Friends on social media have identified Richland native Dietrich Schmieman as one of the Marines who died in a devastating plane crash that killed 16 people Monday in Mississippi.
Schmieman was assigned to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, which identified the six Marines and one Navy corpsman under their command as members of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. They were on their way to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma for pre-deployment training.
Schmieman was a 2009 graduate of Hanford High School.
Michael Carosino first met Schmieman in the third grade. Their families lived in the same neighborhood and the two spent a lot of time at each other’s houses, Carosino said. Carosino described his friend as a “really fun, caring guy.”
“He was friends with everybody,” Carosino said. “He was always ready to go at it, whatever we were doing, just hype everyone up.”
Carosino heard about the plane crash, but didn’t know about Schmieman until mutual friends told him Tuesday. “It’s just really hard to deal with,” he said. “It’s such a random thing. Yesterday was a pretty difficult day.”
The group of friends from the neighborhood has turned to a group chat to help them cope with their grief. “We’ve all kind of been able to share some memories and pictures and stuff, trying to deal with it that way,” Carosino said.
Carosino works in Los Angeles but said a couple of Schmieman’s friends were able to spend the day with the family Tuesday. “They’re great people, and I’ve just been crushed with how they have to deal with this,” he said.
Longtime friend Ashton Davis said he’d known Schmieman for more than a decade. “He was always the person who would turn any situation into a fun one,” Davis said. “We did anything competitive, from video games to pool or pingpong.”
Davis recalled a trip the two took to Europe during which they became stranded in Italy after they lost their train tickets. “He somehow turned a 24-hour period of being stranded in a foreign place to a fun adventure we would never forget,” he said. “We reminisce about our Europe trip at least a couple times a year. I am forever grateful for that trip of a lifetime.”
The Rev. Corey Smith of Richland Lutheran Church was Schmieman’s youth pastor for many years. “He was always extremely respectful, just always kind and polite,” he said. “He had that little twinkle in his eye. He wasn’t a troublemaker by any means, but you could tell that he liked to have fun.”
The family recently began attending a different church, but that didn’t stop Smith from reaching out to the family when he heard the news. “We’ve been trying to provide any help that we can,” he said.
Smith described Schmieman as an “all-American boy” who joined the Marines because he had a desire to serve.
“We’re just shocked and deeply saddened,” he said. “The world lost a good one.”
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