KENNEWICK – A 20-year-old Army National Guardsman from this south-central Washington town died in Iraq after an attack on his patrol near Baghdad.
Spc. Jeremiah Schmunk’s family was notified Friday morning, when National Guard commanders from the Moses Lake unit came to his mother’s home.
Jeremiah’s uncle, John Daly, said Schmunk phoned his mother, Shirley Schmunk, on Thursday morning to let her know he was OK and that he loved her.
He died later that day. He was her only child.
Schmunk was a member of the Moses Lake-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 161 Infantry.
He grew up in the Warden area, about 50 miles north of Kennewick. He wrestled at Warden High School, placing sixth in the state as a senior in 2002.
“He beat the best when he was at his best,” said Rick Bowers, Schmunk’s high schoool wrestling coach. “That was an inspirational moment for all the kids on the team.”
Bowers described Schmunk as “really friendly, sociable and a good friend of my youngest daughter. He would do just about anything for anyone. He’s going to be missed.”
Before his deployment late last year, Schmunk was living in Kennewick and attended Columbia Basin College. He was born in Moses Lake and would have turned 21 next month.
Schmunk was part of the largest deployment of National Guardsmen from the state since World War II, involving about 3,300 soldiers statewide.
His mother lives in Kennewick and works as a bus driver trainer for the Kennewick School District. Schmunk’s father, Wesley, died in 1996.