US House agrees to name Washington post office for Marine killed in cargo plane crash

Sgt. Dietrich A. Schmieman

By WENDY CULVERWELL | Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) | Published: July 18, 2018

RICHLAND, Wash. (Tribune News Service) — A West Richland post office will be just the third Washington postal facility renamed in recent years to honor a hero under legislation approved in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday.

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, introduced legislation to dedicate the post office in memory of the late Marine Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman of Richland.

Schmieman was one of 16 service members killed July 10, 2017, when their KC-130 cargo plane crashed in Mississippi.

The House approved the measure, supported by Washington’s Congressional delegation, on a voice vote.

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

It’s a rare honor in Washington, with just two post offices dedicated in recent years — one on Bainbridge Island and the other in Eatonville.

If approved, the U.S. Postal Service facility at 4801 W. Van Giesen St. will be renamed the “Sergeant Dietrich Schmieman Post Office.”

Newhouse was moved to honor Schmieman after meeting with his parents, Susan and Eric Schmieman, according to his office.

Schmieman was serving in the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The unit is part of Marine Corps Special Operations Command.

Schmieman was a lifelong Richland resident who attended Columbia Basin College before joining the Marine Corps.

He received 14 awards and decorations during his time in service, including several achievement medals, Good Conduct Medals and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

He completed two overseas deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Thousands lined George Washington Way to pay mournful respects when his remains returned home last summer.

At his request, his ashes were later scattered at Mount Rainier.

Just two other post offices have been rededicated to public servants in Washington in recent years.

In 2010, the Rollingbay Post Office on Bainbridge Island was dedicated to John “Bud” Hawk,a World War II machine gunner who earned the Medal of Honor and four Purple Hearts for his Army service.

In 2014, the Eatonville Post Office was dedicated to National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was shot and killed in the line of duty at Mount Rainier by a driver who got out of his car and fired on her after running through a checkpoint. The suspect later died by suicide.

Pending final approval, there will be a dedication ceremony and plaque placed at the West Richland Post Office in Schmieman’s honor.

Honoring people with post offices is historically a common practice in the nation’s Capitol.

Almost 20 percent of all statutes enacted by during the 108th through 112th Congresses were post office naming acts, according to a 2013 report by Congressional Research Service.

A post office bill must enjoy unanimous support of the state’s congressional delegation before it may be introduced on the floor of the House or Senate.

The honor is typically reserved for people who have died, with the exception of former presidents, politicians, judges and wounded veterans. Living honorees must be age 70 or over.

Newhouse, a second-term incumbent, is running for re-election against Democrat Christine Brown.

©2018 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)
Visit Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) at www.tri-cityherald.com
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The funeral procession for Marine Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman arrives at Einan’s Sunset Memorial Garden on Thursday as crowds of people line up to pay their respects.

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