State denies Marine recognition because of how he died
Marine Lance Cpl. Darrell Schumann, a 25-year-old
from Hampton, fought bloody door-to-door battles for three months in Fallujah in late 2004. A few weeks later, he boarded a helicopter for the first leg of his trip home.
The helicopter, carrying Schumann and 30 comrades, flew into
a sandstorm and crashed in the Iraqi desert, killing everyone on board. It remains the greatest single loss of U.S. troops in the Iraq war.
President Bush praised Schumann by name for his valor. But his name will not be found on the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
State officials have deemed that only the names of service members killed in hostile combat in the Middle East will be added to the stone-and-glass walls, which bear the names
of 11,600 Virginians killed since World War II.
Recent veterans who died under other circumstances, such as aircraft accidents, are excluded.
The policy has changed since the memorial was erected, and the names of many service members who were killed in accidents are found on the wall.
Rick Schumann, Darrell's father, wants the policy changed again.
The memorial will soon undergo an $8 million expansion, funded mostly by taxpayers.
"We want them to do it right," Schumann said.
The state relies on the Defense Department's classification of deaths: killed in action, hostile casualty or nonhostile casualty. To be included on the Virginia memorial, a service member must fall into one of the first two categories.
According to a Virginian-Pilot review of Department of Defense records, at least two dozen service members with Virginia roots died in accidents (Read more...)
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