Fallen soldier recalled as being friendly, easy-going

Doug Boock
Sgt. Schuyler Patch, a Galva resident who was killed while serving with U.S. military forces in Aghanistan last week, is being remembered for his friendliness and outgoing nature.

Very easy going and always smiling. A lover of the outdoors. Special.

That’s how some friends and family members are remembering Sgt. Schuyler Patch, who was killed while serving with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan on Feb. 24. Patch, 25, resided in Galva.

“He was very outgoing. He would talk to anybody,” said Julie Morland of Galva, Patch’s aunt. Morland’s sister, Amy Patch, is Patch’s stepmother. 

“He was very lovable and affectionate. Every time I’d see him, he’d give a hug or a kiss on the cheek and ask how I was doing,” Morland said March 3.

Morland also said Patch was “very outdoorsy.”

“He loved fishing and hunting and did a lot of that with his dad,” she said.

Sgt. Patch, assigned to the National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry, based in Kewanee, and another American soldier, Sgt. Scott Stream, 39, of Mattoon, were killed by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Two other coalition members were killed in the accident.

The accident happened while the members were on a joint patrol with Afghan National Security Forces. An Afghan civilian working with the coalition forces also was killed in the incident.

The units were deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and are providing security for embedded training teams, police mentor teams and forward operating bases.

Initial reports said Patch lived in Kewanee. After the Galva News’ press deadline Feb. 25, corrected reports said Patch was a Kewanee native who was living in Galva at the time of his death. He had lived here a year or two, according to unofficial reports, in the first block of Northeast 8th Street.

He is the first person to die in war while residing in Galva since John E. Kellett died while serving in the Viet Nam War.

Sgt. Patch was killed while serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and third deployment overall. He had volunteered to serve his current mission.

“We are all very proud of him for even going over the first time and then volunteering to go over,” Morland said. “It takes a special person to even join the Guard in the first place. To go there and fight as a volunteer, it takes a special person.”

Patch graduated from Wethersfield High School in Kewanee in 2002. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in March 2005 and then transferred to the Illinois Army National Guard in November 2007.

His first deployment was in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January to July 2002, and his second deployment was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June 2006 to May 2007. Patch’s unit arrived in theater in December 2008.

He was posthumously promoted from specialist to the rank of sergeant.

The city of Galva is honoring Sgt. Patch by flying large American flags downtown. The city is also flying at half mast all flags located in the northwestern corner of Veterans Memorial Park. Flags were lowered at sunrise - 6:29 a.m. - today (March 5) in a ceremony. The sunrise lowering was in accordance with a proclamation issued by Governor Pat Quinn. 

When asked about the unprecedented number of flags to be displayed in Galva, Hartman said, “The full pent-up grief of the city (is) on full display. In addition to the display of flags along our major routes, I have ordered flag hardware to be installed along the street where Sgt. Patch lived in Galva to demonstrate the respect that the citizens of Galva have for Sgt. Patch’s service and sacrifice.”

Galva City Administrator David Dyer said the city also plans to honor Sgt. Patch by giving a plaque to family members. A patriotic flower arrangement from the city will be among funeral decorations.  

Funeral services for Sgt. Patch will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, at Wethersfield High School. There will be no visitation, but the school will be open at 9 a.m. to give the community an opportunity to pay their respects. Burial will be in Pleasantview Cemetery.

Among others, Sgt. Patch is survived by his parents, John and Amy Patch of Neponset, a sister, Amber Patch-Troxell and husband Brandon of Kewanee, two brothers, Seth Patch of Neponset and Garrett Patch of Owasso, Okla., and two stepbrothers, Zach and Blake Stevens of Oklahoma.

Memorials can be directed to the Schuyler Patch Memorial Fund in care of Community State Bank, 409 Tenney St., Kewanee, IL 61443.

GateHouse News Service contributed to this story.