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Army Pvt. 2 Robert L. Frantz

Died June 17, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of San Antonio, Texas; assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Ray Barracks, Germany; killed June 17, in Baghdad, Iraq. He was on guard duty when a local resident threw a grenade over the wall. Frantz died of his injuries.

San Antonio soldier killed in Iraq grenade attack

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — From Operation Iraqi Freedom, a Central Texas soldier told of his nights spent in the charred remains of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces and days spent guarding the Central Bank of Baghdad.

To Robert L. Frantz’s family, it appeared the 19-year-old high school dropout with a 2-year-old daughter and plans to marry had matured quickly since joining the Army and then going overseas for the war in Iraq.

“He wanted his daughter to be proud of him,’’ said his stepfather, Vincent Smith, a Lackland Air Force Base firefighter. “He grew into a man strictly overnight, by joining the Army. He was a little scared, but excited. He knew he was going to do good things.’’

But Frantz died June 17 as a result of a grenade attack the previous night, according to Phil Reidinger, a spokesman for Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Frantz, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, was hit with shrapnel while he was standing guard duty. An unknown assailant threw the grenade over a wall in the Iraqi capital.

For the San Antonio native who joined the Army 10 months ago and his family, “this was supposed to be a happy week’’ on the heels of the Spurs’ NBA championship, said Frantz’s mother, Kim Smith.

Instead, the family spent the day coping with the death of Frantz, an Army private first class.

“We thought the war was over,’’ his mother told the San Antonio Express-News. “I told him, ‘Be careful. Watch your back.’ But I had no thoughts that there would be this.’’

Frantz was about 4 when his father died. His family moved a short time later from Michigan to San Antonio, where he attended elementary and middle school. He attended Marshall High School, then withdrew and earned a General Educational Development diploma.

Later while waiting tables at an International House of Pancakes, Frantz met the woman he would eventually makes plans with to marry, Ana Perez.

His daughter, Shannon, 2, is in the custody of her mother, who lives in San Antonio and has remained close to Frantz’s family.

Frantz also had a 22-year-old sister, Heather Frantz, and a stepsister, stepbrother and a 3-year-old brother, who is too young to understand the tragedy.

“He’s been telling us, ‘Don’t be sad, Robby’s coming home,’ ” Vincent Smith said.

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