Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

David A Schaefer Jr

Belleville, Illinois

May 16, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
27 Army Spc

1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade

Schweinfurt, Germany

 Killed in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit.

‘He was born to serve his country’

The Associated Press

David A. Schaefer Jr.’s aunt and uncle, Karen and Danny Schaefer, said their nephew visited them before he enlisted, and his excitement about joining the military was tangible.

“Like all young men, he got himself all ripped up and excited about going into the Army,” Karen Schaefer said. “I answered the door and didn’t recognize him. He said, ‘Aunt Karen, it’s Little Davey!’ and I gave him a big ol’ hug. He did good for himself.”

Schaefer, 27, of Belleville, Ill., died May 16 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. He was assigned to Schweinfurt, Germany.

“He was born to serve his country,” said his wife, Shelly. “He wanted to be a soldier — that’s all he talked about when he was younger — and that’s what he did.”

After getting his GED, he worked as a diesel mechanic.

“There was never a challenge David wouldn’t take on, and he always took the heavy end of the load. He was a soldier’s soldier, and he will be missed,” Maj. Gen. William Enyart said.

He also is survived by three children, Jason Phillips, 13, Logan Schaefer, 7, and Savanna Schaefer, 6.
Spc. David A. Schaefer, Jr., of Belleville, Illinois was the eldest of five children. David attended Freeburg High School, Freeburg, Illinois, but left before graduating. He was respectful to all the staff and other students, and never caused any trouble. He went to work as a diesel mechanic for Beelman Trucking Company. He later worked for a trucking center in Troy, IL. He decided he wanted to join the military and had to make some changes in life first- he obtained his GED, and quit smoking, drinking and cursing. He served with the Illinois National Guard for 1 1/2 years before being called to active duty in the regular Army. He was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany. David was a strong-willed, very determined young man and a loving father and husband. He fought for our freedom with bravery and integrity and was proud to be a U.S. Army soldier. David died May 16 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. David was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Medal of Excellence. He is survived by his wife, Shelly, nee Phillips, Schaefer of Smithton, IL; three children, Jason Phillips, Logan Schaefer, and Savanna Schaefer, at home; his father, David A. Schaefer Sr. of Mascoutah, IL; his mother, Rhonda, nee Ernst, Kemper of Farmington, MO; two sisters, Courtney Schaefer of Lackland Air Force Base, TX, and Theresa Schaefer of Farmington, MO; two brothers, Dwayne (Tiffany) Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, both of Joplin, MO; a niece and a nephew, Tiffany and Jerry Goodwin; his maternal grandparents, Walter "Red" and Viola, nee Bumann, Ernst of Belleville, IL; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Richard and Sherry, nee Lawrence, Phillips of Smithton, IL; a brother-in-law, C. (Rachel) Phillips of Indiana; a sister-in-law, Chrystal Phillips of Smithton, IL; and aunts, uncles, and cousins. David was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Alan and Ada Schaefer; his maternal great-grandparents, William and Violet Bumann; a great-uncle, William Bumann Jr.; and his grandparents-in-law, Aloma Y. Lawrence, Betty J. Sauer, and John Phillips. 

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