Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Army Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman, 24, of Port Matilda, Pa.

Sgt. Van Orman was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Feb. 5, 2008 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained in Muqdadiyah when he encountered an improvised explosive device during combat operations. Also killed were Spc. Miguel A. Baez and Sgt. John C. Osmolski.

WASHINGTON - A central Pennsylvania soldier on his second tour in Iraq was among three soldiers who died this week of wounds from an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman, 24, of Port Matilda, Pa., who also served in Afghanistan, was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He is survived by his wife, Cadie, and their daughter.

Van Orman graduated in 2002 from Bald Eagle Area High School, where he played in the band.

"Tim was the kind of student who poured his whole heart into everything," said Scott Sheehan, his former band instructor. "He was an excellent trombone player and participated in jazz band, symphonic band and marching band. He took it very seriously, but at the same time, he knew how to have fun with it." “It was a fun thing for him. He worked hard at it. He was the kind of kid you want in your program.”

Van Orman enlisted in 2003. He served in Afghanistan from August 2003 to May 2004 and in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006. He left in September on his second deployment to Iraq.

Van Orman died Tuesday in Balad, Iraq, of wounds from the blast in Al Muqdadiyah, the Army said.

“He was very dedicated and believed in what he was doing,” his mother, Kelly Van Orman, told the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times on Thursday. “He thought he was making a difference.”

Also surviving her son is his father, Randy Van Orman, two sisters and a brother.

After basic and advanced training at Fort Benning, Ga., Sgt. Van Orman served in Afghanistan from August 2003 to May 2005. He then deployed to Iraq for a year. By the time of his death during his second tour, he had become a decorated fire team leader with the 2nd Battalion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment.

But Karen Morse knew a different Van Orman, a slender, bespectacled “solid student” with sandy brown hair.

“He was sort of the backbone of America type of kid, hard working, smiles, very polite,” said Morse, a school counselor at Bald Eagle Area High School.

Sheehan recalled Van Or-man’s zest for playing in the jazz, concert and marching bands.

“He really had a certain intensity about performing well,” he said.

Early in his senior year, Van Orman rechanneled that fire.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his marching band took part in a patriotic rally at Penn State. Talking with Sheehan about the world, Van Orman declared his wish to join the military and defend his country.

“He was very proud to be going into the service, and it definitely meant a lot to him,” Sheehan said.

Six and a half years later, he fondly remembers the trombone player with the upbeat attitude.

“He was like the epitome of a good citizen,” Sheehan said. “He was really the kind of young adult who you’d want to have contribute in society to make a difference. I’m sure, while he was in the service, he made one.”

His military education includes the Warrior Leader Course and the Air Assault Course.

His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Air Assault Badge.

He is survived by his wife and daughter and his parents, of Port Matilda.

Army Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman was killed in action on 2/5/08.

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