Firefighters and police officers stood at attention in a military funeral procession yesterday for Marine Cpl. Dustin Schrage. The 20-year old marine assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was found dead May 6 in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq.
Rabbi Zvi Konikov, director of Chabad of the Space Coast, officiated at the full military funeral and told the 400 mourners that Dustin Schrage took the Hebrew name Shmuel for himself when he was named at the Torah in the Chabad Center just prior to his leave for the marines.
The Schrage family are members of Chabad of the Space Coast and close friends of the Konikovs. Dustin’s mother, Nina, had just finished helping with the preparations in the Chabad Center for the Konikov baby’s bris when she received military notification that her son was unaccounted for after a covert operation crossing the Euphrates River in Iraq. The Department of Defense has not released further details.
Schrage headed a platoon of nine men in Iraq and was praised as an excellent leader. Rabbi Konikov told mourners that Schrage, who was physically involved in the building of the Chabad Jewish Community Center in Satellite Beach would be remembered for his laughter, his leadership and his sacrifice.
Chaplain Y. Goldstein was instrumental in securing proper kosher burial preparations as the body was flown into Dover.
The funeral ended with the traditional 21-gun salute and the recital of kaddish by his surviving brothers. Kali Schrage, his sister, a student of Chabad Hebrew School, wrote a moving poem/letter to G-d that was read by a friend of the family.