Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fallen Marine's mother airs grief

At the Sheriff’s Operations Center in Ybor City, Liza Natkin talks Thursday about her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Schultz, who was killed in Afghanistan. “There’s babies like my son over there that shouldn’t have to come home in a box like him.”

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

At the Sheriff’s Operations Center in Ybor City, Liza Natkin talks Thursday about her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Schultz, who was killed in Afghanistan. “There’s babies like my son over there that shouldn’t have to come home in a box like him.”

TAMPA — Liza Natkin wants people to know about the boy in the pictures: her son at the Keys, in his senior portrait, holding a rifle, flexing his muscles in the mirror, playing electric guitar.

Natkin, who is from Dover, called a press conference Thursday at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Operations Center to share memories of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J.A. Schultz.

Lance Cpl. Schultz died Saturday during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to the Marine Corps. He was 19.

"Nate was very bright," Natkin said. "He was very funny. He had a sense of humor that didn't quit, and he was always active, always doing something."

He had made an about-face after being a disrespectful, sarcastic teen who made poor choices that had landed him at the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch in Safety Harbor, where "he became a man," his mother said.

At 17, he told his mother he wanted to join the Air Force, and Natkin told him to think about it. After more time at the ranch, he insisted he wanted to join the Marines. Natkin signed off.

"Fortunately or unfortunately for him, he was my only son, my baby, and he got what he wanted," she said.

Lance Cpl. Schultz graduated from Clearwater's Countryside High School in 2009 and worked part time at Sweetbay Supermarket on McMullen-Booth Road before joining the Marine Corps in June 2009.

He was an assistant gunner assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward.

Lance Cpl. Schultz was deployed to Afghanistan in June and promoted to lance corporal Aug. 1. A gung-ho, do-everything kind of kid, Schultz was into demolition and disassembling bombs, Natkin said.

"He never talked about how dangerous it was," she said. "All his letters and all his phone calls were like he was on vacation."

Natkin recently received a letter from her son saying he was giving children in Afghanistan candy while teaching them English. One stole his water bottle, he wrote. When he ran out of candy, he gave them some of his caffeine gum — all he had left to give.

A reporter at the Thursday press conference asked why she was choosing to share her memories with the public.

"Because there's babies over there," Natkin said. "There's babies like my son over there that shouldn't have to come home in a box like him."

Times staff writer Demorris A. Lee contributed to this report. Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

Fallen Marine's mother airs grief 08/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 7:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies: Tampa man killed after car strikes tree

    Accidents

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY — A 24-year-old man was killed early Sunday after he lost control of his car, causing it to hit a pine tree.

  2. O.J. Simpson had a 'conflict-free life'? Not really, not in Florida

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — When O.J. Simpson told a Nevada parole board last week that he's led a "conflict-free life," he seemed to overlook a few episodes that had him cycling in and out of courtrooms and jail cells for nearly 20 years before the Las Vegas hotel-room heist that sent him to prison in 2008.

    Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.  Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.  [The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP]
  3. Baby Charlie protesters to rally as hospital reports threats

    World

    LONDON — Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats.

    Reverend Patrick Mahoney from Washington DC, centre, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, as he joins other Charlie Gard supporters, Sunday July 23, 2017. Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment gathered for a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. [Associated Press]