Funeral services will be Sunday, April 15, for Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, 28, one of four Marines killed when their military helicopter crashed on Tuesday, April 3, during a training exercise near El Centro, in southern California.
Capt. Schultz, of Huntingdon Valley, was a six-year veteran of the Marines and the third generation of the Schultz family to become a pilot. His father, Mitchell, is a licensed civilian pilot, and his grandfather Albert flew with the Army Air Force at the very end of World War II.
"He grew up around airplanes," his father said of Capt. Schultz. "He just decided he wanted to fly. He was a white-knuckle flier when he was a toddler, but he grew to love it."
Capt. Schultz was aware of the danger inherent in flying for the military, but was dedicated to the job, his father said: "He died doing what he loved and serving his country, which he thought was important to do as well."
Born at Abington Hospital, Capt. Schultz graduated from Abington Senior High School in 2008. He enrolled in the Navy ROTC program while at Pennsylvania State University, and on graduating in 2012 chose to join the Marine Corps.
Capt. Schultz was assigned to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing's 465th Squadron out of Miramar Air Station in San Diego. He had served in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, and had also been deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in California.
The Marines were practicing desert landings when their heavy CH-53E Super Stallion crashed about 2:35 p.m. Tuesday in rough terrain 15 miles west of El Centro. The Marine Corps Public Affairs Office said Monday that an investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing.
The others killed were First Lt. Samuel Phillips, 27, of Pinehurst, N.C.; Gunnery Sgt. Richard Holley, 33, of Dayton, Ohio; and Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad, 24, of Baton Rouge, La.
Capt. Schultz's parents, Mitchell and Julie, learned of the tragedy last Tuesday night when a Marine detail appeared at their door.
The remains of all four Marines were flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Funeral director Kevin Bloch said that once Capt. Schultz's body is released by the military, a motorcycle escort of Warriors Watch Riders and the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club will accompany it to the Joseph Levine & Sons Inc. funeral home in Trevose, Bucks County.
Mitchell Schultz said many friends had come forward to honor his son. "There's all kinds of things happening that are taking on a life of their own. It's truly amazing," he said.
His father described Capt. Schultz as very adventurous. He loved to sail, scuba dive, surf, sky dive, and ride a motorcycle. "He loved life," his father said.
Last Jan. 1, he flew in from San Diego to enjoy the Mummers Parade and especially the Mollywoppers, a comic club that prides itself on entertaining the fans rather than the judges, its website says.
"He was down to earth, witty, funny, bright and easygoing, as evidenced by the outpouring of love by everybody," his father said.
In addition to his parents, Capt. Schultz is survived by brother Eric; grandparents Phyllis and Arnold Rosoff; and girlfriend Shea Livingston.
A visitation at 10 a.m. April 15 will be followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service at Joseph Levine & Sons, 4737 E. Street Rd., Trevose. Interment with full military honors is in Shalom Memorial Park in Huntingdon Valley.
At the request of the Schultz family, the funeral home will live stream the funeral starting at 11 a.m. Sunday on the website www.levinefuneral.com/. Viewers should click on "funeral webcam."
Memorial donations may be made to the Travis Manion Foundation via https://www.travismanion.org/. The foundation helps the families of fallen soldiers and encourages the wounded to rebuild their lives.
A ROTC program scholarship in Capt. Schultz's memory has been set at Penn State in the form of a gofundme page. The page can be accessed via https://www.gofundme.com/sam-schultz-scholarship-fund