That same year, he was assigned to guard duty when the mother Horta began a murderous rampage, killing fifty miners. Though nervous, he was hopeful to hear word that the USS Enterprise was en route, unfortunately, he was killed moments later after having relieved Sam.
When the Enterprise arrived two days later, and the crew briefed, Doctor Leonard McCoy requested to examine the body. Chief Vanderberg obliged the request, stating that "We kept it for you," but warned "There isn't much left." Following his examination, McCoy reported that "Schmitter didn't burn to death, not in the usual sense, anyway," explaining that "there are only fragments of bone and teeth left, but the plant's physician agrees with me. A chemical corrosion. Almost as if he'd been thrown into a vat of extremely corrosive acid." (TOS: "The Devil in the Dark")