fellow teammates still talk and think about their old friend.

"I remember Matt every day of my life," he said. "We want people to know what he did and that he gave the ultimate sacrifice, so it's a big thing to keep his memory alive and remember who he was."

More than 100 airmen, including EOD staff from bases across the country, attended Friday's ceremony, along with Schwartz's family, including his wife Jenny and their three daughters.

Col. Christopher Coffelt, the former commander of the 90th Missile Wing, said the dedication is a way to honor Schwartz's sacrifice, as well as his life.

"That is why we are here today: to remember and honor," he said.

"But more so, it is to inspire all my fellow airmen and fellow EOD warriors and others that strive to be the kind of person, the kind or airman, the kind of leader, the kind of friend, the kind of father, the kind of husband, the kind of son and the kind of man that Tech. Sgt. Matthew Schwartz was."

Schwartz, a native of Traverse City, Mich., had served 12 years in the Air Force.

He moved to Cheyenne in 2006, when he was transferred to F.E. Warren after a stint at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

He served through six deployments that included several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. During his career, he received the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star for valor.

Coffelt said Schwartz was a "different kind of airmen" who was quickly identified to be a non-commissioned officer and a leader.

"He was good at just about everything he did," he said.

Hickman agreed that Schwartz excelled at his job.

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