San Diego, California: In the early morning hours of March 15 Riley Schultz, a 19-year-old Marine from Longmont, Colorado was found at his guard post in Camp Pendleton, San Diego with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Less than 30 minutes later he was pronounced dead.
With an ongoing investigation into Schultz’s death, the Marine Corps would not release any additional information regarding the incident. It did say, however, there will be a memorial for the fallen marine April 3 at Camp Pendleton.
Schultz, then 17, joined the Marine Corps in 2017, just before graduating from Roosevelt High School in Johnstown. With both of his grandfathers serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, Schultz had long dreamed of becoming a Marine. Even as a 3-year-old his grandmother, Kathleen Schultz, remembers him practicing his army crawl with his dad and playing with toy tanks and trucks.
“He just loved the whole idea of being a Marine,” his mom, Misty Schultz-McCoy, said. “That was his only plan for after high school. I was worried, but that’s what he wanted to do. He was so dedicated to it. It never occurred to me that he could die before he left for deployment.”
During training, Schultz’s dedication to his craft was clear, earning a medal for his marksmanship, being invited to join the Marine Corps’ competitive shooting team and eventually being promoted to lance corporal in the Marine Expeditionary Force at just 19.
“He absolutely loved it,” Kathleen Schultz said. “When he was here just after Christmas, that is all he could talk about. He wanted to serve his country and help people. He was really looking forward to being deployed.”