The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post on Edward R Noll Drive was re-dedicated on this Memorial Day and now bears the name of the SSG Michael Wayne Schafer Memorial VFW Post 10209.
SSG (Staff Sergeant) Schafer’s grandmother, Debbie Forbes, is currently a member of the post’s auxiliary. His grandfather, Ron Forbes was a Marine. His parents, Dan and Karen Barr, received the “Honor and Remember” flag by the organization of the same name and the Florida Run for the Fallen.
VFW District 21 Commander Wayne Tuttle read SSG Schafer’s biography before the presentation of the honors. “SSG Michael Wayne Schafer was born on August 16, 1979, in Illinois. He enlisted in the US Army on January 19, 1999. He attended and graduated Basic Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA, on May 30, 1999, joining the ranks of Airborne Infantry with assigned service in the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. Once completing his first assignment in the 82nd, he was reassigned to Vicenza, Italy, on September 16, 2002. He immediately found his home among the soldiers of Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment. On March 26, 2003, he conducted a combat parachute jump into Iraq. During his year serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, SSG Schafer distinguished himself as a true professional, and as a great leader. In April 2005, he again deployed with his comrades to Afghanistan.”
“While serving his country during Operation Enduring Freedom, SSG Michael Wayne Schafer died from enemy gunfire on a quick-reaction force mission in Oruzgan, Afghanistan. SSG Schafer was shot and killed while clearing a house; he was the first man in the building — leading from the front — when he was hit. ‘He was not a sergeant who just told people what to do,’ said the battalion chaplain, Capt. David Schnarr, choking back tears. ‘He led by example.’”
“SSG Schafer’s awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge with Combat Jump Star.”