Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman, 28, of Waynesboro, Pa.

SSgt. Tieman was assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany; died May 18, 10 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing. Also killed were Col. John M. McHugh, Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, and Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson.

Retired Master Sgt. Richard Tieman Jr. of Waynesboro served in casualty assistance, a job through which he visited families with news of a soldier's death. He said he was hardly prepared to receive news Tuesday of his son's death.

Tieman's son, Staff Sgt. Richard James Tieman, 28, was one of five soldiers killed Tuesday in a blast from a suicide car bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to his father. The blast came from a car with 1,700 pounds of explosives, he said.

"I've done casualty assistance work," he said. "When you're on the other side of the fence, it's quite disturbing. Everybody is coping as well as you'd expect under the circumstances."

Tieman was apparently in charge of a convoy as it was passing the embassy when the suicide bomber set off the bomb, according to Bob Harris, director of Franklin County's Veterans Affairs office.

Tieman's dad said the young man was serving with USAREUR headquarters and was responsible for the security of headquarters personnel. He was shuttling them from base to base.

Tieman, a newlywed, was set to return home in two months, and begin training to become a drill sergeant in Fort Jackson, S.C., his dad said. With 10 years in the military, he was planning to do 20 years total and retire, he said.

The last time Tieman and his dad spoke was on Friday. According to his dad: "He talked about coming home. He'd planned to go to Australia for their honeymoon."

The family is expected to travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today when the soldier's body returns, according to Harris.

Harris said he was shocked by the news: "It was déjà vu all over again. I had just gone over to get grave markers. I had just counted them for the Persian Gulf and the War On Terrorism."

Harris said he was thinking, "I hope I don't have to order markers. We've been lucky so far." Then he received a call from a reporter about a casualty from Waynesboro.

His family and friends remember him as a great guy. The soldier was "full of life, fun to be around, easy going, and he loved his country," his brother, Tyler, said. "He liked playing sports, fishing, lifting weights and occasional drinking, the things that other young people typically do," said his dad. Tyler said he was a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tieman and his wife, Paulina, had just married in April. She's still in the Army, stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas.

He was planning to come home for a visit, his dad said. Tieman's assignment was his third for combat duty, according to his dad. He said that when he thinks about the sacrifices made by his son and other soldiers, he realizes it is their duty.

"My uncle was in World War II, the Korean War, and then Vietnam," he said. "Some of these guys are doing more tours of duty than my uncle."

Toby Ditch of Waynesboro said he was Tieman's best friend. "We met on the streets as kids," Ditch said. "We did all the things that kids do. We kept in touch." Ditch said Tieman was a "great individual, who was fun to be around." When he walked into a room, everyone knew it, he said. "We grew up together. I watched him grow up. He was a young punk boy and then he became a man in the service," Ditch said.

Tieman's dad said the last time he saw his son was in July. At the time, they met in Germany. They used to go fishing together each year.

Tieman’s father, Richard, says his son took pride in serving his country and followed in his footsteps as a soldier. Tieman had served two tours of duty in Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan. His family says he was two months away from completing a deployment that began in August.

Tieman’s family says he was married last month. He planned a large wedding for December when he and his wife, a soldier assigned to Fort Riley, Kan., were both in the states.

SSG Tieman is survived by his wife Paulina, his mom and dad Diane and Richard, and his brother Tyler.

Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman was killed in action on 5/18/10.


Matt said...

Tieman, You will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Untill we meet again and raise our glass on the other side. I'll never forget our time together in the 54th Engineers, Bamberg Germany. The time we spent working out in the "Outlaws" jail yard style gym in camp dogwood, Iraq 03. Save me a seat at the table brother.
Matthew N. Outten
USA, 1SG (ret.)

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace my friend. You will always be in my thoughts, you will never be forgotten.