A young soldier who was a former West Hartford resident died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on April 11, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.
The DOD said Spc. Philip C.S. Schiller, 21, died of "wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire."
The Hartford Courant reported that Schiller once lived in West Hartford, Barkhamsted and Winsted before moving to The Colony, Texas, where he graduated from high school. Schiller attended Bugbee Elementary School while he lived in town.
The young soldier had been deployed last month and this was his first deployment, the Department of Defense said.
According to DOD records, "Schiller enlisted in the Army in June 2010 and attended Army Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in November 2010, and was assigned to 1th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 3rd Stryker Brigade deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in December. Spc. Schiller's unit, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, deployed last month to Afghanistan."
The Department of Defense said Schiller's awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
"On behalf of the entire Joint Base Lewis-McChord military and civilian
community, we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends
of Spc. Schiller," said Joe Kubistek, a media relations officer with Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
West Hartford school officials also had words of condolence for Schiller's family:
"On behalf of the entire West Hartford school community, we offer our prayers and condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time," Assistant Superintendent Dr. Eileen Crowley said on Monday. "Although he moved on from West Hartford, I am certain that he holds a special place in the hearts of those who knew him during his time here. We are grateful for his courage and commitment to serve and for the sacrifice that he has made for our country."
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman released the following statement on Schiller's death:
“My thoughts are with Specialist Schiller’s family at this devastating time,” said Governor Malloy. “While Spc. Schiller no longer lived in Connecticut, we remember him as our own and honor his sacrifice and his courage. We lost a hero in battle, and our prayers are with Spc. Schiller’s unit and the other men and women who are overseas in service to this nation. ”
“Spc. Schiller’s life was lived with bravery, with commitment and with honor and every Connecticut citizen should stop to reflect what his sacrifice means to all of us,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “My heart goes out to his family as they deal with this terrible loss of their loved one who died defending the country he loved.”