© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Plaque honors St. Louis native who made ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan

Three years ago this week, a roadside bomb killed Lt. Roslyn Schulte.

The St. Louis native was the first female graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy to be killed in combat. Now, a new memorial honors her life and death - a plaque under the flagpole at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur.

Schulte was traveling from a refugee camp to Bagram Air Force Base when the bomb hit on May 20, 2009. She was one of 461 American soldiers killed in action that year.

"Today honors all veterans, not just Roz," said her father Robert. "She's representative of many people who have sacrificed."

Though Col. David Astin was Lt. Schulte's commanding officer in Afghanistan, he says she was very much in charge.

"Roz was the source of energy to which everyone gravitated," he said. "The refugees were truly people without hope, but the presence of Roz seemed to give them hope. She had that kind of impact on people."

Col. Astin says Lt. Schulte's memory consecrates the ground better than any plaque could. And Mark Shook, the rabbi for Lt. Schulte's family at Temple Israel, tied Monday's ceremony back to the Jewish festival of Shavout, where the history of the Jewish people is recalled.

"Each and every time we have an opportunity to remember Roz and her comrades, we take that opportunity," he said. "We bring children together to hear the story, to remind ourselves of courage and devotion, loyalty and honor."

Lt. Schulte is survived by her mother and father, and her brother Todd. She was 25 when she was killed.

Hear Matt Sepic's remembrance of Lt. Schulte, which originally aired on All Things Considered on June 15, 2009.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.