Last updated: August 24. 2013 9:17PM - 277 Views

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MILILANI, Hawaii — Jon Michael “Mike” Schoolcraft III loved tattoos, his widow said Tuesday.In fact, he loved them so much, she said, he’s probably up in heaven right now getting “ink done.”“When I go to heaven, I am sure he’ll be fully tattooed,” Amber Van Weort Schoolcraft said of her late husband. “He also loved spearfishing and going to the beach. … He loved his family.”As Schoolcraft makes painful preparations to travel to Ohio in the next few days to bury her husband, she reflected Tuesday afternoon on his life and their marriage and courtship, which started near their Hawaii home in October 2005.Schoolcraft, 21, lost her 26-year-old husband this past weekend after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb, causing it to explode, near Taji, Iraq.She said her husband’s colleagues and fellow soldiers observed his death Tuesday with a special military service in Iraq, and at 1 p.m. today, there will be a military service in Hawaii, which she plans to attend.After that, she said, her husband’s body will return to Ohio for a service with his family. She will travel to Ohio around the same time.Funeral arrangements for those services are pending through Bayliff & Son Funeral Home in Cridersville.“I hadn’t realized how many lives he touched until all those soldiers he worked with over there wrote me,” she said. “I am really proud of him. He’s a hero. He saved the rest of the guys with him. … But it still hurts and I wish it wasn’t us. I wish he was home with me.”Schoolcraft said her husband, a 2001 graduate of Wapakoneta High School, was promoted to sergeant after his death.Because she and her husband made so many plans before his death, she said she isn’t exactly sure what she will do now. She will, however, move back to upstate New York, to Plattsburgh.“We were going to move to the mainland and have our lives together, without the military keeping us apart all the time,” Schoolcraft said, explaining that her husband wanted to be a state trooper or U.S. deputy marshal. “Half of our relationship was spent on the phone.”Although they began dating in November 2005, Schoolcraft said they were engaged by December of that year.They married Nov. 17.What makes it most painful for the widow is that her husband wanted out of the military, so he could start a family.“He was ready to get out,” she said. “He’d been there [to Iraq] once before. He didn’t want to go again.”However, she said, he would never skip out on his duty to his country.“I wish I wouldn’t have let him go,” Amber Schoolcraft said. “I was happy with him. I don’t think I could’ve stopped him. He wanted to do his job.”


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