JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas— The 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron organized a two and a half-mile memorial log carry for fallen Airman, Lt. Col. William Schroeder, at the Special Warfare Training Wing located on Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex Apr. 8, 2021.
Opening remarks given by SWTS commander, Lt. Col. Luke Bates, set the tone for the march by commenting that the only life lost that day was his (Schroeder’s) in sacrifice to his fellow service members.
“The reason nobody has heard of the mass shooting at building 147 five years ago is because it was prevented by Bill Schroeder” said Bates.
On April 8, 2016, Maj. William “Bill” Schroeder, serving as the 342nd Training Squadron commander and who was a special operations weather officer, was killed on JBSA-Medina Annex in what became a murder-suicide. An Airman facing a disciplinary hearing arrived at the office and began shooting. Schroeder’s reaction is credited with saving the life of his First Sergeant, and potentially many others.
A memorial log created for Schroeder along with three 600-pound each workout worms, were carried on a path that navigated through past areas of the former 342 Training Squadron Schroeder commanded. Service members swapped places to carry the log along the two and a half-mile path.
After the log was carried the entire path, all members present assembled around the SWTW flagpole and the Circle of Honor in preparation for a memorial push-up ceremony. A tradition amongst the special warfare community to honor fallen members.
“Interesting today that we are flanked by two members from our formation who gave the ultimate sacrifice. We can keep their memories alive by telling stories … reflecting on tragedy, reflecting on our loss, reflecting on our teammates, and smiling. Speaking about what made them human just like the men and women to your left and right,” said Col. Mason Dula, SWTW commander. “If it hasn’t dawned on you by the nature of our business, we’re going to tell stories about someone standing around this circle someday. The things that our nation asks of us say that we will and we should practice those stories now. This was a great event and it’s easy to be proud of this wing on mornings like this.”
“This last one is for Lt. Col William Schroeder…hoo-yah… down up and… Lt. Col. William Schroeder!!!"
“That is why we do this. Why we do what we do,” said Chief MSgt Todd Popovic, SWTW command chief. “As we knock out these memorial pushups, I ask that you remember the children of the fallen. April is the month of the military child and we also remember Schroeder’s boys.”
Schroeder was the last commander of the 10th Combat Weather Squadron, which was deactivated at Hurlburt Field when he relinquished command. As a long-serving member of the Special Tactics community, Schroeder was one of the early advocates of the evolution of the Special Operations Weather community into the Special Reconnaissance career field the SWTW is busy establishing at Pope Army Airfield. His wife Abby and their sons survive him.