Statement as issued Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service:
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — On his return home from Iraq, Specialist Nicholas Scott Hartge intended following his dream by attending West Point Academy. But his future as an officer in the U.S. Army came to a halt on the streets of Adhamiyah in May 2007 when his unit came under heavy attack. The Humvee carrying Specialist Hartge struck a roadside bomb and he was killed in action.
In recognition of his sacrifice, the Rome City, IN Post Office will be designated as the “Specialist Nicholas Scott Hartge Post Office Building” at a brief ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Congressman Marlin Stutzman, who authored the legislation, will join Greater Indiana District Manager Bernice Grant, Fort Wayne Postmaster Dawn Gerardot and Rome City Postmaster Judy Merrifield as they dedicate the Rome City Post Office as the “Specialist Nicholas Scott Hartge Post Office Building.”
Growing up in Rome City, Nicholas Hartge played track, delivered newspapers and worked on cars.
During his junior year of high school, Nicholas decided to serve his country by joining the military. The 5’9” Hoosier chose to serve in the infantry. After boot camp, Hartge left for Germany and then Iraq. Serving in the 3rd Platoon in Charlie Company in the First Infantry Division, Nicholas and his company were deployed to Iraq in August 2006.
Patrolling the streets of Adhamiyah, Hartge’s unit regularly encountered improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and sniper fire. Though he was not the biggest soldier in his unit, Hartge worked hard to earn the respect of his comrades. His commanding officer, Capt. Michael Baka, took note of the young man’s character and aptitude. Seeing Hartge’s potential, Capt. Baka helped him begin the process of applying to West Point. In April 2007, after passing physicals and filing the appropriate forms, Hartge returned home briefly to take the SAT, the last step in his application process.
While the prospect of becoming an officer thrilled Specialist Hartge, he never deviated from his devotion to his fellow soldiers. Upon his return to Iraq, he informed Captain Baka of his intention to delay his West Point aspirations until his unit returned safely home.
Only a few weeks later, on May 14, 2007, Hartge died as a result of a roadside bomb. He was awarded a Commendation Medal for outstanding achievement in the capture of Abu Hassan, a known maker of the type of improvised car bomb that would kill the young American hero.