Maynard Conrad Schultz
|HOME OF RECORD:
|NEXT OF KIN:
Wife, Mrs. Maynard C Schultz
|DATE OF BIRTH:
7/1/1936 – 6/16/1944
|DATE OF DEATH:
|Saipan||HQ/1/24||Battalion CO||Lieutenant Colonel||KIA|
Legion of Merit, Purple Heart
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Maynard Shultz was born in Winona, Minnesota in 1913. His family moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where Schultz he showed a great deal of talent both in the classrooms and athletic fields of Corvallis High School. He went on to attend Oregon State College, lettering in football, and graduating with his bachelor’s degree in education with the class of 1936.
While “Heinie” Schultz might have followed a career in the classroom–he briefly taught tactics at Oregon State–it was the military that spoke the loudest. On July 1, 1936, Schultz was appointed an officer candidate in the Marine Corps, and was assigned to the Student Basic School at League Island, Pennsylvania. With instructors like Major Harry Liversedge (a Bronze Medalist in shot put at the 1920 Olympics, later known as “Harry The Horse” of the 28th Marines) and Captain Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, a salty veteran of Nicaragua, Maynard Schultz received a first-class education in the duties of a Marine.
The course was intensive and lengthy; it was March 1937 before Candidate Schultz received an assignment to 1/6th Marines in San Diego. He received his long-awaited commission to Second Lieutenant on May 1, 1937, and as the junior officer wore many hats–platoon leader, PX coordinator, and chemical weapons officer. Finally, he was ready to head overseas to Shanghai as an officer with C/1/6.
His first hitch of China duty was anything but glamorous. Schultz suffered a number of ailments in Shanghai, the worst of which landed him in the battalion sick bay for more than a month. He resumed his duties in January 1938, but his regiment’s tour was up the following month, and Lieutenant Schultz spent the following year in the familiar environs of San Diego. On May 24, 1939 he was officially transferred to Company F, Fourth Marine Regiment–orders that required a second trip to China. The voyage, already lengthy, was made more so by a series of delays, and it was a much relieved Maynard Schultz who finally arrived in Shanghai on August 7. News of his promotion to First Lieutenant had preceded him, and Schultz was assigned as senior officer of Billet Williams, at 551 Ferry Road.
Schultz’s second tour in China ended in the summer of 1941; he packed his trunks and returned to the United States. This time, he did not stop at California but continued all the way to Quantico, Virginia to take command of a company of officer candidates. Some of his students would be among the first junior officers to face the Japanese.
The attack on Pearl Harbor triggered a number of promotions for Marines whose enlistments dated to what was now called the “inter-war” years; Maynard Schultz was notified of his advancement to captain effective December 8, 1941.
Captain Schultz may have wanted to trade his training company for a combat command, but orders kept him at Quantico until the fall of 1943, during which time he was promoted to the rank of major. Then, after a course at the Command and Staff School, Schultz was sent to Camp Pendleton, California, where he reported to a burly, red-headed battalion lieutenant colonel named Aquilla Dyess. “Jimmie” Dyess commanded the First Battalion, 24th Marines; from 20 October, Major Schultz would serve as his executive officer.
Schultz had less than three months to train in his new capacity. On 13 January 1944, the Fourth Marine Division set out for their baptism of fire–the invasion of Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein atoll.
Major Schultz hit the beach on 1 February 1944 as the battalion’s second in command; less than a day later, he was the man in charge. “Big Red” Dyess was dead, killed while leading his men in a final attack against the last Japanese positions on Namur. His duties fell to Schultz, who organized the battalion’s mopping up efforts, tabulation of casualties, and eventual voyage to Camp Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. En route, he reflected on how to prepare his men for the next operation.
Schultz’s efforts did not go unnoticed by his superiors, who rewarded him with a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on 26 March. His subordinates were impressed, too. First Lieutenant Frederic A. Stott, a liaison officer, called Schultz “a fearless bull of a man, yet subtle in his powers of understanding.” First Lieutenant Philip E. Wood, Jr. of Company A wrote glowingly of the new battalion commander. “He was Col. Dyess’ executive officer, and as good a man as Dyess was, ‘The Dutchman’ is much better–the best CO we’ve had yet,” Wood opined. “It’s hard to tell just what goes to make up a good commanding officer–thoughtfulness for his men, sense of humor, intelligence, willingness to work & fight the higher ups for breaks for his Bn–he’s got them all, though.” Schultz’s work in the spring of 1944 would eventually win him a Legion of Merit.
If “Heinie” Schultz worked his men hard, he pushed himself to equal limits. The coming invasion of Saipan would be his first landing as a battalion CO, and preliminary intelligence reports indicated that it would be a far tougher nut to crack than the tiny islet of Namur. Even though his 1/24 would land in a later wave during the attack itself, Schultz and his staff still had to draw up and approve hundreds of pages of plans.
While the landings on June 15 were a bloody hell for the assault battalions, Schultz’s men got ashore in good order. As they moved through the town of Charan Kanoa to take up their positions on the front line, Japanese artillery spotters found their range and began dropping shells on the battalion. The fire continued with uncanny accuracy into the night, then tapered off as Marine batteries fired back. By dawn on D+1, the situation in front of the 24th Marines was more or less stable–stable enough for Colonel Franklin Hart to call for a meeting of his battalion commanders. Schultz, accompanied Captain Gene Mundy (the operations officer) and Lieutenant Stott, dutifully set out for Colonel Hart’s CP, located several hundred yards to the rear. Stott noted that “we were definitely down in the flat with poor observation, while the Japanese retained altitude, observation, and weapons.” And the Japanese were definitely observing.
The C.P. was located in a clump of trees, and nearby artillery plus movement in and out of the C.P. must have indicated a profitable target. For we were soon hugging the ground throughout a bombardment the equal of anything undergone the previous day or night. Cover was scarce, several casualties were suffered, but the conference of battalion commanders continued in a dugout.
Lt. Col. Schultz neglected to take cover and despite the severity of the shelling he remained atop the hole. It was a deadly position as a close round sent a piece of shrapnel into his head, and he died in a matter of seconds. His death stripped the Battalion of its most-needed man, for good battalion commanders are practically indispensable. All three companies were well-led and well-officered, but the coordinating person was now gone.
– Frederic Stott, “Saipan Under Fire”
Communications were so damaged by the Japanese bombardment that it took some time for word of Schultz’s death to reach the front lines. Captain Irving Schechter, the CO of Company A, recalled that “sometime that afternoon I received word that we had once again lost a battalion commander…. He took a piece of shrapnel in his head. It was a small sliver, so it had to hit him in just the right spot to kill him.”
Maynard Schultz was buried in the Fourth Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan. In 1948, his remains were finally interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.