The senior enlisted soldier for Army Intelligence and Security Command died Tuesday in Fairfax County, Virginia, officials from his unit confirmed.
Command Sgt. Maj. Eric M. Schmitz’s cause of death is currently under investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department and Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Officials declined to answer questions posed by Army Times, citing the ongoing investigation. The news was first reported by Task and Purpose.
“CSM Schmitz was a great Soldier. His 28 years of service to our nation will be missed for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Johnston, commanding general of INSCOM, in a prepared statement.
INSCOM, which is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, gathers and synchronizes information across intelligence disciplines for Army commanders and the U.S. intelligence community.
Schmitz first enlisted in 1992. He became INSCOM’s command sergeant major in September 2017.
“Eric was a tireless partner leading INSCOM’s 17,500 Soldiers, Army Civilians and contractors, and we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude,” Johnston added in his statement. “Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers, as well as our units as they work through this difficult time.”
Schmitz also served for the past three years as the president of Operation Enduring Warrior, a nonprofit that provides support to wounded service members.
“Eric cared deeply for the OEW mission and lived it every day,” the nonprofit wrote in a Facebook post. “This is a great loss to our OEW Family and our entire community. In the coming days, we ask for your support and love for his family.”
Schmitz first enlisted as a chemical specialist but reclassified in 1996 as an imagery analyst. He held positions across the Army, including his previous assignment as the G-2 sergeant major for Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal with two campaign stars.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.