Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 12, 2012

Technical Sergeant Matthew S. Schwartz

AFGHANISTAN — Technical Sergeant Matthew Schwartz was the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Operations for the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. He provided a 24-hour Force Base response capability for U.S. and foreign conventional, nuclear, chemical, biological ordnance and improvised explosive devices (IED) covering a 12,600 square mile area of eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northern Colorado. Technical Sergeant Schwartz also forward deployed worldwide as the leader of a three-person team in support of Department of Defense Overseas Contingency Operations.

His major awards and decorations included: Three Bronze Stars with two oak leaf clusters and one V device (the final bronze star issued for heroism), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Air Force Achievement Medal.

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Scott Schwartz, 34, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and formerly of Traverse City, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and was killed in action Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, near Shirgahzi in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

Matthew was born on April 2, 1977, to Tim Schwartz and Cynthia Bristol in Traverse City. After graduating from Central High School in 1996, Matt answered the call of duty, enlisting in the United States Air Force.

On May 27, 2000, Matthew entered into marriage with the former Jennifer O'Brien at Christ the King Catholic Church in Traverse City. With a strong foundation of faith and love, Matt and Jenny began their family with the arrival of their firstborn daughter, Aliza Grace, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Shortly thereafter they were relocated and stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., where they graciously welcomed two more daughters, Emily Rose and Morgan Marie. Matt was passionate about his family. He enjoyed every moment spent with his wife and daughters. Together they enjoyed spending time on the soccer fields, hiking, camping and traveling back home to Traverse City to visit their extended families and close friends.

Matt had an undeniable love for his family and courageously served his country for them. He was a committed soldier and father and has left lasting memories for his family to cherish forever.

Matt is survived by his loving wife, Jennifer Schwartz, and their three beautiful daughters, Aliza, Emily and Morgan, all of Cheyenne, Wyo.; his father, Tim (Gail) Schwartz; his mother, Cynthia (Gary) Walters; one brother, Luke (Anne) Schwartz; sister, Heather Schwartz; half sister, Ana Walters; stepsisters, Stephanie (Eric) McLean and Julie (Armann) Fenger; paternal grandparents, Dale (Donna) Schwartz; maternal grandparents, John (Patricia) Bristol; brothers-in-law, Jeff (Amy) O'Brien, Matt (Sue) O'Brien and Ken (Therese) O'Brien; sisters-in-law, Cheryll (Dan) Randell and Becky (John) Travis; and many others nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, friends and fellow EOD service family members.

Matt was preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law, James and Yvonne O'Brien; his uncle, Tom Schwartz; and two nieces, Danielle and Allyssia Randell.

Visitation for friends and family will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at Christ The King Catholic Church in Acme. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, also at Christ The King Catholic Church, with celebrants, the Rev. Raymond Cotter and the Rev. Edwin Thome, officiating. Graveside committal services will be held at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens in Traverse City.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Fisher House for the Families of the Fallen, 116 Purple Heart Dr., Dover Air Force Base, DE 19902.

Please share your thoughts with the family at Matt's online guestbook at

The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.

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