VASSAR, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a 31-year-old soldier originally from Michigan who was deployed once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan has died of a heart condition at Fort Benning, Ga.
Hanlin Funeral Home says Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Schlereth of Opelika, Ala., died Nov. 27 at the base.
Schlereth was born in Saginaw and previously lived in Vassar, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit. He was a 1999 graduate of Vassar High School.
He spent most of his military career at Fort Campbell, Ky., and more recently was stationed at Fort Benning as a reconnaissance instructor.
His wife Margaret tells Mlive.com that soldiers he deployed with "looked up to him," some calling him "Papa Bear."
Schlereth had received two bronze stars, among other honors. Survivors include his wife and son Caleb.