ST. LOUIS – Scott Wirtz, a St. Louis native and De Smet graduate, was one of four American’s killed in an ISIS attack in Syria on January 16.
A decorated Navy SEAL, Wirtz was working as an Operations Support Specialist with the Defense Intelligence Agency when he was killed.
Dave, Scott’s father, and Fran Wirtz, Scott’s stepmother, find comfort in reading through old emails Scott sent them while he was away.
They said Scott was adventurous and athletic at a young age. Starting school at All Souls and then moving to St. Richards, Scott tried every sport. He even got into skateboarding and built a half pipe in the backyard.
Scott went to high school at De Smet and joined the football team. After graduation, he worked for about a year on jobs where he was suspended from high buildings washing windows or replacing tiles.
Dave described Scott as an adrenaline junkie, so he wasn’t surprised when Scott told him he was joining the Navy and wanted to become a Navy SEAL.
Fran worried that deployments would change Scott’s big, funny, outgoing personality, but she said it didn’t.
If being a SEAL wasn’t enough action, Scott also took up deep sea diving and spearfishing.
“He would text or email me and say, ‘Can you guys mail my fishing pole to Thailand’ or ‘I need this in Afghanistan,’” said Fran.
In 2005, Scott decided to retire from the SEALs. Within days, other government agencies were contacting him asking him to do contract work.
With more free time, Scott also took up MMA fighting. Dave said Scott got a chance to meet his favorite fighter, Anderson Silva, who ended up being equally impressed with Scott’s time as a SEAL and the two became fast friends.
This December, Scott was home celebrating his birthday and an early Christmas before heading to do some work for the DIA in Syria.
On January 16, Dave and Fran heard about a deadly bombing in Syria. For years, explosions had been going on in areas near Scott so at first they weren’t concerned.
The Wirtzes got a knock at the door at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday and Fran said her first thought was that someone was trying to break in. Dave was initially confused but said once the woman said she was with the DIA he knew that Scott was dead.
The Wirtzes said that the next few days were a blur. Dave and Fran flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where they greeted Scott’s body as it landed back in the states.
Scott was a man who did things to the fullest. Dave and Fran said if Scott had to do life all over again he wouldn’t change a thing.
The Wirtzes do not yet know when Scott’s body will be arriving in St. Louis. No funeral arrangements have been as of yet.