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Portraits in Courage: Lt. Col. William Schroeder

Portraits in Courage: Lt. Col. William Schroeder

Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder, a special operations weather officer and the 342nd Training Squadron Commander at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland at the time of his death, was chosen for his heroism in service to others as a 2017 Portraits in Courage Honoree. Schroeder placed himself between the armed individual and the squadron first sergeant, and his selfless actions saved the lives of fellow Airmen. (Courtesy Photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, RANDOLPH – Texas --

Honorees for this year’s “Portraits in Courage” program were recently released.

“Portraits in Courage” is a 10-year tradition that pays tribute to Airmen who have demonstrated courage in combat, their community and while overcoming adversity.

One of the honorees from Air Education and Training Command is the late Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schroeder.

Schroeder, who was a special operations weather officer and the 342nd Training Squadron Commander at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland at the time of his death, was chosen for his heroism in service to others.  He was fatally wounded during a struggle with a gunman April 9, 2016. Schroeder placed himself between the armed individual and the squadron first sergeant, and his selfless actions saved the lives of fellow Airmen.  Schroeder was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, with full military honors.  He was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, which is given to those who distinguish themselves by heroic acts outside of combat.  His wife, Abby, and their sons represented Schroeder during a Pentagon concert at the Air Force Memorial hosted by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. 

“From the first moment my wife and I met the Schroeders, we knew there was something very special about them; they were as dedicated to their people as they were to each other and it was impossible to not feel that sincerity,” said Col. Thomas Sherman, former commander of the 342nd Training Squadron.  “Bill, himself, was genuine as an officer and as a man…he loved his family, inspired those that had the pleasure of being around him, and truly cared about building the next generation of Airmen.  Who Bill is will reside in our hearts forever.”

Portraits in Courage is an Air Force chief of staff program and each year honorees from across the Air Force are selected to represent all Airmen who have faced situations like these Airmen every day across the globe.  In addition to the luncheon, honorees were spotlighted during a reception and a Heritage to Horizons Concert at the Air Force memorial in Washington, D.C.

In the 10 years since its inception, more than 167 Airmen have been honored through Portraits in Courage. The 2017 program honors 21 stories showcasing 49 courageous military and civilian Airmen.

All of this year’s Portraits in Courage stories are featured on the 70th Air Force Birthday portraits in courage page at http://static.dma.mil/usaf/70/.  Profiles from previous volumes are featured on the Air Force Portraits in Courage website: http://static.dma.mil/usaf/courage/