Spc. Matthew Frantz, 23, and three other U.S. soldiers were killed Jan. 20 when an explosive device blew up their Humvee near Al Huwijah, Iraq.
Frantz, a member of Lafayette (Ind.) Christian Reformed Church, was a counter-intelligence specialist in the 101st Airborne Division based in Ft. Campbell, Ky.
Serving in the military came naturally for Frantz. His father, James, served in the U.S. Navy for 13 years, and his brothers are also in the U.S. military.
Hundreds of mourners attended Frantz’s Jan. 30 funeral at Lafayette CRC. The funeral was also targeted by protesters from Topeka, Kan., who have demonstrated at nearly 100 soldiers’ funerals, saying the soldiers were killed as punishment for defending a nation that protects gay and lesbian people.
An Indiana motorcycle group of service veterans shielded the Frantz family and other mourners from the protesters. Though many mourners were angered by the protest, Rev. Douglas Pruim, pastor of Lafayette CRC, noted that soldiers like Frantz are dying so people like the protesters have the right to say what they believe.
“These days have been very difficult,” said Frantz’s mother, Marilyn, “but our loving God has really sustained all of us. We know that Matt is in sweet Jesus’ hands now.”
Frantz is survived by his fiancée, Amalia Cerbin, by his parents, James and Marilyn Frantz, and by his brothers, Christopher and Eric.